Hi Krammuel. Welcome to the forum. Have you been watching the news about Toyota's problems? Since cars were first invented, the gas pedal has been connected to the engine by a simple, reliable cable that weighs a few ounces. Since then we have added power locks, power windows, dome lights, electric head lights, electric windshield wipers, sliding side doors, rear lift gates that open with an electric solenoid, automatic transmissions, and gauges on the dash that tell us how the engine is operating. What every one of these items have in common is they were very reliable, easy to diagnose, inexpensive to repair, and any do-it-yourselfer could do the repairs. What do they have in common on today's cars? Every one of them is now controlled by one or more of up to 47 computers that are extremely unreliable, impossible to diagnose without costly specialized equipment, and very expensive to repair.
Your car no longer has that simple, reliable, common sense throttle cable. Instead, your gas pedal turns a sensor that sends a coded signal to a computer that interprets it, (hopefully correctly), and sends a voltage to a motor bolted to the throttle body on the engine. The motor opens the throttle valve to let more air in, and the computer turns the fuel injectors on for longer pulses to provide more fuel at the same time. A second throttle position sensor on the throttle body tells the computer if the throttle is at the position the computer expects it to be at. If it is not, or if any other potential problem is detected, the computer disables the system, hopefully to idle, not wide-open-throttle, and you sit on the side of the road.
If all that ridiculous, complicated nonsense doesn't work properly, the brake light switch provides the signal to activate the fail-sage backup system that shuts the system down. Lucky for you that backup system worked, ... This time. When it doesn't work, you make the news. Of course we all know throttle position sensors haven't caused any problems in years past, (lol), so now we use two of them.
I get a chill up my spine every time I think about this system and how many of them are on the road coming toward me. It is used by almost every manufacturer and is one of the biggest reasons mechanics and other people who are knowledgeable about cars don't own or drive them. What IS surprising is that only Toyota has been in the news. Audi and Volkswagen have similar problems but they don't have non-union manufacturing plants in the U.S. So our government has no interest in attacking them. Toyota isn't doing anything different from any other manufacturer and they don't deserve the treatment they are getting. Nevertheless, we predicted many years ago people were going to die due to these computerized throttle systems, and my current prediction is there will be other manufacturers with similar problems in the future.
Sorry to be so blunt, but the average consumer in the U.S. Has no idea how much technology is in their vehicle. They only know that every time there's a problem, it's going to cost a lot to have it repaired. To answer your question honestly and politely, yes, the brake light switch can cause the problem you described, and is probably the least expensive part involved in the system. Hooray for an honest dealership service department. This is not a common failure item, so as for the problem coming back, I would not be too concerned. I'd be more concerned about a sensor failure, but to give credit where it is due, there are millions of vehicles on the road with this system and the percentage of failures is very small. (Of course there was 0 percent failure with a simple cable).
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 AT 3:40 PM