Pontiac Vibe question

Ok so Toyota has a recallon some of their cars including the 2009 Matrix. I drive a 2009 Pontiac Vibe which is the same car.

I have not heard of Pontiac doing anything yet for this problem. In the event of my car accelerating out of my control before a fix is implemented I am thinking of the following options while using the break

A) I have the automatic where you can control the gears used. If I drop it to a lower gear I know the engine will rev higher but the engine should cause it to slow down does this car have a limiter so the engine doesn’t blow?

B) Putting the car into Neutral and pulling up the hand brake, or would that cause me to skid out of control?

It sounds like Vibes are being recalled (or at least will be):

And Consumer Reports says putting the car into neutral is the best idea:

Pulling the handbrake is probably a bad idea unless you’re about to slam into something.

GM has stopped selling the Vibe as part of the recall (apparently they still have some sitting around: http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/201001271337DOWJONESDJONLINE000595_FORTUNE5.htm) , and I would assume if your local GM dealer doesn’t know what to do that they could send you over the the Toyota dealer.

As for your contingency plan, just put it in neutral. There is no reason whatsoever to pull the handbrake-- your foot brake will continue to work just fine. The engine is limited, but this won’t stop the engine from over-revving if you put it in too-low of a gear (although I’m pretty sure the automatic won’t let you do this).

At any rate, put it in neutral, get it onto the shoulder and shut it off. The engine revving really high for only a few minutes won’t hurt anything in the greater scheme of things.

Bah, beaten to it!

Due NOT slam the hand brake so it locks the tires as you may get differential braking. I did this once and the car started sliding because one wheel locked. If you use the brake then keep your finger on the button so you can release pressure.

All you really need to be aware of is how to shut your engine off. If it uses a key then turn the key until the engine dies. If it is a button that starts the car then look up the instructions. Toyotas require you hold the button for 3 seconds. Be careful of this as it is possible for unspent fuel to cycle into the exhaust. It shouldn’t happen with a fuel injected car but better safe than sorry. If there is fuel in the exhaust and you start the car then you risk damaging the catalytic converter or the muffler. Let the car sit for a bit before restarting.

If you do this, you can lose steering (depending on the car and if you take the key out). I think getting the car out of gear is a much better option.

Didn’t any of you people take Driver’s Ed? (GreasyJack excepted.)

If your accelerator gets stuck, the classic solution is to put the car in neutral but leave it on until you can get to the side of the road. Your brakes and steering will continue to work normally as long as the car is on. If you turn off the ignition, you can lose power steering and power brakes; basic braking and steering still work, but it’ll take a lot more effort and your reactions will be all wrong. Not the ideal situation when you’re hurtling down the highway at 90 miles an hour.

Your gearshift is configured to allow you to shift into Neutral safely – you can move from Drive to Neutral without pushing the button on the shifter, but it won’t let you move too far and put it in Reverse so long as the button isn’t depressed. (If your shifter is on the column, push it towards the dash when shifting to N; it will only go into R if you pull it towards you.)

Once you’re over to the side, turn off the ignition while still in neutral, and then put on the parking brake. (You should also be able to shift into Park once it’s off, but obviously you mustn’t try this while the engine is still on and revving, as it passes through Reverse on the way.)

The handbrake is almost always a terrible idea when the car is in motion. It’s not only unpredictable, as Magiver notes, but even if it works as expected, it stops your front wheels while the engine continues to drive your real wheels, leading to spin-outs. The handbrake is used to stop the car if the pedal brakes fail, but that’s not the problem you’d be facing.


You have that precisely backwards (the handbrake will stop one’s back wheels while the engine drives your front wheels), but that doesn’t affect the advice not to use a handbrake in this situation.

Car and Driver magazine tested Camrys. Accelerator flat to the floor and they were able to stop the car from any speed up to 100mph by simply applying the brakes. The stopping distances were not much greater than standard (without the gas pedal pinned to the floor). From 100 mph the car only slowed to 10mph before the brakes overheated (turn off car a 10mph). So even worst case would be a slow speed fender bender. My guess; the Vibe would behave in a similar fashion.

If your throttle is jammed open, your vacuum system may only have enough vacuum for the brakes to operate once before you lose vacuum assist. After that, your brakes will be much harder to operate.

They’re still going to work much better than your parking brake.