Last Monday morning, Toyota officials declared publicly that they had the fix for the worst safety recall in the company's history.
By Wednesday afternoon, some vehicle owners already were receiving repairs and being sent on their way.
Over the coming month, 2.3 million worried Toyota owners will squeeze through the funnel of 1,235 dealership service departments.
"Every person will receive a formal letter. We will stagger the mailing to be able to control the throughput," said Bob Carter, Toyota Division vice president. "How many consumers will show up at our dealerships before we get the formal notification to them? That's something we're still trying to quantify."
At Group 1 Automotive Inc., one of the nation's largest owners of Toyota dealerships, general managers were told to begin fixing vehicles without official factory notification. Group 1's biggest Toyota dealership, Sterling McCall Toyota in Houston, began repairing cars immediately after receiving its first shipment of parts.
The repair consists primarily of a postage-stamp-size piece of reinforcement metal that a service technician inserts into the accelerator pedal module to prevent incorrect sensor pressure that could cause unintended acceleration. Toyota says the procedure takes about 30 minutes.