If you have been experiencing acceleration problems, you may have to replace throttle position sensor immediately. But what are these sensors used for?
Let’s fill our grey matter with some useful yet interesting information about throttle position sensors.
How a throttle position sensor works?
The modern fuel injected engines of our cars use Throttle position sensors. It is usually found in butterfly spindle attached to the body of the engine.
If you have been experiencing acceleration issues, then you may need to replace the faulty throttle position sensor. It works as an interface that sends the engine’s readings to system computer i.e. ECU. The sensor works around certain conditions and when these conditions are met or not met, the sensor sends the corresponding signals to the engine control unit. In other words sensor circuit will fluctuate so rapidly that scanner won’t be able to display the readings in some cases.
There are two popular types of throttle position sensors- potentiometer and switch type.
The sensor is said to be on when there is electrical input in the system and is off when electric input is hindered somehow. The switch sensor even with the switch off continues to send inputs to vehicle’s ECU so that the drivers will still get smooth throttle response while driving.
Potentiometer sensors work by gradually increasing the power supply to the computer and sending constant signals to it. Potentiometer might be difficult to repair because it is pre programmed and will require quite technical tools to re program them.
Now that you know enough about throttle position sensor, check out the symptoms of malfunctioning throttle position sensors!
Delayed or no acceleration
Is your car not accelerating like before? It may accelerate smoothly but lacks power! If you notice a delay between the time you press on the gas pedal and the time the vehicle actually accelerates then you might have to get your throttle position sensor examined by a good professional.
Bucking and jerking are also bad signs of throttle position sensor problems. Without proper input from the throttle position sensor, the computer is unable to guide the engine to work at optimum levels resulting in abrupt jerks. Stop driving in such situation and take your car to your mechanic the moment you notice such signal.
Experiencing random stalling when your car is in idle or being driven without any warning? Throttle position sensor’s malfunctioning may be one of the potential reasons that is triggering this problem.
The stalling issue is also related to some other potential engine problems as well but if it occurs in combination with any other of the symptoms or if it turns into regular development, then the throttle position sensor on your car will need to be looked at.
If you experience any sudden changes in speed with driving on a constantly pressed gas pedal, it is a clear sign that the throttle position sensor of your car is malfunctioning.
If you notice it particularly while driving on a highway, waste no time in taking your car to a mechanic. It is definitely not safe to drive with such an unsafe situation so take your car to a professional immediately.
Illuminating check engine light
Check engine light may come on if you have any issue with your car’s throttle position sensor. To some drivers, an illuminated check engine light is a dreadful thing since it can imply many complicated and serious problems. There are various potential car issues that are triggered with check engine light.
Again find a good technician who can decode what exactly this dash light is trying to tell you so that you can make appropriate repairs on time.
However it may direct to a problem as small as a bad throttle position sensor. While a malfunctioning sensor does not necessarily mean your car will explode or catch a fire while driving, it is still a threat if you keep on driving.
Usually the DTC code for throttle position sensor is: P0120. You may try to look into the cause of the light yourself, but it is always recommended to take it to a mechanic straight away so that the problem can be verified.
Problem switching gears
If a throttle position sensor isn’t properly reporting the accelerator position, then there can be issues switching gears as you speed up or slow down. It is a clear indicator that you need to repair your throttle position sensor.
Problem with only switching gears could mean that there is a fault in the transmission of the vehicle, but if you have already noticed the problem with acceleration, they you can be pretty confident that the throttle position sensor on your car is being malfunctioning.
There is another similar issue that can emerge if TPS starts malfunctioning. Car will accelerate but won’t exceed a relatively low speed or shift up. This is another failure mode of the TPS, which indicates that it is falsely limiting the power being requested with your accelerator pedal foot.
You may find that your car will accelerate, but not beyond a speed of 20-40 mph. So you will experience loss of power behaviour which is not to be ignored.
Replacing throttle position sensor
After noticing the above mentioned problems, check out how to replace throttle position sensor!
The very first step is to locate the sensor. The throttle position sensor is mounted to the throttle body on top of the engine.
Disconnect the negative battery cable and set it aside. Remove the electrical connector by pushing down on the tab and sliding it off.
Remove the sensors mounting screws and also the sensor from the engine.
For installing new sensor, mount the new sensor in place. Install the sensor mounting screws by hand one at a time. Tighten them. Reinstall the connector the same way you removed it.
Reconnect the negative terminal to the battery. Now adjust the throttle position sensors as needed. With the engine running, loosen the sensor screws. Rotate the sensors until the desired reading is achieved.
But if this seems something out of your league, then leave this job to a professional.
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