Nobody likes admitting to themselves that their car’s needing some rest bite in a garage. However, just like when a person become ill through no fault of their own, we need to dig deep and pay the price required. Otherwise, if you put the problem to the back of your mind, the cost could become even greater.
Thankfully, one positive of specifically your Throttle Position Sensor being compromised is that it’s more than easy to identify the signs. Within this small but informative guide, we guide you through the employment of the Throttle Position Sensor in our vehicles, then encourage our reader to ask themselves four pertinent questions to determine if it is indeed their Throttle Position Sensor causing problems.
So, What Exactly is a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)?
A Throttle Position Sensor – otherwise known as the butterfly valve – can be found between the intake manifold and the air filter and links the throttle plate to the throttle body. It creates power by sending out signals to the Power Control Module (PCM), which subsequently rotates at the same time that the gas pedal is pushed down to facilitate air flow into the engine’s internal combustion chamber. Simultaneously, a dosage of fuel will be instilled into the system, thereby creating the climate sufficient for combustion to occur.
If you’re Throttle Position Sensor is failing, your engine control will be unaware of angle and positioning of the throttle and so, won’t be able to guess the amount of air required to drive into the engine. Think of it like if your sight was temporarily taken away for a moment – you couldn’t see and would have to simply guess where to put your feet next – being unaware of the environment around you. Likewise, just like the analogy of the temporarily blind man, your car’s gas guessing game will place you in danger to the point where you’re jeopardizing your own safety as well as those around you.
- Has your car lost its former ‘oomph’?
Has your car’s throttle seemed a little depleted as of late? Try to remember back to the glory days when your car was able to rev like crazy. If its acceleration power has drastically diminished since then, this could be more than just ‘old age’.
- Does your vehicle randomly accelerate without your foot being on the gas pedal?
This sensor-failure problem is arguably even worse than the former admonition. If you’re car often has a mind of its own and accelerates haphazardly without your foot even being near the gas pedal, it’s time to stop ignoring the warning signs and get your ride to a mechanic, pronto. This perilous situation is due to the Throttle Position Sensor’s closing up and, due to the driver pressing down hard on the throttle, the sensor ‘pop’s open – thus causing the car to sporadically speed up.
If you’re still in denial, imagine slowing your car down before a junction to have it take on a mind of its own and crash into the back of another. Not only will you be paying for a brand-new Throttle Position Sensor, you’ll be raking out cash to repair the other vehicle.
- Are you stalling more often than your used to?
You’re stalling a lot more than you’d like to be – whether you’re slowing down, cruising, or speeding up – and have a slight suspicion that it’s not your driving style that’s responsible. This slapdash stalling is most likely being caused by the bad input generated by the Throttle Position Sensor.
- Is your Check Engine warning light illuminated?
Finally, just to be sure that it’s your Throttle Position Sensor that’s acting up, simply check your dashboard to see if the Check Engine warning light is on. It’s hard to ignore the need to service your vehicle when the problem is literally staring you right in the face.
What Should I do Next?
Thankfully, replacing a faulty Throttle Position Sensor won’t break the bank. The average replacement price starting from $110 to $200, the butterfly valve can cost you under $100 if you’re a confident DIYer. After these essential repairs, you’ll be back driving like a pro in no time.