A bad throttle position sensor is the last thing that you will ever wish to have on your ride. The purpose of a throttle position sensor is to keep your car working by controlling the throttle. With the passage of time, the sensor loses its efficiency and thus has to be replaced. The important question is how to identify the throttle position sensor symptoms so that you end up replacing the right sensor?
Honestly speaking, it is not easy to detect throttle position sensor issues. However, there are specific throttle position sensor symptoms that will ensure you find the culprit.
What does throttle position sensor do?
The primary purpose a throttle position sensor (TPS) is to give information to the car’s computer about the throttle. It senses the air, heat, and light, and sends the information to the ECM which adjusts the throttle and fuel supply accordingly. A faulty throttle position sensor sends incorrect information to the ECM resulting in various issues in the engine, its performance, and fuel economy.
Bad throttle position sensor symptoms
Following is the list of the common symptoms of a faulty TPS. In most of the cases, all of these symptoms will show together making it easier to detect the faulty component.
Jerking of the vehicle is the most common symptom of a bad TPS. These jerks can be experienced while accelerating or at high or low speeds. These are random jerks that will disappear at times. The ECM doesn’t get correct information from the TPS as to how much to throttle the car.
- Idle surging
Idle surging can be caused due to other issues in the car but if it happens in conjunction with other throttle position sensor symptoms, the culprit is TPS. At idle, the ECM will not get the correct information and the throttle will variate randomly causing idle surging.
- Check engine
The check engine light will randomly turn on and off even if the car is running smoothly without any jerks and stalling. This is the first ever symptom of a bad TPS.
- Stalling of the engine
The engine can stall for no reason. This happens when the TPS gives incorrect information to the ECM. The engine can stall at high speed, at low speed, or even at idle.
- Acceleration issue
A faulty throttle position sensor will not let your car accelerate normally. Though this doesn’t happen all the times. Hesitation in acceleration, acceleration surge at both high and low speeds, delay in acceleration, etc.
- Issues in switching gears
The issues with acceleration lead to gear transmission problems as the ECM doesn’t get the correct information about the acceleration.
Read also: How to Diagnose Wheel Bearing Noise in Car
What to do?
As soon as you see a mix of these throttle position sensor symptoms, you should test the TPS and if it is not functioning properly, it has to be replaced. Unfortunately, TPS cannot be repaired as it is a tiny sensor but the good news is that a new TPS is not very expensive so it won’t hurt your pocket.