6 Symptoms of a Bad Throttle Position Sensor and Repair Tips


Throttle position sensor symptoms

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.

  1. Jerks

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


1 comment

  1. Janineannbartholomew7 14 February, 2019 at 13:33 Reply

    The 1985 dodge lancer shows me tps code on . The positive battery cable was found to be loose after me repeatedly starting the car and running finding idle to be dropping/surging over and over. Did power surge through the starter neg battery cable and cause damage? It is a newish tps, now fried? Also charging gauge on dash is pointing down like that also is kaput. Just got done swapping steering column ignition switch old one had fried sumptoms. I’m assuming the crummy idle was the ecu/map compensating for the tps defect. What else can happen? I’m getting afraid the boyfriend or his brother are doing this because low and behold ive found the battery cable loose over and over. After struggling with installing new starters and tightening the the battery cable again and again. They do want me to stay in their farm to gaurd the equipment and vehicles since they are not on the premises. They have much mechanic abilities themselves. I may have to give my car and escape out of here without it. But the car is new engine etc. Sentimental to me. It is cold winter here for working on it ,but i don’t think much about that. Does surge wreck this efi electricals? Am I on track with this. Will buying another tps solve it and drive quickly away?

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