Throttle Position Sensor Symptoms 2024

The throttle position sensor ensures that a vehicle’s engine receives the right proportion of air and fuel for maximum performance. The throttle position sensor is located on the butterfly valve and is an integral part of the vehicle’s fuel management structure.

No doubt, it is important to know the throttle position sensor symptoms in 2024.

The vehicle engine requires a precise amount and ratio of rich air and fuel mixture as input for optimal combustion to take place inside the internal combustion chamber.

This is because of wrong proportion mixture, causes problems for the engine. This problem could leave the motorist stranded in the middle of the road.

The throttle position sensor helps stabilize the vehicle. This puts a lot of tension on the motor stand and transmission stand.

If the throttle position sensor and other related sensors work well, the vehicle will maintain optimal fuel economy and smooth handling.

Throttle Position Sensor

The throttle position sensor (TPS) has the sole responsibility of receiving and sending signals to the vehicle’s computer (ECU).

The TPS also tells the computer the appropriate amount of air-fuel mixture needed to perform at a certain pace depending on how often the car owner steps on the pedal.

Types of the Throttle Position Sensor

Throttle position sensors are classified into the sliding resistance position sensor, idle switching position sensor, and sliding resistance integration position sensor.

However, the modern throttle position sensor uses the new intelligent electronic throttle shaft door control systems, which are double slide resistance sensors and linear double Hall sensors.

Modern engine’s electrical control system uses the throttle position sensor with Hall components sensor and double slide resistance sensor.

Vehicles like Toyota Camry, Corolla, and so on use Hall sensors while vehicles like Nissan Scorpio, use double slide resistance sensors.

throttle position sensor symptoms

How the Throttle Position Sensor Works

The throttle position sensor, also known as a throttle opening sensor, detects if the engine is in an idle condition or a working condition.

It is a variable resistor with several mounted switches on the acceleration pedal. There are two contacts, fully open and idle contacts.

If the throttle is in an idle position, the idle contact is fully closed. The idle operating condition signals output to the computer.

When it is in other locations, the idle contact is fully opened. The output is proportional to the voltage signal of the various corners of the throttle.

According to the signal, the voltage value responds to the load of the engine.

The difference in the change in the increase of the signal voltage in a certain period is an acceleration operating condition or deceleration.

The vehicle’s computer corrects the amount of fuel according to this operating information.

Throttle Position Sensor Signs

With numerous important functions of the throttle position sensor, it is essential to know the common symptoms that point out whether the TPS is bad or in good health.

The following gives a picture of the symptoms of a faulty throttle position sensor.

Slow acceleration rate

Faulty TPS can cause the vehicle to accelerate at a slow rate even when pushing the accelerator pedal hard.

The vehicle control module usually gets a false reading and thus can’t deliver the right proportion of air and fuel needed for a smooth movement of the vehicle.

The vehicle cannot accelerate properly if there is a poor supply of air and fuel.

Jerking drive

Bad throttle position sensor symptoms can cause a jerking drive. While driving, the vehicle user notices the automobile stuttering or jerking.

The ECU receives false data from a bad throttle position sensor.

This makes the engine control unit have little or no idea how far the throttle valve should be opened this in turn, triggers the vehicle to jerk when driving.

Idle surging

When the vehicle is in a steady position with the engine on, a bad throttle position sensor causes the engine to fluctuate. This is primarily because of an irregular air-fuel mixture.

The engines tend to go off on their own, requiring depressing the accelerator pedal at irregular intervals.

Check engine light

The check engine light can be triggered if a sensor is not functional in the vehicle. A faulty throttle position sensor must be one of such sensors.

A motorist must pay proper attention to the cause of the check engine light as neglect may cause bigger damage to the vehicle’s engine.

Problem with automatic transmissions

A faulty throttle position sensor causes problems with the automatic transmission.

This is because the TPS sends a false reading to the automatic transmission control unit. This makes the motorist experience some difficulties while driving an automatic transmission vehicle.

Sudden surge while driving at a high speed

A sudden surge while driving at high speed refers to an unintentional acceleration of the vehicle.

Here the motors may be at a close range with another vehicle, this impromptu causes the vehicle to abruptly increase in speed and may result in a collision with other road users or may run out of the road entirely.

Worse fuel economy

It is not strange to note that the fuel economy will be deeply affected by a bad throttle position sensor.

This is because of the irregularities in the way the fuel and air mixture is supplied to the internal combustion chamber of the engine.

The vehicle consumes more fuel if the TPS is faulty.

Loss of engine power

Another issue with throttle position sensor symptoms is a loss of engine power.

This is because if the throttle position sensor fails, modern vehicles go into safe mode, limiting heavy acceleration and speed this in turn results in loss of engine power.


Can you drive with a bad throttle position sensor?

It is very possible to drive a vehicle with a dire throttle position sensor although, a bad throttle position sensor can cause an inability to shift up gears, rough idle, and lack of engine power when accelerating, especially when climbing hills.

Driving with these symptoms puts the motorist and other road users in danger.

How long does the throttle position sensor last?

The batteries in the TPS sensors are made to last for at least 5 years. These batteries are built into the sensor so they cannot be replaced like ordinary finger batteries.

It is recommended by car manufacturers to replace throttle position sensors every 5 years to enjoy safe and hassle-free driving.

Cost of replacing the throttle position sensor?

The average price for replacing the throttle position sensor ranges from 80 dollars to 300 dollars. The parts cost between 98 dollars and 133 dollars while the labor will cost between 61 dollars and 78 dollars. This is dependent on vehicle type, the cost of labor could get more expensive.

Sometimes, the throttle is not directly accessible thus, requires lots of disassembling before getting to it.

How do you reset the throttle position sensor?

Release the accelerator completely, turn on the ignition and wait for 2 seconds. Turn off the ignition and wait for 10 seconds. Turn on the ignition and wait for 2 seconds again, turn off the ignition and wait for 10 seconds again.

The easiest way to reset the TPS is to unhook the negative cable from the battery terminal for about five minutes or remove the fuse for the engine control module.

Where can you find the throttle position sensor?

Throttle position sensors can be found almost anywhere, especially in automotive supply or repair stores. The auto shop can also purchase it from a third party. They can also be found in the automotive section of any supermarket.

It can also be bought online and delivered right to your doorstep.

Final Words

A good motorist pays adequate attention to his vehicle. One of the most dangerous aspects of throttle position symptoms is the sudden surge while driving at a high speed mostly on a highway.

Driving a vehicle without knowing the throttle position sensor symptoms 2024 puts the motorist and other road users at risk.

This is reported to have caused a good number of road accidents on the highway.

To prevent this, car owners must observe the vehicle and report any observed throttle position signs like check engine light, and poor acceleration to mention but a few, to the automobile repair shop.

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