Throttle Cable Buyer's Guide
- A throttle cable is a braided metal cable that functions as a mechanical link between your vehicle’s gas pedal and the engine throttle plate.
- Repeated use and friction may cause your throttle cable to break or snap. Symptoms of a faulty throttle cable include cruise control issues, delayed engine response, and visible damage on the cable’s outer covering. Once you notice any of these symptoms, have your cable replaced right away.
- When buying a throttle cable, it is important to consider compatibility and durability. You must also ensure that you’re getting what you paid for in terms of quality.
- A throttle cable replacement usually costs around $50 to $100.
- To ensure that you’re getting the right fit, enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model in our built-in search function.
If you’re starting to experience cruise control issues while driving, a damaged throttle cable may be to blame. Not being able to efficiently control your car’s speed is a safety risk for you and your passengers as well. Once one of your throttle components gets faulty, it is best to replace it right away to avoid accidents on the road.
If you’re looking for a throttle cable replacement, you’re reading the right article. In this article, we will discuss this essential part and how to know if it needs to be replaced.
What is a throttle cable?
In an internal combustion engine, the throttle refers to the vehicle’s means of controlling engine power by regulating the amount of air and fuel that reaches the engine. What is a throttle cable then?
A throttle cable, sometimes called accelerator cable, is a braided metal cable that functions as a mechanical link between your vehicle’s gas pedal and the engine throttle plate.
When the driver steps on the gas pedal, it will pull the cable until it opens the throttle body, which is a tube containing a pivoting valve that controls the flow of air entering your vehicle’s engine. Once the driver releases the pedal, it will choke off the flow of air into your engine. This process of air and fuel regulation is what controls the speed of your vehicle.
If you own a new car model, your vehicle may not need this cable especially if it is equipped with drive-by-wire electronic throttle control. However, most older models still make use of a physical accelerator cable to move the throttle body.
What causes a throttle cable to fail?
Just like any other engine cable, repeated use and friction may cause your throttle cable to break or snap. Once this happens, your car may stop running completely. To keep this from happening, it is important to watch for signs that indicate your throttle cable is starting to fail.
Symptoms of a Faulty Throttle Cable
Since your vehicle’s throttle cable is an integral part of your engine’s throttle system, it will usually give out obvious signs when it starts to fail. Here are some of the common symptoms of a faulty throttle cable:
Cruise control issues
As mentioned, the most obvious sign that there is something wrong with your throttle cable or any throttle component is difficulty controlling your vehicle speed. You may notice jerking or binding when activating your vehicle’s cruise control. If there are any changes in tension when pressing your gas pedal, have your vehicle checked by a mechanic right away.
Delayed Engine Response Time
Normally, applying gentle pressure on the gas pedal would cause your engine to accelerate. If you find that you need to press the pedal harder than usual to accelerate, have your throttle components checked right away. If it isn’t your throttle cable that is faulty, chances are something is wrong with the throttle body or other components in your engine.
Visible Damage on the Cable Covering
Aside from watching for drivability symptoms, you may also conduct a physical inspection of your throttle cable. If you’re not well-versed with auto repair, you may ask a mechanic to do the inspection for you. Most throttle cables are covered with an outer rubber material. Although this material is durable, constant friction may damage it in the long run.
Once you notice any cable damage, it is best to have it replaced right away. A worn cable may snap or break anytime.
What to Consider When Looking for Throttle Cables
Here are things you should consider when looking for a throttle cable replacement:
There are a lot of aftermarket brands that produce OE-grade throttle cable replacements. Before deciding which throttle cable to buy, make sure that it is compatible with your vehicle’s year, make, and model. Check the product specifications first before deciding on anything.
Aside from compatibility, durability is also an important factor when choosing any car part replacement. To ensure that you’re getting a high-quality throttle cable replacement, shop from legitimate sources like CarParts.com.
Value For Money
A high-quality throttle cable replacement doesn’t necessarily need to be priced high. There are a lot of durable throttle cable replacements that are sold at reasonable prices, so you don’t have to worry about finding one for your vehicle.
How much does a throttle cable replacement cost?
A throttle cable replacement usually costs around $50 to $100. It is usually sold individually but some are sold as part of a kit. Again, remember to check for compatibility before buying a throttle cable replacement.
Finding the right fit
To ensure that you’re getting the right fit, enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model in our built-in search function. Browse through our wide variety of throttle cable replacements and choose the one that is most compatible with your vehicle. You may also filter your search according to the brand and price range you prefer.
There are many self-help videos online on throttle cable adjustment and replacement. However, if you’re not well-versed with auto repair, it is best to leave the job to a professional.
Five Important Tips to Note when Buying a Throttle Cable
The throttle cable regulates the amount of air entering the engine. Through this cable, air and fuel are combined to ensure maximum engine efficiency. The throttle body can be damaged due to low-quality fuel, old vehicle age, and poor maintenance. If the "check engine" light has been bothering you or you've been experiencing difficulty in starting your car, then it is your throttle cable that needs rescuing. Buying a replacement kit for your worn-out cable may be the best option to restore your engine's proper function.
Five points to remember:
To help you shop for the right cable for your car, here are some tips when in the market for throttle cables:
- Universal fit. No need to look for a throttle cable that's specific to your car since all throttle cables can fit in any car. It is typically 36 inches long, and it can be cut depending on your needed length. It should be mounted in the carburetor's throttle linkage with no hassle.
- Quality material. You can choose from either stainless steel aircraft cable or galvanized steel core cable. If you are on a budget, you may opt to choose the galvanized steel since it is also corrosion resistant but cheaper than the other type. But if you are looking for a high-quality cable, we suggest that you go for the more durable stainless steel.
- Firm structure. A good throttle cable should have a protective housing or jacket made from polyethylene for corrosion, water resistance, and durability. The core should have a coiled shell made from braided stainless steel. A polymer liner ensures smooth movement, while the lubricant grease will make it still work even during cold weather and with higher water resistance.
- End fittings. Aside from the tough armor-wrapped core, check the cable ends. It should be made from aluminum to ensure strong connection to the throttle linkages. An end cap with rubber gasket seals the cable. This is important to give a smooth, no-bind cable operation for higher efficiency and a stronger link.
- Complete OE replacement kit. First things first: check the contents of the kit. A complete kit includes the following: cable, housing, adapters, washers, clevis, stud, hex key, cotter pin, throttle return spring, and mounting bracket. An instruction manual should also be provided to help you during installation.
Buying a throttle cable may be as easy as buying a regular car cable. But because it performs a vital role in controlling the airflow in your engine system, choosing a high-quality cable should be greatly considered. Check if your new throttle cable passed the QS9000, ISO14000, and TS16949 standards to ensure nothing but high quality and excellent performance.
How to Replace a Faulty Throttle Cable-A Beginner's Guide
Though it is made up of braided steel, the throttle cable in your vehicle can wear out often. It can become loose due to excessive use, or worse, it can get ripped, causing your throttle to be totally dysfunctional. Once you experience acceleration problems or no acceleration at all, have your throttle cable checked; if you find out that it is frayed or ripped, replace it as soon as possible.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Flathead screwdriver
- 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set
- 1/4-inch ratchet and socket set
Step 1: Open the hood and locate the throttle body.
Step 2: Disengage the throttle cable from the throttle body. In most cases, the cable is secured by a clip that can be loosened and removed using a flathead screwdriver. If it's a mount that holds it in place, then you'll need to use a socket to release the cable.
Step 3: Get rid of tension on the cable by moving the throttle valve arm forward.
Step 4: Locate the bracket that secures the cable to the intake manifold. Push the tabs in and the cable will easily come out.
Step 5: Remove the rubber grommet that locks the throttle cable in its place at the firewall. If it is secured by retaining clips, slide a flathead screwdriver underneath and pry them off.
Step 6: Disengage the cable from the accelerator pedal. Most of the time, there's a slotted hole on the pedal where you can just lift the cable from. In some vehicles, it is secured by a bracket, which you'll need to unbolt.
Step 7: Take the cable out of the vehicle from the engine bay. Install the new one in place by reversing the order of removal.
Removing a ripped throttle cable and installing a new one is easier than you may think. Make sure you'll use a high-quality unit in place of your stock to avoid untimely replacement and more serious vehicle problems.