Interested in knowing where your throttle is? Well, your engine does. And it needs to know precisely where it's positioned to help it achieve better performance. So how is it able to find out exactly where the throttle is? It relies on the use of a throttle position sensor. This device determines the exact position of your car's throttle and relays the information to the engine control unit or ECU in the form of sensor signals. These signals are increasing or decreasing voltages that are produced depending on how much power is required by the driver from the engine. What the driver needs is determined by how much pressure is applied to the gas pedal. Through this process, the ECU determines what needs to be done to achieve optimum engine performance while the vehicle is on the road. Since it does a lot for you and your vehicle, the throttle position sensor is made from premium materials to keep it from breaking down quickly. It's also designed to match the specifications of your vehicle so you won't have to waste time making unnecessary modifications to it. So if you want your car to achieve stellar performance, make sure it knows where its throttle is by installing a throttle position sensor. That way, its ECU will know what to do the moment you push the pedal to the metal.
Throttle Position Sensor Buyer's Guide
- A throttle position sensor is a primary component in electronic throttle control, which commonly appears on cars from the 1990s onward.
- Like any other sensor, the throttle position sensor relays the information it has collected to the electronic control module (ECM).
- The throttle position sensor works with the mass airflow sensor and gathers information from various factors such as your RPM and accelerator pedal inputs.
- It enables the computer to make adjustments on how much fuel it should release in relevance to the amount of air being fed to the engine.
- Things like poor fuel economy, problems in power delivery, slow acceleration, and even exhaust system issues are just a few of the problems you could face if you ignore a malfunctioning throttle sensor.
- You can deal with a bad throttle sensor in two ways:
- You can resort to the much cheaper option which is to clean both the throttle body and throttle position sensor.
- You can jump to replacing the throttle position sensor with a fresh replacement.
- OE throttle position sensors on
Important Facts You Need to Know About Throttle Position Sensor
Known as the vehicle's brain, the engine control unit (ECU) controls ignition timing, fuel delivery, transmission shifting, cruise control, engine torque reduction, and charging output of the alternator. However, the ECU wouldn't be as effective at all these tasks if the throttle position sensor is down. Positioned on the butterfly spindle,
The -INGs in Throttle Position Sensor Installation
What makes knowing the position of the throttle so important that it needs a sensor? This question usually pops up when you look at the small sensor attached to the throttle body. And with that statement, you have unconsciously doubted the function of one of the important parts in your car. The throttle position sensor determines the position of the throttle valve every time the engine operates. The signals given out by the sensor are high-frequency and can actually cause different - and sometimes dangerous - reactions from the other parts. Thus, proper installation of the sensor is vital for the survivability of your vehicle. To make sure that the sensor is properly installed, here are the basic -INGs to guide you:
Required skill level: Beginner
Required tools and materials:
- Socket set
- Screwdriver set
- Safety glasses (optional)
Accessing the old sensor
Open the hood of your vehicle. On most car models,
Helpful Tips in Purchasing a Throttle Position Sensor for your Vehicle
The throttle position sensor (TPS) monitors the position of the throttle valve to inform the ECM if the engine is in idle, part throttle, or wide-open throttle. Through the voltage signal sent by the TPS, the ECM will know if there's a need to adjust and correct the air and fuel ratio. Does your vehicle stall after startup or is rough when in idle? If yes, you'd better check your throttle position sensor right away. If after testing and troubleshooting you find out that the TPS is in need of replacement, don't think twice. Below are some tips to help you find the right TPS for your ride:
What type of TPS should you get?
Though throttle sensors come in many different types, automotive throttle position sensors are offered only in two types: switch and potentiometer. To avoid compatibility problems, find out first the type and specifications of your stock sensor and look for an exact replacement.
Switch. This type of TPS features a switch that stays on to provide a continuous supply of electricity when the throttle is used. If the throttle is off, the switch will also turn off to prevent electricity from flowing.
Potentiometer. When the ignition is on but the throttle is off, this type of sensor sends very low voltage to the engine computer. It just increases the voltage as the throttle increases; the voltage can get to a peak of 5 Volts when the throttle gets to its maximum.
What other factors should you consider?Before your purchase, know the resistance readings of your stock throttle position sensor's wires. You can get this information from your owner's manual.Make sure the components of your replacement sensor are carefully assembled so the voltage signals will be precisely sent for improved fuel consumption and maximum power output.Go for a throttle position sensor that's backed by a noteworthy manufacturer warranty. Most units sold these days come with 1-year or 12,000-mile warranty, so if you can find a product with longer coverage minus the hefty price, that's definitely a good buy.The cheapest throttle position sensor you can find isn't always the best buy. But it doesn't mean you go for the most expensive one. While it's true that when it comes to auto parts, you get what you pay for, there are manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers who offer their items at reasonable prices. Consider the product's features, construction, quality, product fit, and warranty to determine if the TPS you're eyeing is worth the price.
Throttle Position Sensor Replacement: Here's How
For a more efficient fuel delivery, vehicles are equipped with a throttle position sensor (TPS) that sends a variable voltage output to inform the on-board computer about the vehicle's throttle position. This variable potentiometer includes mechanical moving parts that are prone to wear and tear. A malfunctioning TPS causes a variety of symptoms such as inconsistent idling, sudden engine stalling, bucking and jerking, hesitation when the vehicle is accelerating, and unexpected surge in the vehicle's speed during highway driving.
While a voltmeter can be used to check its condition, the throttle position sensor can't be adjusted or fixed, so as soon as it gets damaged, you have no choice but to replace it.
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- Straight pin/T-pin/meter probe
- Replacement TPS
TPS Voltage Check
Step 1: Prop the hood open and locate the throttle position sensor near the throttle shaft or body. Disconnect the TPS harness.
Step 2: Manually open the throttle valve and test the resistance between terminal 1 and 2 in three different accelerator pedal positions.
Step 3: When the pedal is fully depressed, the voltmeter should read a resistance of around 10 ohms; when partially depressed, you should record 2-10 ohms, and 2 ohms when the pedal is completely released.
If you notice that the resistance is out of the specified range, it's time to have your throttle position sensor replaced.
Step 4: With a screwdriver, loosen and remove the mounting screws and take your faulty TPS off the throttle chamber.
Step 5: Install the o-ring that comes with your replacement TPS. Mount the replacement TPS onto the throttle body.
Step 6: Put the screws back into their respective locations and tighten them. Reconnect the electrical connector.
Step 7: Start the engine and check if the sensor's output voltage is within specified range. You can also road test your vehicle to see if the check engine light turns on again.