Top 5 Symptoms of Bad Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
If your vehicle’s throttle position sensor (TPS) is bad, it could cause various problems like poor fuel economy and the car shaking violently.
A malfunction could also send the wrong data to your car’s computer, affecting its performance.
Let’s discuss the 5 different symptoms of bad throttle position sensor (TPS).
Table of Contents
- What Is a Throttle Position Sensor, and What Does It Do?
- Symptoms of Bad Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
- 1. Engine Won’t Idle Smoothly, Idles Slowly, or Stalls
- 2. When the Car Accelerates but It Incapable of Exceeding a Relatively Low Speed or Shift Up
- 3. The Car Won’t Accelerate, Lacks Power When Accelerating, or Accelerates Itself
- 4. When the Check Engine Light Comes On, Accompanied by Any of the Above Behaviors
- 5. Excess Fuel Consumption
- Repairing, Reprograming, or Replacing Your Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
- Throttle Position Sensor Replacement Cost
- How to Replace Your Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Throttle Position Sensor, and What Does It Do?
The throttle position sensor is important to your vehicle’s fuel management system.
It monitors the amount of air and fuel that is delivered to the engine. It then passes the most direct signal to the injection system to determine the power needed by the engine.
The signal from the throttle position sensor is continuously analyzed and incorporated with other data such as air temperature, engine RPM, and air mass flow.
This allows the fuel management system to determine the fuel the engine needs at any given time.
Your vehicle’s performance depends on the functioning of the various sensors like the throttle position sensor.
If they work properly, your car will cruise smoothly and efficiently while staying at the ideal fuel level.
Symptoms of Bad Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
Even if the defective sensor only partially causes the issue, you need to replace it immediately.
This process can involve clearing the various fault codes and software reprogramming the module to match the other engine management software.
You should contact a professional mechanic to diagnose and replace the defective part.
Symptoms of a faulty throttle position sensor (TPS) include the following:
1. Engine Won’t Idle Smoothly, Idles Slowly, or Stalls
If you notice that your vehicle is stalling, experiencing engine misfires, or rough idling when it is stopped, it could be a warning sign that your vehicle has a failing throttle position sensor.
If the idle appears off, this could mean that the computer is not able to determine the full shut-off throttle. The bad input from the throttle position sensor could also cause the engine to stall.
If the throttle position sensor (TPS) is faulty, it can make the engine stall at idle. A bad TPS is capable of causing the engine to run rough, misfire, and idle erratically.
This also causes the check engine light to come on. To test the throttle position sensor, you must do so with a multimeter. If it is bad, it should be replaced.
2. When the Car Accelerates but It Incapable of Exceeding a Relatively Low Speed or Shift Up
The failure of the throttle position sensor could also cause this issue. It could be that it is limiting the power the vehicle can use.
When you notice that your vehicle accelerates but doesn’t go beyond a certain speed, this might be a symptom of a bad TPS sensor.
3. The Car Won’t Accelerate, Lacks Power When Accelerating, or Accelerates Itself
If the vehicle accelerates but doesn’t go beyond a certain speed, this could be a symptom of a bad TPS sensor.
Another issue that the faulty TPS sensor could cause is when the car suddenly speeds up even if you haven’t pressed the accelerator.
The computer might not be able to direct the engine to work properly if the driver presses the accelerator or the butterfly valve is not working properly.
This could cause the vehicle to accelerate uncontrollably. The butterfly valve may have accidentally opened while the driver presses the accelerator, which could result in an unintended burst of speed.
4. When the Check Engine Light Comes On, Accompanied by Any of the Above Behaviors
The check engine light often comes on if you have issues with your vehicle’s TPS sensor. However, this isn’t always the case.
Before you start the process of diagnosing the issue, it’s important that you first check the vehicle’s trouble codes. The functions of the throttle position sensor is very important to the efficiency and power of your vehicle.
If the sensor is defective, it could have serious safety implications. Having it checked out immediately by a mechanic is also important to ensure the vehicle is safe.
5. Excess Fuel Consumption
The inaccurate readings from the throttle position sensor can lead to the over-consumption of fuel in the combustion chamber. This could cause the vehicle to have poor fuel economy.
Other sensors depend on the accuracy of the readings from the throttle position sensor.
If the readings from the sensor are not accurate, the vehicle may have a higher fuel consumption.
Repairing, Reprograming, or Replacing Your Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
After you have identified the symptoms, you must find a solution.
A common way to prevent further issues is to replace the entire sensor.
Sometimes, a reset or reprogramming the throttle position sensor can help solve the issue.
To do this, you must first unhook the negative cable from the battery and remove the fuse for the engine control module.
However, it’s important to note that this procedure can be dangerous if you’re not comfortable using electricity.
Resetting the sensor may be all that’s needed to fix the issue. In addition, sometimes, code errors can cause issues.
If you’re unsure about doing this, hire a professional to reprogram the sensor. A mechanic can perform this process. If the issue is related to the sensor itself, it could be caused by either loose or faulty wiring.
Like other electrical components, the connection points and wiring of the throttle position sensor are susceptible to corrosion.
After you have identified the issue, it’s important that you thoroughly inspect the connection points and wiring of the device.
Sometimes, the sensor is irreparably damaged. To restore its functionality, the device needs to be replaced.
It can be hard to identify the cause of engine problems if your vehicle has issues.
Various components work together to provide the vehicle with the necessary smooth acceleration.
Before you start the process of replacing the throttle position sensor, it’s important that you first identify the cause of the issue. This can be done by reviewing the symptoms of the issue.
Throttle Position Sensor Replacement Cost
You must have a mechanic perform a diagnostic check on your vehicle to resolve this issue.
If it’s revealed that the sensor is defective, then you need to replace it immediately. The average cost of a new throttle position sensor is around $200. The parts cost is also much cheaper.
Aside from the cost of the new sensor, you’ll also have to consider the additional fees and taxes involved in the process.
In all, it’s important to avoid spending over $250, it’s still possible to get a lower rate by shopping around for a mechanic.
Although it’s not a motor swap, replacing the throttle position sensor can still be challenging.
The job can be expensive depending on the make and model of your vehicle. If it’s in an accessible area, you can probably get by with a relatively low-cost repair.
Some cars can get complicated since the throttle can’t be accessed easily. The process can involve taking out the air filter box and intake manifold.
The price for replacing the sensor can easily double, reaching over $1,000.00 for just one.
How to Replace Your Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
Follow these steps to replace the sensor. First, locate it. It should be mounted to the top portion of the throttle body.
Before removing the sensor, make sure that you have the negative battery cable disconnected.
Doing so will prevent you from accidentally causing an error code on the engine control module. The electrical connectors for the throttle position sensor should be easily accessible.
After you have removed the electrical connectors, look for the mounting screws on the sensor.
To ensure that you’re getting the right replacement, read the owner’s manual to compare the current sensor with the one you’re planning on buying.
The screws will be used to install the sensor. After that, connect the sensor to your vehicle’s electrical system using an electrical connector.
Make sure you can push the sensor together and hear a distinct click.
Check your work by connecting your battery to the car’s electrical system. After that, start the vehicle and test its acceleration and idle.
Depending on the model and the type of sensor that you have installed, you might have to manually adjust the amount of fuel and air your car uses.
Other options will allow you to get the best possible acceleration and smooth idle.
Best Car Deals by Category
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you Drive with a Bad TPS?
If your vehicle’s throttle position sensor (TPS) is faulty, it could cause issues such as a lack of power when accelerating or rough idle. You should immediately bring your car to a mechanic if these symptoms occur.
How Long Do TPS Sensors Last?
The batteries in the sensors are made to last for about five years. Unlike a flashlight, they can’t be replaced. Therefore, it’s recommended to replace the sensors every five years.