If you start experiencing engine issues in your vehicle, however, identifying the problem can be a difficult task.
Engine compartments have several different components, and if any of them were to fail, performance would deteriorate. A failed throttle position sensor could be the cause of an engine not accelerating properly or having idling issues.
It may be small but it is a significant part of a car’s fuel management system. If it fails, you must learn how to rest the throttle position sensor, and so, this article will provide you with all the possible methods.
What is a Throttle Position Sensor?
A throttle position sensor (TPS) is a small part of the fuel management system that sits on the top of the butterfly valve. Its role is to continuously monitor the air and fuel flow towards the engine.
The TPS will report whether the air and fuel mixture is at its optimum or not by sending signals to allow the system to accordingly release fuel and air.
If this throttle position sensor fails, the throttle body will malfunction, causing idling and acceleration issues. It will also affect your car’s mileage.
Due to the ever-changing technologies in today’s society, more advanced TPS sensors are used in cars today offering improved performance and better fuel economy. These are modern complex systems that you won’t be able to fix at home and instead will need to replace.
How Does a Throttle Position Sensor Work?
The principle of a throttle position sensor has remained the same regardless of whether the older car model’s TPS is different to what you can find in cars today.
This TPS is generally either hard wired to the throttle or merely observes magnetic field variations in order to control the fuel and airflow. The hard-wired sensors will instantly know when the throttle is open wider while the more modern version of the sensor will only observe changes in the magnetic field.
The TPS is so important in allowing your car to let you go fast enough when you press down harder on your acceleration, even if it is a physically small component.
Several car models will have secondary and ternary safety sensors that provide an additional safeguard and throttle regulation. This will be why it is not necessarily a fault if you floor the gas in a new car, and it doesn’t instantly shoot off.
It may feel as if your car is checking whether you actually want to go this fast? Then, pow, it starts going significantly fast.
Symptoms of a Faulty Throttle Position Sensor
Before wondering how to reset the throttle position sensor in a car, you must ensure that TPS is the culprit.
The first warning sign comes before any symptoms, in the form of the check engine light. If your CEL starts blinking for no reason, it indicates a problem in the engine. However, it does not necessarily indicate a failed TPS but any problem in the engine.
If you’re driving your car with more than a few years of service, there are good chances that the check engine light is already lit up for some other, potentially rather insignificant reason.
It is thereby recommended to take your vehicle to a diagnostician and find out what the problem is. Something trivial can be ignored, with the warning light wiped off, leaving the system error-free and ready to warn you of a far more serious problem.
Anyway, here are some signs that indicate a failed throttle position sensor:
- Weak acceleration
- Rough idling
- Hesitation and surging during acceleration
- Issues in gear shifting
- Poor power
If your car has started stalling, check the rev gauge or listen to your car’s engine with the ignition on. Irregular idle revs and stalling can be caused by a failing throttle position sensor. If you hear anything unusual, you will know what the culprit is.
If your fuel consumption suddenly increases, it could be caused by a faulty TPS as the system overflows the engine with extra fuel without the correct information from the TPS. This will not only increase fuel consumption but also reduce performance.
Poor response from the gas pedal could be a more serious issue at hand. When smooth acceleration changes into a series of surges and dips, the throttle position sensor will fail to convert the pedal input into valve control properly.
With fluctuating rev gauge and audible changes in engine operation, problematic idle can be identified. This will worsen the fuel economy, and so, if you notice this, it is a strong indicator of something going wrong.
If the valves get stuck in an open position, even when releasing the gas pedal, this will do nothing which can be very dangerous. If this were to happen, it is advised that breaking and pumping the gas to get some response out of the throttle position sensor, and then switching to neutral will help you decelerate the vehicle.
These signs are not exclusively connected to a failed throttle position sensor, but check it, if you experience any of the above issues.
How Do You Reset the Throttle Position Sensor?
Once you have identified a faulty throttle position sensor as the cause of your vehicle’s inefficient performance, you can follow the following methods on how to reset throttle body sensor and recalibrate the throttle position sensor.
Time is extremely crucial in all methods, therefore, you should keep a watch or stopwatch ready with you.
It is a very simple method and does not require any expertise.
- 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.
It completes the first reset process.
Time needed: 1 minute
How to reset throttle position sensor
- Prepare the car
Release the accelerator completely. Ensure the headlights and AC are turned off and the car is in an in-park position.
- Turn on ignition
Turn on the ignition and wait for 10 seconds after turning on the ignition and bringing the car to the operating temperature.
- Turn off ignition
Now turn off the ignition and wait for 10 seconds. After turning it off, listen to the valve operation sound.
Once your car meets the criteria, follow the steps described below.
- Ensure that the accelerator pads are completely released.
- Turn “on” the ignition switch and keep it on for 3 seconds. Do not start the engine.
- In 5 seconds, you must depress and release the accelerator 5 times.
- Give the car and yourself a rest of 10 seconds.
- Press down on the accelerator fully for 20 seconds. The Check Engine Light will start blinking and turn on.
- When CEL turns on, release the accelerator in 3 seconds.
- Start your car’s engine and keep it idle for 20 seconds.
- Rev up your engine a few times and check if the ignition and idle are synchronized or not.
In order to reset your electronic system, other than the methods described above, you can take the help of a wrench and disconnect the battery. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before reattaching the wires. This will boost up your system and may help to fix the TPS issues.
Otherwise, take your user manual and locate your fuse box. Unplug the fuse and then replug it after a few minutes. This may be able to help if you’re lucky.
What if it Doesn’t Work?
It’s possible that the methods provided in this article may not solve your problem. In such a case, and you wonder how to change throttle position sensor? You will need to take your car to the mechanic to seek professional help. The reason for these methods not working could be due to a specific throttle.
The timings and sequences of modern-day throttles can vary significantly. A mechanic can reset the TPS within minutes or replace it, depending on the specific circumstances.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Throttle Position Sensor?
Your next question must be how much does it cost to fix a TPS if you have to visit a mechanic? A bad sensor will more often than not need a complete replacement. While the part itself is rather inexpensive, the labour costs can be anywhere from a low £25 to a whopping £1500.
This totally depends on the type of vehicle at hand. With some car models, it is standard. The reason is that not every car has a throttle position sensor in a position that is easy to reach.
For the DIY lovers, you will be glad to know that you won’t likely spend anywhere above £100 if you can do it yourself. However, if your car is one of those difficult cars that mechanics would charge thousands for, you need to be a very experienced DIY car mechanic.
Alternatively, in some cases, resetting the throttle position sensor is the cheaper option, especially if it’s not completely gone, and can be done using the methods provided in this article.
Tips for Maintaining Throttle Position Sensor
There isn’t much you can do about maintenance for your throttle position sensor, but the following points of precaution will help you reduce the likelihood of failure:
- Ensure the throttle body is always free of sludge or any other dirt that may negatively affect its functioning
- Make sure all wiring is top standard, that all cables are in perfect working order
- Make sure your ECU is not faulty
- Make sure your throttle body is not faulty – if it is, replace it
- Try to avoid using a second-hand throttle position sensor to replace a bad one. While it may be cheaper, it could mean that you didn’t solve anything
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
After replacing the throttle position sensor in your engine, if the engine light was on and has a pending code, the code should go away. If the code doesn’t, however, then the ECM (engine computer module) will need resetting.
Yes, it is important to reset the throttle position sensor if you’re having issues. In a lot of cases, where you may think the TPS just needs replacing, you might only need to reset the TPS for everything to be back in working order.
To calibrate the TPS, first, insert the ignition key and turn it to “ON” (not start). Wait for all idiot lights to go out before slowly depressing the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. Next, slowly release the accelerator pedal until it’s all the way back up before turning the ignition key to “OFF”.
If your TPS is faulty or uncalibrated, the sensor will be unable to accurately determine the position of the sensor. This will lead to a variety of symptoms, including the ECM delivering the wrong air to fuel ratio to the cylinders.
Please comment below if you have any questions regarding how to reset throttle position sensor!