High-end, performance vehicles require an efficiently working system of parts at all times to ensure the most optimal results for drivers. However, over time these parts fade, deteriorate, and corrode, requiring immediate replacement and/or servicing to restore the car’s function. One such part is the throttle position sensor—a part that is particularly essential for engine performance.
If you’re not sure what a throttle position sensor does for your car, then you’re not alone—most driver aren’t familiar with this part’s function. In this article, we’ll go over the basic role of the throttle position sensor, the typical problems it can run into and common symptoms of failure, and what you can do to prevent or remedy these issues.
What does the throttle position sensor do for your car?
Your car is equipped with many different sensors, all of which various important functions. Usually a sensor’s main job is to detect conditions throughout the different systems of the car and report the data back to the car’s control centers/computers to modify or adjust the car’s performance specifications. In this case, the throttle position sensor (TPS) aids the fuel system to output the right amount of fuel, depending on the position of the throttle and other information coming from several other sensors throughout the car such as the air intake temperature. When the TPS is working properly, the car should perform to normal standards—including optimal ranges of fuel usage. Unfortunately, when the TPS begins to fail, it can cause concerning issues to arise.
What can go wrong with the throttle position sensor?
Usually drivers encounter a malfunctioning or failing throttle position sensor because their cars are higher up in mileage. The older the car gets, the less efficient the various sensors usually are. Over time oil and carbon buildup can cause sensors to read external information inefficiently or inaccurately, leading to inefficient performance and odd symptoms. Having your car’s sensors checked out routinely is one way to keep damages from occurring or parts from wearing out prematurely.
Symptoms of a failing throttle position sensor:
Since the symptoms of a failing TPS can be similar to those of other common vehicle performance issues, it is essential to have a differential diagnosis performed. These are the most common signs of TPS failure:
Check-engine light is on
The check-engine light may come on for numerous reasons, so it’s important to have these trouble codes read by a professional immediately.
Diminished acceleration power
If your engine can’t get enough fuel for combustion, then you will likely experience a diminished capacity for acceleration and power. Furthermore, the car might go into limp mode to prevent any damage to the engine.
Rough running and idling
Engine stalling and other rough running conditions like misfiring and idling roughly can indicate an issue with the TPS. These symptoms can be especially concerning and dangerous for drivers.
Difficulty shifting into next gear
Along with issues accelerating, it is common to experience problems shifting the car into the next gear. Usually this occurs in automatic cars when the TPS sensor fails.
Why it’s critical to hire an automotive specialist
If you drive a European import, then it’s important to find an automotive shop that specializes in the specific type of car you drive. There are several reasons for this: first, it is essential that your car receives the best level of care possible; second, your car requires specific parts when replacements are performed; and third, diagnostic and repair procedures will be performed accurately and efficiently, saving you money and time in the long run.
How we can help
Here at Autobahn Automotive Service, serving San Antonio and Longhorn, TX, we specialize in various European import vehicles, such as: Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, MINI, Porsche, Volkswagen, Volvo. We also have extensive experience and expertise working with various models of hybrid vehicles. For over 4 decades we have provided affordable and exceptional quality automotive servicing for several generations of families over time. Our reputation for trustworthiness and integrity keep our clients coming back throughout the years, and we treat every client as if they were our own family. To learn more about our shop, including our qualifications, please call us directly or request an appointment through our website.