Throttle position sensor is a device in the engine of any motor vehicle, used to keep tabs on the position of the throttle. The timing of the fuel injection and ignition are determined depending on the position of this throttle. Basically, the computer of the vehicle, or let us say, a car to be specific, gets the signal sent by the throttle position sensor (TPS) as a form of input to the control system. This sensor is placed on the butterfly spindle for facilitating direct monitoring of the throttle valve butterfly. The core form of this sensor is the potentiometer. As you can see, problems in the TPS can give wrong signal to the vehicle’s computer, resulting in the vehicle going for an inappropriate combination of air fuel to engine. But what are the throttle position sensor problems? That is a thing which needs to be addressed first before we even sort them out!
Problems with Throttle Position Sensor:
Throttle position sensors are not wear and tear free and they are bound to malfunction at some point of time. Yes, just like any other part of the engine, they are prone to failure. Check out what can happen with your car TPS.
Without any serious mishandling of the vehicle, due to sheer wear and tear on account of prolonged usage, the TPS can wear out, as mentioned. Thus, keep a close watch on throttle position sensor location after your car gets a bit old! If the car’s computer does not catch the signal, the car will give indications on the form of poor performance. But we will address them later.
Typically the throttle position has to relay continuous data to the car engine’s computer, every time the throttle is adjusted. If the sensor, for instance, does not send a ‘throttle closed’ signal to the computer, there will be car start up problems or the engine will stall. It can misfire too when it is in gear if there is a loose TPS connection.
Sometimes what happens is that at the time of installation itself, the TPS can be kaput. Now the performance criteria and parameters for the sensor are set during installation. The setting is 1/100 of a volt, generally. In case an incorrect setting is done, it will lead the computer to go for a wrong and poor quality fuel mixture. As a final consequence, the engine performance gets badly affected from day one and car problems are encountered by the owner.
Another throttle position sensor problem is that due to some malfunctioning, these devices can hold the throttle as either open or closed. Let me explain it in a better manner. If there is a short in the sensor, the TPS will give the error saying always open. This can cause the engine to sun on extra rich fuel mixture. On the contrary, a closed signal will be caught by the computer in case of the TPS circuit being open continuously. An extra lean fuel mixture will run the engine in that case.
These are the basic TPS problems, which depending on the gravity, might need throttle position sensor troubleshooting. We talked about what does the TPS do when it starts acting funny (read malfunctioning). What impact does it have on the performance of the car? Coming up with the symptoms of a bad throttle position senor.
Signs of a Bad Throttle Position Sensor:
To begin with, the car may stall erratically or randomly if the TPS has become faulty. That can happen in motion or even in the idling position of the car. A slight hesitation in the time needed to respond for your engine when you accelerate is another way to tell if your car is experiencing throttle position sensor problems. Further, a faulty TPS may also result in the car to jerk around or buck without any reason. Along with that, out of the blue surging even when the car is idling is observed. All this makes it pretty clear how a bad throttle position sensor can affect the performance of the car, isn’t it? Keep a look out for these indicators!
At the end of the day, the gravity of the throttle position sensor problems may even lead to throttle position sensor replacement. That is if the problems are not addressed in time. To avoid these issues, all you need to do is to be aware of what is happening with your car, the usual sounds, the engine condition and stuff and take it for regular check ups at a mechanic or do car repair on your own! All the best! I ensure you have not been taken on a ride! I sign off here!