What are the Symptoms of TPS
The throttle position sensor (TPS) is part of your vehicle's fuel management system and ensures that the correct mixture of air and fuel is delivered to your engine. The TPS provides the most direct signal to the fuel injection system as to what power the engine is demanding. The TPS signal is measured continuously and combined many times per second with other data such as air temperature, engine speed, air mass flow and how quickly the throttle position changes. This data determines exactly how much fuel needs to be injected into the engine at any given time. When the throttle position sensor and its other sensor partners do their job properly, your vehicle will accelerate, cross or slide smoothly and efficiently as you would expect.
The throttle position sensor can fail in a number of ways, leading at best to poor fuel economy and performance degradation which, at worst, can pose a safety risk to you and other drivers. This sensor can fail gradually or all at once. In most cases the Check Engine Light will illuminate when a TPS error is detected. In addition, most manufacturers offer a "limp home" mode with reduced performance if an error is detected. This is intended to enable at least one driver to get off a busy road more safely.
If the TPS ever breaks partially, you must replace it immediately. TPS replacement involves clearing the relevant trouble codes and may require reprogramming the new TPS module to match other engine management software. That's all that's left to a professional mechanic who can give you a diagnosis and then install the correct replacement part.
Here are some common symptoms of a bad or faulty throttle position sensor:
1. The car does not accelerate, does not accelerate or accelerates itself
It may feel like the car just isn't accelerating as it should. It can accelerate smoothly, but it lacks strength. On the other hand, your car may suddenly speed up while you are driving, even if you haven't stepped on the accelerator. If you experience these symptoms, there is a good chance you have a problem with the TPS.
2. Motor does not idle, runs too slowly or stalls
If you experience engine stall, standstill, or rough idling while stopping the vehicle, this can also be a warning sign of a lack of TPS. You don't want to wait to check this out!
3. Auto accelerates but will not exceed relatively low speed or upshift
This is another failure mode of the TPS, indicating that it is incorrectly limiting the force requested by the accelerator pedal. You can find that your car will accelerate, but not over 20-30 MPH. This symptom is often associated with performance degradation behavior.
4. Check Engine Light will illuminate accompanied by one of the above behaviors
The Check Engine Light may come on if you are having problems with your TPS. However, this isn't always the case, so don't wait for the Check Engine Light to be on before checking it out. If you experience any of the above symptoms, have your vehicle checked for trouble codes to determine the source of the problem.
The throttle position sensor is the key to getting the performance and fuel efficiency you want from your vehicle in any driving situation. As the symptoms listed above indicate, failure of this component will have serious safety implications and should be checked immediately by a qualified mechanic.
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