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Throttle Position Sensor

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Your car rarely runs in full throttle. Most of the time, you'll have to speed up or slow down depending on the traffic situation. Each time you slow down, your throttle decreases the amount of fuel flowing into your engine. Conversely, when you floor your gas pedal, the throttle opens up to give your engine a full load of energy-giving fuel. So how does your car know when to restrict or increase fuel flow into your engine? Well, it all starts with the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS). The TPS keeps track of the position of your throttle valve. Each time you depress on your brake or gas pedal, your TPS sends data to your engine control unit (ECU). It tells your engine how open or closed the throttle is. Using this data, your ECU controls fuel injection and ignition timing to correspond with your car's needs. Take for example, when you're idling. When your vehicle idles, your engine still burns small amounts of fuel to stop your vehicle from stalling. What the TPS does is it tells your ECU that your throttle is still open. The ECU then takes action, opening the throttle rapidly and letting small amounts of fuel to enter your engine. This is necessary to keep your engine running even when your vehicle is stationary. Because the Throttle Position Sensor is an indispensable part of your car, you need to make sure this component stays in shape. If your current TPS isn't working, then we recommend getting a new sensor from Auto Parts Warehouse today.

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Helpful Tips in Purchasing a Throttle Position Sensor for your Vehicle

The throttle position sensor (TPS) monitors the position of the throttle valve to inform the ECM if the engine is in idle, part throttle, or wide-open throttle. Through the voltage signal sent by the TPS, the ECM will know if there's a need to adjust and correct the air and fuel ratio. Does your vehicle stall after startup or is rough when in idle? If yes, you'd better check your throttle position sensor right away. If after testing and troubleshooting you find out that the TPS is in need of replacement, don't think twice. Below are some tips to help you find the right TPS for your ride:

What type of TPS should you get?

Though throttle sensors come in many different types, automotive throttle position sensors are offered only in two types: switch and potentiometer. To avoid compatibility problems, find out first the type and specifications of your stock sensor and look for an exact replacement.

Switch. This type of TPS features a switch that stays on to provide a continuous supply of electricity when the throttle is used. If the throttle is off, the switch will also turn off to prevent electricity from flowing.

Potentiometer. When the ignition is on but the throttle is off, this type of sensor sends very low voltage to the engine computer. It just increases the voltage as the throttle increases; the voltage can get to a peak of 5 Volts when the throttle gets to its maximum.

What other factors should you consider?

  • Resistance readings
Before your purchase, know the resistance readings of your stock throttle position sensor's wires. You can get this information from your owner's manual.

  • Good construction
Make sure the components of your replacement sensor are carefully assembled so the voltage signals will be precisely sent for improved fuel consumption and maximum power output.

  • Warranty
Go for a throttle position sensor that's backed by a noteworthy manufacturer warranty. Most units sold these days come with 1-year or 12,000-mile warranty, so if you can find a product with longer coverage minus the hefty price, that's definitely a good buy.

  • Price
The cheapest throttle position sensor you can find isn't always the best buy. But it doesn't mean you go for the most expensive one. While it's true that when it comes to auto parts, you get what you pay for, there are manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers who offer their items at reasonable prices. Consider the product's features, construction, quality, product fit, and warranty to determine if the TPS you're eyeing is worth the price.

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Throttle Position Sensor Replacement: Here's How

For a more efficient fuel delivery, vehicles are equipped with a throttle position sensor (TPS) that sends a variable voltage output to inform the on-board computer about the vehicle's throttle position. This variable potentiometer includes mechanical moving parts that are prone to wear and tear. A malfunctioning TPS causes a variety of symptoms such as inconsistent idling, sudden engine stalling, bucking and jerking, hesitation when the vehicle is accelerating, and unexpected surge in the vehicle's speed during highway driving.

While a voltmeter can be used to check its condition, the throttle position sensor can't be adjusted or fixed, so as soon as it gets damaged, you have no choice but to replace it.

Difficulty level: Moderate

What you'll need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Voltmeter
  • Straight pin/T-pin/meter probe
  • Replacement TPS
  • Multimeter

TPS Voltage Check

Step 1: Prop the hood open and locate the throttle position sensor near the throttle shaft or body. Disconnect the TPS harness.

Step 2: Manually open the throttle valve and test the resistance between terminal 1 and 2 in three different accelerator pedal positions.

Step 3: When the pedal is fully depressed, the voltmeter should read a resistance of around 10 ohms; when partially depressed, you should record 2-10 ohms, and 2 ohms when the pedal is completely released.

If you notice that the resistance is out of the specified range, it's time to have your throttle position sensor replaced.

TPS Replacement

Step 4: With a screwdriver, loosen and remove the mounting screws and take your faulty TPS off the throttle chamber.

Step 5: Install the o-ring that comes with your replacement TPS. Mount the replacement TPS onto the throttle body.

Step 6: Put the screws back into their respective locations and tighten them. Reconnect the electrical connector.

Step 7: Start the engine and check if the sensor's output voltage is within specified range. You can also road test your vehicle to see if the check engine light turns on again.