If your car is working perfectly fine, there is no reason you would necessarily be thinking about the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS). However, suppose your car is struggling to get power, even when flooring the accelerator pedal. In that case, it’s likely that the problem results from the Throttle Position Sensor not functioning properly and therefore needs to be reprogrammed.
What Is A Throttle Position Sensor?
A Throttle Position Sensor sits within a car’s throttle body, and it communicates the throttle position with the engine control module. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in calculating the engine’s accurate air to fuel mixture ratio.
Where Is The Throttle Position Sensor Located?
It varies by model, but the TPS usually sits near the throttle body by the butterfly shaft. This means that the sensor can accurately determine the position of the throttle.
What Happens When The Throttle Position Sensor Goes Bad?
Most drivers will only know about the Throttle Position Sensor once there is a problem with their engine. If the throttle body is failing, then the car might struggle to speed up when the accelerator pedal is pressed or, on the other hand, may suddenly go very fast long after the driver has floored the gas pedal.
What Causes Throttle Position Sensor Failure?
Like all other parts that make up a car, a Throttle Position Sensor can become faulty with age and often require a complete replacement. If the TPS has been exposed to excess substances, or the car has probably not been serviced, you will likely encounter a faulty TPS sooner rather than later.
Symptoms Of A Bad Throttle Position Sensor
Luckily, suppose your Throttle Position Sensor is not working correctly. In that case, it will usually communicate with you through a variety of ways that it needs to be reset or, in some cases, replaced altogether.
If your throttle body is faulty, it will likely cause acceleration issues. This means that when you are pressing the acceleration pedal, you won’t feel like the car is reacting correctly, as it might not be able to reach the desired speed. Even with the accelerator pedal pushed down, it can feel like the car is in low gear.
As well as problems with acceleration, a poorly working throttle body can also result in a sudden movement when you are not expecting it. This is down to incorrect fuel consumption.
When your car is not moving, there should be no movement in the throttle position sensors. To maintain an idle speed, the car needs a certain amount of fuel, and if this does not happen, it is likely that you need to reset the throttle position.
Difficulty in transmission shifting
If you have a bad TPS, you will notice that shifting gears will not feel as easy as it usually does. For instance, the TPS may be to blame if you notice that when you switch to higher gears, the car still feels like it is trailing behind in a low gear, even if you are flooring the accelerator pedal.
The check engine light will illuminate
If you notice any of the symptoms above, and your car displays the check engine light, a malfunctioning throttle position sensor is likely to blame. It is important to note that the check engine indicator can mean lots of different things, so unless it coincides with any other symptoms, it may result from a different issue with your car engine.
What Is The Procedure?
Before doing anything, you should make sure that the Throttle Position Sensor is the root of your problem. Once you know that it is, you can reset the throttle position in your car.
TPS reset tools and equipment
Apart from being in the driver’s seat of your car, all you will need to reset the Throttle Position Sensor is some way of taking the time, i.e., a watch or stopwatch.
Step 1 – Disconnect the battery
You will want to make sure the battery is disconnected for at least five minutes before you progress to step 2.
Step 2 – Reconnect the battery
After the five minutes is up, reconnect the battery but do not attempt to do anything else.
Step 3 – Turn the ignition switch to electric
Now you’ll want to put the key in the ignition and turn the key to electric so that the whole dashboard of your car lights up.
Step 4 – Press the gas pedal down and fully release
The following steps you will want to do three times. Firstly, slowly press the gas pedal to the floor. This should take around four seconds, and once the pedal hits the floor, leave it there for another three seconds or so.
In the same way, if you press the accelerator pedal down, you will want to release it slowly, retaking four seconds. Repeat this process three times.
Step 5 – Switch the key to the off position
Once you have completed the process in step 4, you’ll want to turn the ignition switch to the off position and remove the key for around 10 seconds.
If your idle is still, then the procedure has been successful. If it isn’t, you may need to repeat steps 3 and 4, where you turn the key to ignition until it is stable.
Alternatively, another way to reprogram your Throttle Position Sensor is to detach the negative cable from your battery for around five minutes or so. You can also remove the fuse from your engine control module.
Alternative Ways To Reprogram The Electronic Throttle Control Manually
As well to the methods stated above, there are other ways that you can try to reprogram the electronic throttle body manually, usually when the car is at a normal operating temperature.
Check out this guide for more information on resetting the Throttle Position Sensor in your Toyota.
Do You Have To Reset A Throttle Position Sensor?
If you do encounter any of the above issues, then it is likely that they can be resolved by simply resetting your Throttle Position Sensor.
If it is the case that you can fix your engine problems simply by performing this reprogramming, then you will end up saving yourself lots of money in service parts and labor costs.
How Long Does It Take For A TPS Sensor To Reset?
The process for resetting the position sensors, as outlined above, does not take a long amount of time at all. As you don’t require any equipment except your car, it can be done at any time and in any place, meaning you should hopefully be able to perform the reprogram efficiently in no time at all.
What Happens If TPS Is Not Calibrated?
If you have installed a new throttle valve and it has not been calibrated, then the sensor will not be able to work correctly and will therefore provide inaccurate information to the ECM.
As a result, the ECM will provide an incorrect ratio of air and fuel. If you have discovered this as the cause, you can read more information about your next step.
If you realize that the TPS is not calibrated, you will need to go ahead and go through the calibration procedure. This can be a relatively simple process and can sometimes be done manually using a multimeter or specific software.
Before you start calibrating your TPS, ideally, you will want to find detailed instructions on how to carry out the procedure on your specific model of car. This is because car parts can vary and have different requirements depending on the type of car.
How Long Can You Drive With A Bad Throttle Position Sensor?
You shouldn’t drive very long once you have detected an issue with the Throttle Position Sensor. Although it may only be causing minor, insignificant problems at first, it can result in more trouble later down the line.
If discovered early on, the sensor can be reprogrammed and may solve the issue altogether. However, if the problem is ignored, it may cause more damage to the car, and you could find that you will be left with an expensive bill from the mechanic.
Throttle Position Sensor Reset Cost
If you carry out your reset early on when the problem is first picked up, there is no reason why the procedure should cost you any money. After all, all you are doing is pressing and releasing the accelerator pedal for a specified amount of time, unhooking the cable, or removing the fuse from your engine control module.
However, it can start to cost a lot of money very quickly if the procedure is not performed early enough, and as a result, the car has come into more trouble and needs an even bigger repair. The best option is to stay alert and if you notice any problems about acceleration, changing gears, or an uneven idle, reset your TPS, and hopefully, you will have fixed your car problem for free!