Bad Throttle Position Sensor Symptoms | TPS Quick Guide

Your vehicle will never function well if even the slightest part of your engine fails to do its job properly. Your engine is dependent on the proper proportion of fuel and air it takes to run smoothly. The air that enters your engine is managed by the intake system and the tiny part of your intake system that makes sure that your throttle is working as it should is the Throttle Position Sensor or TPS.

What does a Throttle Position Sensor do?

Your TPS checks if your throttle’s butterfly is ‘fluttering’ properly to let the right amount of air entering through the throttle. As you press down on your accelerator, your throttle blades flutter open. Your TPS receives this action and sends a direct signal to the fuel injector so that it will release more fuel to compensate for the air that flowed right into the engine. The signal sent by the TPS is measured and relayed to other data like actual air mass flow, air temperature, engine RPM and the speed by which your throttle position may be changing.

Where is the throttle Position Sensor located?

The TPS is found directly on the butterfly shaft. It is right on the throttle body itself so that it can easily monitor if the position of the throttle is off.

What are the Bad Throttle Position Sensor Symptoms?

  1. Poor Fuel Performance. Since it is the one sending the signal to the fuel injector pumps, a malfunctioning TPS will send wrong signals to the fuel injectors thus causing a disproportional mixture of fuel and air resulting to poor fuel performance.
  2. Poor engine performance. Your engine depends on the quality if the mixture of fuel and air pumped into the combustion chamber. If there is even the slightest mistake in the mixture, the performance of the engine is greatly affected.
  3. Limited power to accelerate. When press down on your accelerator, your vehicle accelerates but poorly. It doesn’t speed up as much as you want it to. If not, it has quite a slow acceleration. Sometimes, as your cruising along the road, your vehicle suddenly speeds up or slows down without you pressing on the gas pedal or the brakes.
  4. Stalling engine or rough idle. You may experience a rough idle on your vehicle or an engine misfire or even stalling when your TPS is malfunctioning. However, these signs can also be symptoms of other engine malfunction. One thing to notice is that if your vehicle is acting up during a stop light, either your car suddenly speeds up or slows down.
  5. Accompanying Lit Check Engine Light. With the symptoms mentioned above and your check engine light is on. It is safe to say that you may have a problem with your TPS.

How to clean your throttle position sensor?

NOTE: It is ideal to clean your throttle position sensor when your engine is still warm. Once you just came off the road, let your engine cool down a little to where you can handle the heat and that’s the best time to clean your sensor. Grime and grease are easier to wipe off when your engine is a bit warm.

  1. Once you’ve located your throttle position sensor or TPS, disconnect the electrical connector attached to the TPS.
  1. Unscrew the nuts holding the TPS in place using a screwdriver.
  1. Spray on some of your throttle body cleaners and wipe it off with a clean paper towel. If the grime too thick let the solvent settle on the sensor for a while to loosen the gunk off your TPS.
  1. Clean the surrounding area where your TPS is mounted.
  1. Replace the TPS on its mount and screw the nuts back on to hold the TPS in place.
  1. Reattach the electrical connector you detached.
  1. Use your OBD II to erase the code causing the check engine light to light up.
  1. Start your engine and go for a test drive, if you cleaned off the grime well, then you wouldn’t have much of a problem related to your TPS.


You don’t have to worry much about your engine when it suddenly stalls or idles roughly than it should. You should check what is wrong with your vehicle first, try and see if you can fix the damage yourself and then call for a mechanic if you can’t do the job or if you worsened it. Vehicles need your special care to keep them running for a long time. This is a quick guide to detecting the bad throttle position sensor symptoms, I hope you can find out more useful information here.

Bad Throttle Position Sensor Symptoms | TPS Quick Guide
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