What Does a Throttle Position Sensor Do?

Written by jay motes
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What Does a Throttle Position Sensor Do?
The throttle position sensor measures throttle opening. (speedometer image by Joy Fera from Fotolia.com)

The throttle position sensor is an electronic sensor that plays an important role in assuring efficient engine operation. Without a properly functioning throttle position sensor, an automobile may experience a number of problems.

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Purpose

The throttle position sensor measures and reports the amount of throttle opening to the engine control computer. The computer uses this information to make adjustments to the mixture of fuel and air used for combustion. As the throttle is opened, the engine requires more fuel in the mixture to provide needed power.

Problem Signs

When a throttle position sensor begins to fail, the engine will often hesitate during acceleration as the sensor is not properly reporting the change in the amount of throttle opening. A faulty throttle position sensor may also cause other problems including stalling, rough idle and an increase in fuel consumption.

Troubleshooting

Problems from the throttle position sensor often trigger a diagnostic fault code. A diagnostic code reader can be used to read the fault codes to locate the source of the problem. Before replacing the sensor, the sensor's wiring should be inspected for damage or loose connections. The sensor may also become loose causing the readings to be inaccurate.

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