What happens when you turn down things in your vehicle such as the air conditioner? It slows down in a controlled manner. Just like when you decrease your speed it's not a sudden loss of power rather it is a controlled slowing down. This is because of the throttle kicker actuator which allows the throttle to engage slightly so that the various accessories gain the power they need and the RPM's in your engine don't get out of control. The throttle kicker actuator is controlled by both a vacuum and by electronics.
In the majority of cases the throttle kicker actuator will last the lifetime of your vehicle without any service or maintenance needed on your part. However, when it does fail it is usually very sudden and completely unexpected. Failing causes issues with all kinds of systems and parts in your vehicle, so it's actually dangerous not to have it looked at immediately. You won't be able to fix it rather you'll need a trained professional to replace the part.
Here are some signs you can watch for that may signal that your throttle kicker actuator has suddenly failed and needs to be replaced immediately.
The transmission can suddenly give you problems when shifting. This is both dangerous and difficult to deal with. While it could be a number of issues, the throttle kicker actuator could be the culprit.
When you are rushing out the door, the last thing you want to deal with is a car whose engine won't start; but that's exactly what may happen should the throttle kicker actuator fail. While you will probably be able to get it started eventually, it won't be reliable.
It is cause for concern if your engine suddenly stalls on a regular basis. The stalling will tend to happen when you are idling or slowing down.
The throttle kicker actuator plays a big part in making sure your engine operates as it should, and in turn other components in your vehicle operate properly. If you suddenly find your car stalling, have a hard time starting, and have issues shifting it could be that your throttle kicker actuator has failed. Have a certified mechanic replace the failing throttle kick actuator to eliminate any further problems with your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Throttle Kicker Actuator Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.