The throttle body in your car is a rather involved system that is part of its air intake system. The air intake system is responsible for controlling the amount of air that you are letting into the engine. In order for your engine to run properly, you need the exact right combination of fuel and air. Involved in the operation of the throttle is the throttle position sensor, which is used to determine the position of your vehicle's gas pedal. It sends this information to your engine control unit so that the throttle plate position can be calculated. This is how your car figures out the amount of fuel to inject, and the amount of air to send to the engine. It's a big, long process and each part depends on the others.
Now that we’ve determined how important that throttle position sensor is, it’s easy to understand why there would be a number of issues that would pop up should this part fail. While this part is meant to last the lifetime of your vehicle, we all know things can happen. It's not unheard of for this part to fail prematurely.
Here are some common signs that your throttle position sensor may have reached the end of its lifespan:
You may start to notice a sudden lack of power. Along with this comes engine misfires, stalling, and just overall poor performance when it comes to your engine.
As mentioned, you can start to have problems shifting gears. This is dangerous and unsafe in all conditions.
Your Check Engine Light may also come on, but you'll need to have a professional read the computer codes in order to determine the exact cause.
The throttle position sensor not only helps to control the fuel and air mixture in your engine but also helps with shifting gears. While this part is meant to last the lifetime of your vehicle, sometimes it can fail and will need prompt replacement. Have a certified mechanic replace the failing throttle position sensor to eliminate any further problems with your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Throttle Position Sensor Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.