How To Clean The Throttle Position Sensor? A Simple Guide

A dirty throttle position sensor is a worrying concern to many drivers, as it could result in many repercussions.

So how to clean the throttle position sensor? How could you undertake this process without removing it?

The answers lie in this article; you will figure them out after thoroughly contemplating the post. Let’s move on to a journey of solving the mystery!

What Is The Throttle Position Sensor?

how to clean the throttle position sensor

A throttle position sensor is a device used to monitor the air intake of an engine. It is usually placed on the butterfly shaft or spindle, where the air flows.

The powertrain control module (PCM) is responsible for controlling its operation via a wiring network.

More specifically, it gauges the amount of air entering motor parts. The result will be compared with an appropriate computer-provided fuel ratio to mix with the air.

Thanks to a throttle position sensor, your car’s PCM can estimate a proper amount of fuel-to-air mixture; hence, the engines will produce the exact power level you require.

How To Clean The Throttle Position Sensor?

After locating the throttle, you have to take out the throttle valve and hoses to access the throttle body.

Next, clean the body flap, remove the sensor, and clean it with a dry cloth. Finally, put everything back in its place.

Here are prerequisites and detailed instructions for the throttle position sensor cleaning you must meet before starting the process.

Some Basic Requirements

  • When parking your car, you must turn off all the engines. Remember to wait a few minutes for them to release heat and cool down.
  • Prepare necessary tools, like a screwdriver set, wrench set, shop towel, cleaning solvent, and a replacement throttle position sensor.
  • If you undertake the procedure at home, wear protective garments to protect your health and reduce the chance of accidents.

The Step-By-Step Process

  • Step 1: Stop your car carefully. Take prompt measures if it does not go into park.
  • Step 2: The top priority is to pinpoint the exact throttle position. To do so, you need to find a big intake hose, and the TPS is located at the end of a pipe.
  • Step 3: After successfully positioning the device, switch the clamp anti-clockwise to loosen it and take the throttle valve and hoses out with a view to seeing the TPS’s body.
  • Step 4: Remove the throttle position sensor by loosening four holding screws and the electrical connectors. You must pay attention to wires, which can mistakenly cut them off. In some cases, you need to take the vacuum and coolant hoses out as well.
  • Step 5: Open the throttle body flap with the assistance of a screwdriver, or open it using your hand.
  • Step 6: Use a specialized TPS cleaner product or other car cleaners. Spray over both sides of the TPS body flap and wait five minutes.
  • Step 7: Clean your throttle position sensor with a dry cloth. It would be best to start from the TPS’s inner space to the outer sides. The edges of the valve flap are critical to the device’s operation, so don’t forget to clean them well.
  • Step 8: When you complete the cleaning procedure, installing the TPS back is compulsory. Place it correctly in its original position in your car and tighten all the nuts and bolts by following the torque specs in the manufacturer’s manual.
  • Step 9: Reassemble the intake hoses. Take close notice of surrounding wires and tighten the clamp. Refilling coolant is advisable because an amount is sometimes poured out during removal.
  • Step 10: Perform the throttle body sensor’s calibration. Many modern vehicles will do this step automatically after you have finished cycling the ignition. In some old cars, you may get an OBD2 scan tool to check.
  • Step 11: Once the TPS’s calibration is completed, you are advised to clear the trouble codes if a diagnostic scanner appears.
  • Step 12: Drive-test your car to see if anything goes wrong. Suppose the check engine light illuminates, or you feel something abnormal; call a qualified mechanic for help. I hope you will nail it!

How To Clean The Throttle Position Sensor Without Removing It?

bad throttle position sensor

The procedure is nearly the same as the one presented above. However, you must be more careful because a small mistake could wreak havoc on other engines.

Instead of removing the throttle position sensor, spray the cleaner directly onto its surface and use soft cloth or paper towels to get rid of dirt, debris, and other contaminants.

There are some significant warnings for you before performing this process. Avoid dropping the cloth into the TPS’ body.

I have fallen into this pitfall once and noticed that the cloth got stuck, and didn’t know how to take it back. So I have to turn to the help of a mechanic.

Don’t spray excess cleaner amounts. It can hinder the normal operation of other motor parts, and you also must wait longer for the liquid to penetrate.

After finishing everything, wait for the throttle body position sensor to dry completely before drive-testing your car. Good luck!

What Throttle Body Cleaner Should You Use?

There are lots of cleaning products specialized for the throttle body, but a CRC throttle body cleaner is highly recommended by many experts and professional mechanics thanks to its properties and functions.

CRC is a household name in the car cleaning field.

This brand has so long produced first-class products that quickly remove crud and blockages from engines, enhancing your engine performance.

I have purchased this product once and kept buying it next time because it really sways my worries about the car’s dirt problems.

If you are stuck in finding a suitable cleaner for your vehicle, this is indeed an ideal option.

Avoid buying fake products at all costs to protect your health. These products are notorious for their bad quality and could even pose a serious menace to users’ health due to toxic components.

What Problems Will A Bad Throttle Position Sensor Cause?

The following are common issues rendered by a malfunctioning TPS.

Acceleration And Power Delivery Problems

When your throttle position sensor goes wrong, it may be difficult to navigate your vehicle.

The reason is that a damaged TPS will result in worse car responses, which is attributed to an improper fuel-to-air mixture. Some common symptoms can be enumerated:

  • Poor acceleration
  • Inability to drive at a high speed
  • Engine misfiring

Idling And Stalling Issues

As mentioned, a failing throttle position sensor cannot send an appropriate fuel level to match the air intake.

That’s why your automobile cannot generate enough power, leading to idling and stalling problems. Below are some clear signs:

  • Rough idling
  • Surging idle
  • Stalling under hard braking

Failure To Start

Your car would even stop because of an engine power shortage, although you have already switched the key. This issue only happens after a long time since your TPS was last maintained.

Decreased Fuel Efficiency

Abnormal engine behaviors, rendered by a faulty TPS, can lead to poor fuel economy. All the above symptoms, like sudden idling, stalling, or acceleration, waste power to some extent.

Check Engine Light Illuminating

You might notice an intermittent flashing check engine light when there is a broken or damaged motor part in your vehicle.

In this case, a bad TPS sensor will trigger the light, notifying drivers of something wrong with their cars.

Difficulty In Changing Gears

A faulty TPS sensor leads to the acceleration matter, wreaking havoc on an automobile’s transmission shifts.

Also, incorrect signals make the PCM reach a wrong decision about how and when to shift.

Frequently Asked Questions

throttle position sensor cleaning

How To Test The Throttle Position Sensor?

You must rely on an OBD2 tool to retrieve the trouble codes derived from a car’s engine control module. Clear them all and activate the engine to see whether the codes return back or not.

Suppose they don’t; the problem is just intermittent, so you don’t need to worry.

If yes, your TPS might run into trouble, and you need to examine the conditions of other related devices, including the reference voltage, the wiring ground, sensor terminals, etc.

This procedure requires in-depth knowledge of the automotive field, so if you cannot do it at home, tow your car to a reliable garage, and professional mechanics will examine it for you.

How Much Does A Throttle Position Sensor Replacement Cost?

The answer varies greatly, depending on several factors, like the issue’s seriousness, location, or vehicle model.

But on average, the replacement throttle body cost falls in the range from 250 to 500 dollars. This includes the equipment’s price and labor costs.

The Bottom Line

After this post, it is easy to answer the question: How to clean the throttle position sensor? Despite many steps, the cleaning task seems not as daunting as you might think.

Follow the above twelve steps carefully, and you will see the result.

Thank you for your genuine support, and have a nice day!

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