If you’ve noticed something off with your car’s performance, particularly a decrease in acceleration or power, it could be related to your Throttle Position Sensor (TPS). As such, resetting it can often rectify any issues you may be experiencing. So, when exactly should a throttle position sensor reset be performed?
Perform a throttle position sensor reset if the check engine light turns on, acceleration changes, fuel economy drops, or there are issues with idling such as stalling, surging, or hesitation.
It might be necessary for you to perform a TPS reset at one point or another. It can have an impact on the engine’s health if it’s not working properly. And you’ll definitely get to feel that while driving.
However, keep in mind that all these symptoms are quite vague and might be indications of other engine issues.
Though there is no fixed replacement interval for a throttle position sensor (TPS), it is recommended by some manufacturers to replace the unit every 5 years or 80,000 miles as a preventative measure.
With that being said, some sensors might end up lasting the lifetime of your vehicle.
But if you notice your car running a bit rough lately, and the dreaded check engine light is illuminated – your throttle position sensor might be to blame. Don’t stress however, it could just be time for a reset.
In this guide, we’ll discuss why and when it is important to reset a throttle position sensor. We’ll walk through the basics of how these sensors work. This way, you will understand their importance in your vehicle’s performance.
Finally, we’ll provide an easy guide on how to do a TPS reset yourself if needed. Let’s get started!
What Does A Throttle Position Sensor do Exactly?
The function of a throttle position sensor is to gauge the degree of openness of the throttle valve, thereby regulating the amount of air that can enter the engine’s intake manifold.
While it’s purpose is pretty basic and easy to understand, it’s an important piece to the overall performance of an engine.
When Is a Throttle Position Sensor Reset Required?
If you suspect that your TPS has gone bad, replacing or resetting it as soon as possible is advised. Using a damaged sensor for extended periods of time can cause engine wear and various issues with the car’s ignition system, air conditioning, and fuel efficiency.
Furthermore, the vehicle might misfire or idle when stopped or accelerate itself, which is simply unsafe.
You might have to perform a throttle position sensor reset if:
- The engine light has been triggered
- There are unusual changes in your acceleration (delay in gear shifting, poor power, hesitations during acceleration, etc.)
- There is a dramatic drop in fuel economy
- The vehicle experiences surging, stalling, or hesitating while idling
How to Reset a Throttle Position Sensor
Stumped on how to reset your throttle position sensor? Don’t worry; this task is not as complicated as it may seem. There are several methods to go about resetting the TPS, and we”’ go each next.
By Pushing the Accelerator Pedal
One of the easiest ways to fix the issue is by turning the vehicle on and pushing the accelerator pedal.
Simply leave the key in the ‘on’ position without starting the engine (or push the button once). Then, hold the accelerator pedal down for about 20 seconds. Slowly release the pedal and turn the vehicle off.
Then start the engine as you normally would and go for a quick drive to see if this trick helped.
By Using an OBD2 Scanner
If the throttle position sensor in your car can be reset automatically, then you can use an OBD2 scanner. Just make sure to use one that is compatible with your car model and that has a sensor reset feature.
By Removing the Fuse
Read the owner’s manual to find the fuse that is connected to the TPS. Once you pull it out and leave the fuse like that for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the sensor should reset on its own.
By Disconnecting the Battery
You can take off the negative cable from the battery or fully disconnect the battery and reconnect it in 5 minutes, but this will make all the electronics in your car reset.
After you have reconnected the battery, turn the ignition switch to electric. Then slowly push the gas pedal to the floor, leave it there for a few seconds, and slowly release it. Repeat 3 times, turn the ignition switch to ‘off’, and remove the key.
Throttle Position Sensor Reset FAQs
What Codes Can a Throttle Position Sensor Cause?
A faulty throttle position sensor will trigger the following trouble codes when scanning your vehicles computer: P0120, P0122, P0123 and P0124.
What Will a Bad Throttle Position Sensor do?
Your engine’s performance will be affected by a faulty TPS, and in most cases the engine will idle normally but struggle to gain speed. Because the computer fails to signal to the engine to provide enough fuel while airflow is simultaneously rising, resulting in difficulty accelerating.
What’s the Easiest Way to Reset my throttle position sensor?
To reset your throttle position sensor, the simplest approach would be to disconnect the negative cable from your battery for a duration of five minutes.
Final Thoughts: Throttle Position Sensor Reset
It’s clear that the time to do a throttle position sensor reset is when the check engine light comes on, your fuel economy is not up to par, you experience hesitations, stalling or surging while idling, or changes in acceleration.
This could easily be a DIY project; however, if the issue persists after resetting the sensor, then you might need to take it to a professional who can get the part replaced.
It’s important to take care of your vehicle and perform routine checks and maintenance activities so that you ensure its longevity.
When looking at vehicle performance, the last thing you want to do is neglect an essential part like the throttle position sensor because timely action can help extend its life.
Loves anything with a motor and wheels.
Christopher is an automotive technical writer. When he’s not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. Specializes in automotive class action law, industry trends, and automotive maintenance. Email me direct, or learn more about us