A throttle position sensor reset might be a solution if your car has acceleration or idling issues, as the throttle position sensor might also be failing.
A faulty throttle position sensor might seriously impact fuel economy, and it can also lead to dangerous situations or even engine damage.
If your car has a problem accelerating or idling and you want to know how the throttle position sensor (TPS) works and how to perform a throttle position sensor reset, keep reading.
How the Throttle Position Sensor Works
The throttle position sensor directly links the gas pedal to the gas flow inside the engine. It is a potentiometer that sends voltage signals to the Engine Control Module (ECM), which adjusts the throttle valve based on the signals sent from the gas pedal.
The throttle position sensor is a sensor that monitors the throttle position of a vehicle.
The throttle position sensor is usually a potentiometer, which converts the position of the gas pedal into an electrical signal.
This signal is then sent to the engine control unit (ECU), which uses it to determine how much fuel to inject into the engine.
The throttle position sensor is essential for maintaining the correct air-to-fuel ratio in the engine.
If the throttle position sensor is not working correctly, the ECU may not be able to inject the correct amount of fuel or air into the engine, which can cause the engine to run rough or stall.
How to Reset Throttle Position Sensor
To reset throttle position sensor, follow this procedure, assuming you have identified the throttle position sensor as the cause of the issue.
This method works for Toyota Tacoma 2005 – 2015 but could also work for more makes and models.
Here’s how to reset throttle position sensor:
Turn the Ignition to the ON Position
Insert your key into the ignition and turn it one click clockwise, do not crank or start the engine and wait 3 – 5 seconds before proceeding to the next step.
Turn the Key to the OFF Position
Shut down your car by turning the key in the ignition to off.
Repeat Step 1 & Step 2 Once
Repeat step one and step two by turning the key to the ON position, wait a few seconds, and turn it off.
Start the Car
Crank the engine and start your car.
Pull the Parking Brake
Release the parking brake in your car.
Insert the Drive Gear
Hold the brake by pressing the brake pedal and insert the Drive (D) gear.
Wait 5 – 10 Minutes on Idle
Let the car idle while pressing the brake pedal. Do not drive the vehicle.
Turn off Your Car
Turn the key counter-clockwise to turn off your car entirely.
Turn the Key to ON Position
Again, turn the key clockwise one step to activate the car’s electronics without cranking the engine.
Slowly Press the Gas Pedal
Press down the gas pedal slowly and hold for three seconds.
Slowly Release the Gas Pedal
Slowly release the gas pedal after holding it down for three seconds.
Repeat Step 10 & Step 11 Two More Times
Repeat step 10 and step 11 twice more by pressing the gas pedal down fully, waiting three seconds, and releasing it, slowly.
Turn Your Car Off
Turn off your car by turning the key counter-clockwise.
Remove the Key from the Ignition
When all electronics are off, remove the key.
Wait 5- 10 Minutes
Wait for the throttle position sensor to reset fully. This should take no more than 10 minutes.
Additional Throttle Position Sensor Reset Methods
There are alternative ways to perform a throttle position sensor reset that may work on more makes and models.
Here are two additional ways to perform a TPS reset.
Resetting the Battery
This way of doing a throttle position sensor reset is universal and may work on more makes and models, as it’s more of a reboot.
Lift up the hood of your car and find the battery. Use a wrench to disconnect the cables from the battery.
Leave the battery disconnected for a few minutes, then reconnect the wires to the battery.
Ensure not to break the clamps when you reconnect them, as overtightening the clamps could easily break them.
Inspect the Fuse
Sometimes the throttle position sensor might not work correctly. If this happens, you can try resetting it by taking the fuse out and putting it back in.
Although this method might not solve your problem, the fuse might cause the throttle position sensor to malfunction on rare occurrences.
The location of the fuse box depends on the vehicle, so you’ll need to find your owner’s manual to locate it.
Usually though, the fuse box is located under the hood.
Once you’ve found the fuse box, look for the corresponding fuse and take it out using fuse pullers.
Make sure the fuse is in good condition, then put it back in the same slot and investigate if your throttle position sensor now works as intended.
If These Methods Does Not Work for Your Specific Car
There are different throttle position sensors for different models of cars, so it is possible that none of the methods we tried worked.
If this happens to you, I would advise visiting a mechanic for a diagnostic test.
There’s a chance that the throttle position sensor can be reset. If you can’t reset the TPS, you’ll need a replacement to ensure safe engine operation.
I recommend reading Your Mechanic’s guide to replace the throttle position sensor.
Symptoms of a Failed Throttle Position Sensor
If the throttle position sensor malfunctions, the check engine light will illuminate your dashboard.
If the check engine light might already be illuminated on your dashboard for another reason, you have to look for other signs of failure.
Here’s the most common signs of a failed throttle position sensor:
The Car is Difficult to Start
The throttle position sensor might cause your car to have a hard time starting, as the TPS controls the amount of fuel running through the engine is controlled by the throttle position sensor.
If your car is hard to start, it might get too much or too little fuel.
The Accelerates Badly
A faulty throttle position sensor can cause the car to accelerate badly. Too much fuel will cause the vehicle to dip and surge when accelerating as the throttle position sensor fails to convert pedal input into valve control.
Irregular Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)
If your car’s RPM fluctuates, the throttle position sensor might be at fault.
By turning the ignition on and cranking the engine, you can hear the engine’s sound if the RPM fluctuates.
If your car has an RPM gauge, the pointer needle will sway up and down even though you’re not touching the gas pedal.
The Car Might Be Stalling
A failed throttle position sensor might also cause stalling due to the car getting too much fuel that it can’t ignite properly.
Poor or No Response from the Gas Pedal
When pressing the gas pedal, poor or no response could be potentially dangerous.
The valves could get stuck in the open position if the throttle position sensor fails, causing the car to keep accelerating.
If this happens, try to brake, pump the gas pedal to try release the stuck valves, or put the gear into neutral to decelerate the car.
Bad Fuel Economy
A strong indicator that something is not right is terrible fuel economy.
If you notice your car uses more gas than it used to while driving under the same conditions, the throttle positions sensor might be faulty.
If your throttle position sensor is bad or broken, the car will use more fuel than necessary and overflow the engine with gas. This will result in increased fuel consumption and reduced performance.