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How To Tell If Your Vehicle's Throttle Position Sensor Is Bad

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A throttle position sensor has the job of measuring the current position of your throttle plate, which then sends that information to the engine control module. The data is then used in several ways, such as increasing or decreasing how much fuel your vehicle uses, controlling how the vehicle idles, and even adjusting how your automatic transmission shifts. That's why it's important to know the signs that your throttle position sensor needs to be repaired or replaced. 

Service Engine Light

Thankfully, an easy way to diagnose a problem with your throttle position sensor is to have a service engine light on your dashboard. This light can be used to indicate that there is some sort of error code being given by a part that is malfunctioning, which can then be read by a computer. 

However, several error codes are related to the throttle position sensor, and the error codes are not always clear. That's why it is worth having a mechanic check the error codes for you. For example, the code P0120 will indicate that the throttle position sensor is not getting the correct voltage, while P0124 indicates an intermittent signal coming from this part. 

Shifting Problems

Are you accelerating and notice that the vehicle is having difficulty shifting gears? This is a problem that can happen because the engine control module is not getting the correct position of the throttle plate due to its sensor malfunctioning. It will cause problems where the engine seems to hang on the current gear before shifting. A properly working throttle position sensor will help ensure that the gears shift at the right time. 

Limp Mode

Your vehicle may have a safety feature known as limp mode, which is a safety feature that is designed to protect you and your vehicle. When the vehicle cannot operate properly due to a malfunctioning part, the vehicle will force itself to stay in low gear so that you can safely drive the car. The goal is to give you the power that you need to get to an auto shop or to drive home safely, and then deal with the problem as soon as possible. In addition to having reduced engine power, you may also notice that your RPMs do not get very high and that the service engine light is turned on.

Reach out to an auto repair shop like an Alfa Romeo service center for more information about repairing or replacing your throttle position sensor.