To monitor your car engine’s air intake, a throttle position sensor is used with the throttle body. It ensures that a correct blend of air and fuel is being forwarded for combustion.
This sensor is usually positioned on a butterfly shaft to check/monitor the position of the throttle directly. The car engine works properly if the throttle position sensor is alright.
But your throttle sensor can malfunction due to many reasons, and one of them is getting dirty. Hence, it would help if you made sure the cleaning of it regularly.
In this article, I will be telling you about the efficient ways to get your throttle position sensor cleaned.
Indications of bad TPS
There are many indications/symptoms to tell you that your throttle position sensor (TPS) is not working well or got dirty. Following are the important ones:
Engine stalling means that the engine suddenly stops working. This can be an abrupt halt. This is caused when the air and fuel blending goes wrong due to bad monitoring or not monitoring at all of the air intakes.
Idling means when your engine is running, but the car is not moving. So, if the idling is rough and the sound is not very promising, it indicates a throttling issue.
Your engine’s performance, along with the fuel consumption, goes wrong, and it disturbs the car’s average fuel consumption and affects the engine badly.
The car will not accelerate properly, and in other cases, the car will accelerate, but the speed will not increase accordingly.
Thus, if any of the above-mentioned symptoms occur, the car engine will send a command, and the problem will be displayed through engine light. This indicates that something is wrong and needs to be checked.
You’d often have to replace your TPS if the problems mentioned above occurred. But generally, proper cleaning of the TPS will do the purpose.
Read Also: Car Shakes When Acceleration
The throttle position sensor can get dirty due to the vapors of the crankcase. These vapors are constantly generated due to the continuous combustion process.
They usually pass through the throttle body during the combustion process and leave oily residues inside the throttle body. Thus, the throttle position sensor gets dirty and faces problems during its performance.
Cleaning the throttle position sensor
To get your throttle position sensor cleaned, I will mention the most efficient way in which you will be able to visualize how things work and how to get the job done.
But first things first, you will need the following tools and stuff to get the job done:
Multimeter: Connecting cables (usually come with the multimeter)
6mm rachet: Brake cleaner/ Electric oil/wd40 (where wd40 is a multipurpose product that is usually used for corrosion protection/lubrication)
A screwdriver: A drill to open the screws (optional)
Read Also: Symptoms of a Bad Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor
Now, without further ado, let’s get to the procedure of cleaning!
So, you have to follow the steps below in the correct order to have good results in the end.
Steps of Cleaning the throttle position sensor
- Switch on the multimeter and set it to 20 kilo-ohms in potentiometer mode.
- Attach the connecting cables with the multimeter and the other ends to be inserted inside the side connectors of the throttle position sensor.
- To easily insert the connecting cables, try to improvise the terminals according to the slots.
- Now check the reading after connecting; it will be 1.0 kilo-ohm for the closed throttle.
- Now try to open the throttle, and you will see the reading growing from its initial value. The maximum reading that you will see should be 2.5 kilo-ohms.
- If you gradually change the throttle opening, you will see that the readings are not linearly changing but fluctuating or skipping in behavior.
- It is the indication that your sensor is dirty and needs to get cleaned.
- Now, it is time to disassemble the sensor for cleaning purposes. Use a screwdriver/drill to detach the sensor from the throttle body.
- You will see a rotatable hollow shaft on one side of the sensor in contact with the throttle body.
- Now keep in mind that this is the side that should be cleaned.
- Take brake cleaner (I suggest that as it is good in evaporating/flashing off quickly). You can use other stuff like electric oil or wd40 spray according to the availability.
- Now spray inside the hollow portion thoroughly, and using a screwdriver, turn the hollow portion quickly so that any dirt comes out.
- Spray for about three to four times and repeat the above procedure until you feel that the cleaning is done.
- Now let it get dry and after that, connect the multimeter with it, and this time, using a screwdriver, turn the hollow knob type shaft gently and try to check if the multimeter is giving consistent values.
- The values should be consistent and linear. There shouldn’t be a gap between the values, or no value should be missed in the reading while gently turning the screwdriver.
- If you still see deviations or missing readings, then there is a need to clean it again.
- For the second phase of the cleaning, follow the same above procedure.
- When you feel that consistent readings are coming, then assemble the sensor again with the throttle body using a drill/screwdriver.
- Your throttle body, along with the throttle position sensor, is ready to use now.
- Note that when I talked about missing values or inconsistent values in multimeter reading, it means that the sensor will cause wrong intakes, and ultimately it will affect the performance of the engine.
- Just an example, like normally for cruising on the highway, a 1.5 kilo-ohm reading should be there, and if your sensor is not consistent at this value, your car engine will face problems while operating.
- Proper cleaning will help the sensor to communicate accurate readings between the computer and the actuator. In this way, your car’s efficiency will stay in a good range as well.
Always notice and keep checking your throttle body regularly to not come across any uncertain problem.
While Cleaning, try to use a cleaning agent that is more volatile and less greasy to allow the sensor to work properly.
While assembling and disassembling the sensor, try to go gentle so that you do not damage it.
Perform proper analysis of readings during the procedure to obtain good and long-lasting results and ensure the cleaning is done properly.
While working with spray, use safety goggles, and mask to save yourself from harmful fumes.
Do not wait for too long if you feel any symptoms mentioned above so that the engine doesn’t have any serious issues due to delays.
Do not use conventional cleaners to avoid damaging the sensor.
Do not forget about the safety precautions while working with the tools.
Care is better than cure
The most important thing that you should know if you use any machinery regularly is maintenance. It is as much important as fulfilling the energy demands of the machine by fuel or electricity.
Suppose you do not do proper maintenance of your car along with all the parts inside. You will have to face malfunctioning and uncertain issues and some cost of replacing the parts as well.
If you do not take proper care of the throttle body and throttle positioning sensor, you will not face only one problem, but more, like, you will probably have to replace the part, due to delays the fuel efficiency problems, and damage to the engine due to wrong air-fuel blends.
Wisdom is all about taking care of your throttle position sensor (TPS). It will surely keep you from many engine problems.
Read Also: Best Mass Air Flow Sensor Review
Suggestions for cleaningThe cleaning of electronics is not an easy job. While cleaning sensors, care is of utmost importance. You have to go gentle while cleaning the sensors and other electronics.
In most cases, you should gently wipe them with a damp microfiber cloth. Damp cotton swabs are also useful.
But in our case, there is a hollow space inside the sensor which needs to be cleaned. So, trying a volatile/light fluid spray will be good in this case. There should not be a greater pressure as it can damage the circuitry.
Try to go gentle with the sensor as much as you can, and also, while affixing it back with the throttle body, take great care to not damage it.
Throttle position sensors are very important, as I mentioned above. Their functioning is of prime importance in the working of an engine.
Therefore, you can not ignore them if they start malfunctioning. Cleaning is the first stage of taking care. So, the cleaning should be done regularly to avoid any problem.
I have tried to cover all the important aspects, along with mentioning a comprehensive cleaning procedure. Now the next part is yours to play.
If you saw any indications that are not normal, then without further delays, head towards the cleaning of your throttle position sensor.