What Happens If You Disconnect The Throttle Position Sensor?

Maybe you have wondered if a car could still function if they disconnect the throttle position sensor (TPS). Along with the O2 sensors, the throttle position sensor is one of the important car sensors which plays a big role in delivering the optimum air-to-fuel ratio for your car. Continue reading this article to find out what happens if you unplug the throttle position sensor.

TPS delivers a signal to the engine control unit  (ECU) after determining how much air is moving into the engine. The ECU then modifies the fuel mixture and ignition timing using this information. When you disconnect the throttle position sensor, the engine won’t be able to correctly regulate the air-to-fuel mixture and might run low or rich.

1. Is a throttle position sensor necessary?

Yes, without a throttle position sensor, the engine control module would not be able to accurately time the ignition or monitor the quantity of fuel required. As mentioned earlier, the primary role of TPS is to ensure that the proper ratio of fuel and air is used to get the optimal results. Consequently, it might cause the engine to surge or stall and be exceedingly dangerous while driving.

Take a look at this article from Counterman to learn more about the role of TPS in the electronic throttle bodies and control system works:

2. Can you disconnect the throttle position sensor?

No, if you disconnect the throttle position sensor (TPS), it will hurt your car over the long term and is dangerous. The airflow temperature, the engine’s speed, and other factors will be directly impacted by this unplugging, leading to engine damage, poor fuel economy, a rough idle, and power loss.

However, many forum posts claim that their car runs better with the TPS disconnected. While this might be caused by an underlying issue, we still don’t recommend disconnecting your TPS unless advised or checked by a certified mechanic. Remember that modifying or tampering with components that affect the stock performance of the ECU might be considered illegal.

Read more: Top 5 Illegal Car Mods in California

3. Will a car run better if the TPS is disconnected?

No, because without it, the ECU cannot recognize when the throttle is opened, or the accelerator is pressed. Your car may chastise you if it continues to run after you detach the battery. Also, starting it could be challenging because, while it is idle, it can seem normal—that is, until you press the accelerator. 

Additionally, the engine can stop or sputter, and the cylinder won’t know what to do when you open the throttle and let all that air into it. Some cars may notice the higher airflow when the check engine light is on and the throttle position sensor diagnostic trouble code is present. At the same time, some won’t even let you push the gas pedal without the throttle position sensor being installed.

4. Symptoms of a bad throttle position sensor

You can easily tell whether your car’s throttle position sensor is malfunctioning due to poor performance. Your car could start to tremble under certain conditions, and as this occurs, pressure will be applied to the motor, which might result in the motor shutting down. Furthermore, the transmission mount can be impacted. 

In addition, keep an eye out for the following typical signs of a damaged or failed throttle position sensor:

1. When accelerating, the car either lacks power or accelerates itself. 

2. The engine stalls or idles too slowly or unevenly. 

3. The car picks up speed but won’t go beyond a reasonably low speed or shift up. 

4. When the aforementioned actions occur, the check engine light illuminates.

5. How to replace the throttle position sensor?

If you are knowledgeable about cars, replacing a throttle position sensor is not too difficult, and a beginner can also accomplish it by following the steps below. It will require gloves and safety goggles, and the car must be parked on a level surface.

1. The battery must be unplugged first. 

2. Locate the sensor and unplug the wire. 

3. Remove any connections or clamps with care.

4. Take out the mounting screws. 

5. Once the old TPS has been removed, properly dispose of it. 

6. Working in the reverse order from above, screw in the replacement throttle position sensor.  

7. Reconnect the wire harness, ensuring the connections and clips are positioned correctly. 

8. The battery cable should then be connected. 

A technician’s cost of having the throttle position sensor fixed might range from $100 to $300. The TPS repair components are not pricey, and most of your costs will be covered by labor rates.

Here’s a video to help you out:

Video from CarsNToys

6. Is replacing the TPS worth it?

If you have a modern, low-mileage car, it might be wise to replace the TPS. If your old car has many miles or has already sustained significant damage, you might choose to sell it as is. Putting money into old damaged cars might not be a good idea. 


Although it is possible to drive with a throttle position sensor (TPS) disconnected, it is not recommended. Repairing a throttle sensor that is malfunctioning as soon as possible is necessary. 

While it may seem possible to just unplug the sensor if you can still run the car, you may end up causing yourself more problems in the long run. We hope this article answers your question, “What Happens If You Disconnect the Throttle Position Sensor?” If you like this one, maybe you will like and are curious about ” How Long Can You Drive a Car With a Bad Speed Sensor?

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