How to Clean a Throttle Position Sensor

This article discusses some easy and simple ways to learn how to clean a throttle position sensor in your car. Being a very important part of the car's engine, it is vital that you learn to do this job correctly. The same would be taught to you in the content that follows, so read on...
WheelZine Staff
Last Updated: May 19, 2018
The basics - we all know. Also known as TPS, the throttle position sensor is a device that monitors the throttle position system in an internal combustion engine of a car. Since the location of the TPS is right inside the throttle body, this device tends to get soiled quite often, and hence requires a good maintenance and cleaning operation. Well, cleaning is not just this reason that waves a red flag, but there are some other obvious symptoms and problems as well due to which a cleaning process needs to be undertaken. Problems like stalling, poor engine performance, rough idling, etc, are the issues that come with the installation of this device too. However, maintaining all these engine problems, and above that, going for a self-procedure of learning how to clean a sensor, becomes a must.
To go about cleaning, you as an owner of the car, need to go and fetch a throttle body cleaner from a local hardware store and follow a simple procedure before the actual cleaning of the throttle begins. You will have to start the car and allow it to attain a certain operating temperature. Once your car attains that temperature, all the rigid dirt and grease would drop off from the device, making it easier for you to clean even more thoroughly.
How to Clean a TPS in a Car
To go about doing this job, make sure you park your car on a ground level appropriately the gear selector in the park mode and emergency brakes on. And secondly ensure you are wearing the suitable accessories and clothing, like eye wear and gloves to protect yourself from possible injuries.
  • Screwdriver set
  • Wrench set
  • Shop towel
  • Cleaning solvent (carburetor cleaner)
  • Replacement TPS
  • Socket set
Step #1
The first obvious step in cleaning the TPS is to detach the secondary and primary hood fasteners and lift the hood up. Make sure it has got a stand or rod for support.
Step #2
Next, remove the covers and shrouds present on the surface to gain access to the sensor. Refer to your car repair manual, if you can't find any.
Step #3
In this step, you will have to disconnect all the electrical connectors from the TPS system. Also remove the mounting bolts that holds the sensor, and finally detach the sensor from its location.
Step #4
Once the device (sensor) is detached, you can start off with the cleaning procedure instantly. Use the cleaning solvent, something like a carburetor fluid and a clean piece of cloth, to remove the grime and dirt around the area of the TPS unit. Also ensure that the solvent that is used to clean, dries out completely. The TPS sensor should not be cleaned with the cleaning solvent as there is a huge possibility that the electrical wiring getting damaged in the circuit.
Step #5
Now that you are sure all the surfaces are cleaned thoroughly, it's time to put the sensor back, or if needed, go in for a throttle position sensor replacement! This job is really simple to go about. Just get a replacement sensor in place for the old one and gently place it into the sensor location, so that you can mount the bolts back the same way.
Note: Some vehicles need an adjustment of the sensor for which you will need to utilize instruments like a scan tool, and will also have to set the minimum voltage as per the manufacturer's suggested specs.
It's learned that after a vehicle reaches a specific mileage, say around 75,000, the entire fuel system of the car needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Well, this article in its simplest form has showed you the lucid steps to clean a throttle position sensor in a car! All the best and work safe!