Stepping down on a gas pedal sets a complex set of mechanisms in motion that affects how much oxygen and fuel enter an engine’s intake manifold to get the car moving. Because of its crucial function, it can be quite frustrating if a gas pedal begins to malfunction.
When a gas pedal becomes sticky, it may return to position slowly, be stiff when pushed, or outright get stuck. Sticky gas pedals can give drivers quite a fright because this malfunction can be very dangerous—especially if the pedal gets stuck as the car is accelerating! When this problem happens, it’s crucial to get it fixed immediately.
To find out how to address a sticky gas pedal as a car mechanic, keep reading!
A Dirty Butterfly Valve in the Throttle Body Is the Frequent Culprit Behind a Sticky Gas Pedal
One of the main reasons a gas pedal might get sticky is because of carbon buildup messing with the proper functioning of the butterfly valve in the throttle body. But let’s back up a bit. What is the throttle body and what is the butterfly valve?
The throttle body is a component attached to an engine’s intake manifold. It houses the butterfly valve. This nifty valve regulates how much air goes into an engine to help power it. Depending on how much a driver depresses the gas pedal, the valve will open or flutter proportionately, responding to the intensity of the gas pedal’s command. If there is too much carbon buildup in this valve, something that can happen over time, it may get stuck or have trouble moving, which can lead to a sticky gas pedal.
So how can you fix a sticky gas pedal after your automotive service technician training? A removal of the throttle body and a proper cleaning of it as well as around the valve should do the trick. When you get at the butterfly valve, you will probably see a lot of gunk, which could be the culprit behind the sticky gas pedal. To remove the muck, spray some throttle body cleaner on and around the butterfly valve and use a cloth or soft-bristled brush to rub it away. Once the inside of the throttle body and the valve are shiny and glistening, the pedal should be good as new!
Use Your Automotive Service Technician Training to Check for Any Number of Other Possible Causes
Although having carbon buildup around the butterfly valve is a very common cause behind sticking gas pedals, it’s important to keep in mind that cars are intricate machines and that there could be a number of other perpetrators behind the problem. After automotive service technician school, you will know that when a client brings in a car with a sticky gas pedal, you should also check on the state of the throttle cable and the gas pedal assembly.
There could also be a component other than the butterfly valve malfunctioning in the throttle body. If one of these components—such as a particular sensor or spring—is completely fried, then the whole throttle body may need to be replaced. For these reasons, it’s always good to do a thorough checkup to be completely sure of the cause behind the problem.
Regular Checkups Are Important: It’s Better to Be Safe Than Sorry
Fixing up a sticky gas pedal is all very well, but having the problem develop in the first place is very dangerous. Sudden uncontrollable acceleration that may not respond well to braking efforts can lead to dangerous accidents.
Because it’s better to be safe than sorry, you should advise your clients to bring in their vehicles for regular checkups to ensure that any potential problems are caught early. It’s also important to let your clients know that if they experience their accelerator pedal sticking at any time, no matter if it’s just a little bit, they should immediately stop driving the vehicle and bring it into the shop. In this way, they can stay safe on the road and avoid worrying about any problems with their car’s gas pedal.
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