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ELECTRONIC THROTTLE CONTROL – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

The electronic throttle controller is the way of controlling the throttle without any mechanical link. In older cars, there used to be a wire connected from race pedal to carburetor. This means of accelerating was popular but it was prone to breakdowns. Later it was replaced by a new technology known as Electronic Throttle control.

There isn’t a mechanical linkage between the accelerator pedal and the throttle. This technology is also known as drive-by-wire or ride by wire in motorbikes.

 

WHAT IS THE ELECTRONIC THROTTLE CONTROL?

 

Electronic Throttle Control is also known as drive by wire is the technology used in most of the cars these days. Unlike in older days where accelerator pedal was connected to throttle through a wire, in the electronic throttle control there isn’t any mechanical link between the two.

There is an accelerator pedal, throttle, and a control module that performs the whole deceleration and acceleration operation. This technology was introduced by BMW.

ETC helps with a smoother ride and more precise acceleration control. You also feel less vibration on the accelerator pedal. This technology is also used in bikes.

 

HOW DOES ELECTRONIC THROTTLE CONTROL WORK?

Since there isn’t any link between the accelerator pedal and the throttle, you must be thinking how does this work? This is quite simple – when you push the accelerator pedal, sensors in the pedal send a signal to the throttle to determine the position.

If you push the pedal, the sensor will determine how far it is from the original/idle position. This information is later sent to the engine management system.

The engine management system will analyze the information and will send it to the motor to adjust the throttle position. Motor is responsible for opening and closing the throttle. If the driver is pressing the pedal, TPS will adjust the throttle accordingly.

All the components are working together to ensure the correct amount of fuel (Petrol) and air is going into the engine.

 

PROS AND CONS OF ELECTRONIC THROTTLE CONTROL

 

PROS

  • Since there is no linkage between the accelerator pedal and throttle, the information can be transmitted with ease with the help of the on-board computer system.
  • It reduces engine wear and maintenance.
  • Simpler integration with other systems. If a manufacturer wants to put cruise control, automatic parking or maybe self-driving, it is much easier to integrate with the ETC than traditional mechanical linkage.
  • ETC is more reliable and long-lasting.
  • When compared to the traditional mechanical throttle control, ETC is more reliable and less likely to fail.
  • Better fuel economy and more focused driving.
  • Also helpful in reducing the weight. Since there are fewer parts, that makes the whole system much lighter.

 

CONS

  • Since everything is electric and controlled by sensors. The electronic throttle control system is vulnerable and can be compromised. 
  • Malfunction can cause a big problem. If a sensor fails or the system fails, there is no way to mend it to keep your car going. You have to get the ETC system repaired/replaced.

CAUSE OF ELECTRONIC THROTTLE CONTROL FAILURE

As we already know, In Petrol cars air and fuel mixture goes into the engine to keep it running smoothly. If there is any disruption the system would cause the problem in the throttle body.  You can learn more about the oxygen sensor here.

 

This mismatched and unbalanced air and fuel mixture can interfere with the electronic throttle control system. So here are some causes of ETC failure in a vehicle.

 

Dirt, Debris or Wear and Tear

This is a no brainer, if there is dirt or debris, it causes the disruption in the airflow/fuel flow to the engine. Older cars also face the same problems.

 

Problem in Electronics

If there is a problem with the car’s electronics it can cause the engine management system to send the wrong readings which will disrupt the proper function of the electronic throttle controller.

These types of things happen when the throttle body is having an issue with the sensor readings from the accelerator pedal.

Vacuum leak can also be the cause of ETC failure. This results in high engine idle due to too much air from the throttle control. This failure can trigger the check engine light.

 

SYMPTOMS OF A FAULTY ETC

There are many indicators that point to a faulty electronic throttle control system.

 

PROBLEM IN ACCELERATION

This is one of the early signs of faulty ETC. You will have a problem accelerating the vehicle. The sensors are not giving the actual data to the on-board computer.

 

BAD FUEL ECONOMY

Fuel is consumed in more quantity when the throttle controller is damaged. This problem occurs when there is a miscommunication between the throttle controller sensor and ECU ( Mass Airflow Sensor).

When any of the warning signs occur, OBD-II Code is triggered and stored in the ECM. This also turns the check engine light on. You can use any OBD-II Scanner to scan and read the code stored in the ECM.

 

So here you have it. Everything you need to know about the electronic throttle control system. Did we miss anything? Do let us know in the comment section below.

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