Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Accelerator Cable

Accelerator cable

While most newer cars use drive-by-wire electronic throttle control, physical accelerator cables are still commonly found on many vehicles out on the road. An accelerator cable, sometimes called throttle cable, is a metal braided cable that serves as a mechanical link between the gas pedal and the engine’s throttle plate. When the gas pedal is pressed, the cable is pulled and opens the throttle. As the throttle is what controls the power of the vehicle, any problems with the cable can quickly translate into problems with the drivability of the vehicle so it should be inspected as soon as possible.

The most common way that accelerator cables fail is that they break. Over time, they can simply weaken with age and use, until they eventually snap. It is also not uncommon for them to come out of adjustment, to the point where a noticeable effect is produced. If the cable breaks, or comes out of adjustment far enough, it can affect the drivability of the vehicle to the point where the car will not be drivable until the problem is addressed. Usually, there will be a few symptoms displayed when the accelerator cable is having a problem.

1. Damage to the outer covering

The accelerator cable on most vehicles is covered by an outer rubber sheath that protects the braided metal cable inside. Sometimes the cable can come into contact with sharp edges or moving engine components that can wear into the sides of the covering. If you notice any damage or wear on the covering, then there is the possibility that the metal cable inside has received damage. Because the cable is under constant stress any damage to the cable can leave it more susceptible to breaking.

2. Delayed accelerator response time

When the gas pedal is depressed the engine should respond immediately and the vehicle should begin to accelerate. If when you press the pedal, there is a delayed response, or a significant amount of motion before the vehicle responds, then that may be a sign of a problem. Sometimes a cable can become stretched over time, which will not only delay the response of the throttle, but can also leave the cable more susceptible to breaking. Delayed response may also be indicative of the need to have the cable slack adjusted.

3. Problems with cruise control

Because most cable operated throttles also use a cable for the cruise control, if you notice any problems when using the cruise control, that may be a potential sign of a problem with the accelerator cable. If you notice any sudden changes in tension from the pedal, such as jerking or binding when you activate the cruise control, then that may be sign that there may be a problem with the accelerator cable. As both cables are connected to the same throttle body, any problems with the operation of one can affect the other.

Because the accelerator cable is basically what allows the engine to accelerate, any problems with it can greatly affect the performance of the vehicle. If you suspect that you may have a problem with your throttle cable, have it inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to replace your accelerator cable as necessary.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Accelerator cable came off

It sounds like the throttle cable has broke and needs to be replaced. I would have a certified technician come out and see if they can get it back on or, if it is in fact broken, have the throttle...

Q: After jump-starting, warning lights came on

If you are having random electrical problems that don't seem to be related to the car not starting, it is likely that you have an alternator failure with your Mercedes E500. When an alternator fails, it can cause all sorts...

Q: Speedometer is stuck, and not sure if cruise control works.

The speedometer reading zero all the time could be one of two different problems. The first could be the speed sensor in the transmission has no output in the system. The other is a defective instrument cluster gauge. A technician,...