Symptoms of a Bad or Failing 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.


Next Step

Schedule Vehicle Engine Electrical Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Vehicle Engine Electrical Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Vehicle Engine Electrical Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(5)

Rating Summary
5
0
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
0

Kenneth

19 years of experience
624 reviews
Kenneth
19 years of experience
Ford Taurus - Vehicle Engine Electrical - Los Angeles, California
Kenneth performed excellent, conscientious service.
Nissan Rogue - Control Arm Assembly Replacement (Front Lower Left) - Long Beach, California
Kenneth is great, right on time for our appointment. I will recommend Kenneth to my friends and not to go dealership not only their expensive, they will try to charge you something you don't need.

Chris

21 years of experience
1934 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Dodge Ram 2500 - Vehicle Engine Electrical - Perris, California
Chris arrived early and had our problem solved in a short time. Great service!!
Pontiac G6 - Exhaust Gas Recirculation/EGR Valve - Aliso Viejo, California
Fist time using your Mechanic. Chris is an excellent mechanic who goes above and beyond to get the job done! Very pleased with the work he did to replace my EGR Valve!

Ronnie

29 years of experience
45 reviews
Ronnie
29 years of experience
Dodge Charger - Vehicle Engine Electrical Inspection - Nashville, Tennessee
He did a great job with my car and fixed some issues I couldn't figure out for awhile now!

Michael

37 years of experience
120 reviews
Michael
37 years of experience
Ford E-350 Super Duty - Vehicle Engine Electrical - Placentia, California
Very knowledgeable on time great Tech.

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

Related articles

How Long Does a Throttle Control Cable Last?
As As you drive through the streets and encounter different speed limits, you rely on the accelerator to speed up when needed. This is done through the use of the throttle control cable, which is also called the accelerator cable....
How Cruise Control Works
The The flashing red and blue lights are behind you. All the traffic passing by you slows slightly and stares just a bit longer than usual. The officer walks up to your window, tears the page from his pad and...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Cruise Control Vacuum Bleed Switch
Common signs include cruise control disengaging on its own or not disengaging when the pedal is pressed, and a hissing noise coming from the dash.

Related questions

Cruise control turned on, sudden acceleration, high revving

Hey there. This could be from a defective cruise control switch shorted or a problem with the throttle control actuator. The vehicle should be towed to the dealer and left there until they verify and repair the problem. The dealer...

Malfunction indictor lamp comes on and car won't move

A few different things have the potential to cause the transmission faults you have described. The most common would be a transmission position sensor/range switch, neutral safety switch, shift solenoid, low fluid level, or the transmission itself. I'd recommend getting...

No crank no start no shift. AC blower and cruise control not working. All dash lights on. Can jump 12v to crank fuse and start

Hi there. I think you are on the right track. If you have good fuses both under the hood, and at the internal fuse panel, but don't have 12 volt "supply" voltage to the fuses, there is quite likely a...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com