Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Throttle Return Spring

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Whether you drive a Kia or a 10,000 horse power Top Fuel Dragster, having a fully functional throttle return spring can save your life. On top of the throttle body of a fuel injected motor or carburetor is a butterfly valve, which opens when the accelerator pedal is pushed and the cable pulls it open. By opening this valve, you are allowing more air to pass into your engine. The butterfly valve then closes when you take your foot off the pedal. Involved in this process of closing the valve is the throttle return spring as it actually closes the valve. When it works properly, it helps to slow the vehicle down. When it's broken or wearing out, the throttle may stick wide open, causing a potentially dangerous situation.

The throttle return spring is attached to the throttle cable or it can be attached to the throttle body or carburetor. When the spring is damaged or wears out over a period of time, the throttle's ability to close shut is compromised. Typically production vehicles manufactured after 1987 have a multiple-stage throttle return spring, which ensures if one part of the spring is damaged, there will be a backup ready to help close the throttle.

Most of today's cars don't have issues with the throttle return springs, however, it is mechanical and can wear out over a period of time or due to added exposure to heat, oil, debris or other factors. When an issue with the throttle return spring occurs, you'll notice a few warning signs that should be followed up with a phone call to an experienced ASE certified mechanic as soon as possible.

Listed below are a few of the warning signs that a problem with a throttle return spring exists.

1. Engine RPM remains high after lifting off accelerator

As indicated above, the job of the throttle return springs is to "return" the throttle to a closed position. When the spring is damaged, the throttle body will remain open until either the pedal is manually drawn back by a driver's foot or gravity takes over and helps to close the throttle. However, when an engine is running, it creates a vacuum which wants to draw air into the intake, making it very difficult for the throttle blades to close on their own. If you're driving your vehicle and you notice that the engine RPM stays the same; even after you let off the gas pedal, this could be an indication that the throttle return spring is damaged.

If this happens while you are driving the first thing you don't want to do is panic. If you have a manual transmission, press the clutch pedal in and shift your car into neutral. This will allow you to come to a safe stop. If you have an automatic transmission, you can also shift into neutral gear and slowly apply pressure to the brake pedal. Once you come to a stop, try to turn the engine off. As soon as you stop, call a towing company and have your car brought home; as you don't want to drive the vehicle again until it is fully inspected by a professional mechanic.

2. Gas pedal feels spongy

Besides returning the throttle to the closed position, the throttle return spring also provides some strength to the throttle pedal. Most of today's modern cars are electronically controlled, so the pedal is very easy to activate and close. On older vehicles with the mechanical throttle linkage, the throttle return spring keeps the pedal solid and very easy to control. If the throttle pedal is spongy when you depress it, it could be caused by a broken throttle return spring or one that is wearing out.

3. Gas pedal doesn't return to normal position

Finally, if you release your foot from the accelerator and the pedal doesn’t return to the normal position, this is often a signal that the throttle return spring is damaged and needs to be replaced. A local ASE certified mechanic will know how to replace the throttle return spring on any vehicle as this is one of the first things taught in automotive class due to the serious nature of a mechanical failure with this device.

Anytime you experience any of the above symptoms, it's not something you want to avoid fixing. A throttle return spring is a very inexpensive part, and the cost to replace this unit is very affordable when you consider the price hikes associated to a vehicle accident. When you notice these warning signs, don't delay – contact one of our local ASE certified mechanics from YourMechanic today.


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Recent Throttle Return Spring Replacement reviews

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YourMechanic Throttle Return Spring Replacement Service

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Number of Reviews

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116,442
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Steve

35 years of experience
149 reviews
Steve
35 years of experience
Volkswagen Golf - Brake System Flush - San Leandro, California
Steve arrived at my drive-way on time and he is very nice and friendly. He explained to me how he would do the brake fluid flush on my VW Golf. He bled out all the old brake fluid and air from each of the brake lines on each wheel one by one as he said he would and filled the main reservoir with fresh O'Reilly DOT 3 brake fluid from a new bottle. Steve did the job quickly and checked my car here and there for routine visual inspection and let me know everything was fine. However, the next day I was checking the level of the brake fluid to see if it is still at the right level for curiosity, just to make sure there is no leak or anything and I realized that the main brake fluid reservoir specifically stated " must use DOT 4 brake fluid". Went online and check to see if there is any adversary effect on my brake system in my VW if DOT 3 is used. Most said yes and some said no. The main difference between DOT 3 and DOT 4 is the boiling point. DOT 3 has a lower dry and wet boiling points than DOT 4 and it is cheaper, meaning lower quality in general. I am happy with Steve's service, but not happy with the part he put in my car. I wanted to maintain the good health of the ABS braking system by doing a brake fluid flush, but now it is more like the opposite since I paid someone to put the wrong brake fluid in the system now.
Subaru Legacy - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Pleasanton, California
Today I had Steve sent out to me to work on my car. He text me the day before to make sure I had clearance to work within my apartment complex and confirmed the appointment for the next day. The day of service Steve was able to contact me with an ETA and was on time. Upon arrival we briefly discussed the issue and quickly began work. Steve was very knowledgeable and was able to overcome any obstacles he came across to get the job done right and on time. 5 star quality !!

Isai

25 years of experience
230 reviews
Isai
25 years of experience
Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Throttle Return Spring - San Antonio, Texas
Isai was able to arrive a little earlier than scheduled which was great. My car is an older car and it uses a carburetor not fuel injection. Finding a mechanic that knows how to work on a car with a carburetor can be a real challenge. I found Isai to be very knowledgeable and through. He answered all my many questions. He is very friendly. I certainly would use him in the future.

Richard

18 years of experience
126 reviews
Richard
18 years of experience
Dodge Challenger - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Fort Worth, Texas
Richard was able to arrive early and had the repair completed in about 30 minutes. He is very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience with vehicle repairs and diagnostics. He is very professional and friendly. I highly recommend Richard as Your Mechanic.

Michael

20 years of experience
77 reviews
Michael
20 years of experience
Kia Sedona - Starter - New Port Richey, Florida
Michael came ahead of scheduled time and finished quickly. He installed the starter and cleaned up everything when he was finished. Would definitely recommend him to friends.

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