What is the Throttle Kicker Actuator all about?
When you press the throttle, a cable attached to the throttle body, or carburetor, allows extra air and fuel to enter the engine. If you release the pedal suddenly, your engine speed doesn’t immediately drop to idle; instead, it slows in a controlled manner. Conversely, when your engine’s accessories such as air conditioning come on, the engine speed increases slightly. These operations function via the throttle kicker actuator, or solenoid. The throttle kicker prevents the engine’s RPMs from fluctuating too highly and keeps the throttle slightly engaged when accessories draw more power. It is controlled by both electronic means and vacuum. If the throttle kicker actuator isn’t functioning properly, your engine can stall when the throttle is released quickly, the transmission may have difficulty shifting, and the ‘fast idle’ feature may not work on startup.
Keep in mind:
- Throttle kicker problems are usually intermittent and can occur without warning.
- If the throttle kicker actuator stops functioning properly, you may also have issues with your car’s anti-slip features, traction control, and other electronic measures that are meant to work with the throttle to provide greater amounts of stability.
How it's done:
- The vehicle battery is disconnected and the air cleaner is removed for access
- The defective throttle kicker is removed
- The new throttle kicker is installed and the battery is connected
- The engine is started and the throttle kicker is adjusted to specifications
- The air cleaner is reinstalled, repair is verified and the vehicle is road tested for proper operation
The throttle kicker actuator fails very seldom and in most cases will last the lifetime of your vehicle. Other problems, such as an idle air control motor or another sensor-related issue, are more likely the cause of your symptoms.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Throttle Kicker Actuator?
- Engine performance is diminished without apparent cause.
- Engine stalls regularly.
- Difficulty starting your engine.
- Transmission is difficult to shift.
How important is this service?
If the throttle kicker actuator is not functioning properly, your engine can stall on deceleration or when idle, which can put you in harm’s way, especially in traffic conditions. The throttle kicker actuator should be replaced as soon as it has been professionally diagnosed as faulty.