How to Adjust Gas Pedal Sensitivity – Fixing a Stiff or Loose Pedal

Updated: | Author: Tyler Hilgeman | Affiliate links may be present.

Is your gas pedal too sensitive or too lax? Driving safely requires you to be comfortable with your car. So, if your gas pedal sensitivity is not to your liking, there are ways to fix it.

In order to fix your gas pedal sensitivity, it is important to understand how your throttle works. While some cars may require a professional mechanic to adjust the pedal’s sensitivity, there are also some DIY ways to adjust the sensitivity in your gas pedal. Throttle controllers and adjusting the tension in your throttle cable are two such ways.

Understanding Your Car

Most modern cars use an electrical system called drive-by-wire; however, older cars tend to have a mechanical system called drive-by-cable.

If you are unsure which system your car uses, you can examine how your gas pedal works. If your car uses a drive-by-wire system, you can check to see if your gas pedal plugs into a series of electrical wires. However, if your car uses a cable-by-wire system, there should be a cable that runs from your gas pedal to your throttle.

Drive-by-Wire

Drive-by-wire technology has been around for a long time, there are records of BMW implementing the technology all the way back in the late 1980s. Drive-by-wire systems use electronic wires to send messages to a computer. Because of this, adjusting gas pedal sensitivity in most cars requires a licensed mechanic to “re-code” the throttle.

However, there is a possible DIY solution to this problem. This solution involves installing a throttle controller.

Throttle Controllers

Most modern cars allow for a throttle controller to be installed. Throttle controllers boost the acceleration of the car. So, if your gas pedal lacks sensitivity, then a throttle controller may be the best way to go.

Throttle controllers can cost anywhere from $50-$300. The good news is that throttle controllers are fast and simple to install. You will need to:

  1. Locate the gas pedal’s sensor plug
  2. Unhook the sensor plug
  3. Plug in the throttle controller adapter in the place of the sensor plug
  4. Lastly, connect the sensor plug to the adapter

That’s it!

If it sounds complicated to you, it goes without saying that you can always take the help of a qualified mechanic for the installation process.

Sensitive Gas Pedal

If your gas pedal is already too sensitive, then you will have to bring it to a mechanic. This is because a throttle controller will only increase the sensitivity and not decrease it.

While there is no official data on the average cost of having your gas pedal sensitivity tuned, it will probably cost anywhere from $90-$400 to have it fixed.

It’s possible that your local mechanic has the computerized tools to get the job done; however, every tuning is different based on the make and model of your car. So, it would be best to go to an official dealer of your car or to find a technician that specializes in “computer work”.

Drive-by-Cable

Dive-by-cable systems are typically found in older cars. If you are the owner of a drive-by-cable car and want to adjust your gas pedal sensitivity, you are in luck. Drive-by-cable systems do not use any electronic wires. Instead, they use an actual cable that is attached to the gas pedal and the engine throttle plate.

This means that adjusting the gas pedal sensitivity is as simple as adjusting the tension in the cable. Here is what you will need to do:

  1. Open the hood of your car
  2. Find the engine throttle plate and locate the throttle cable
  3. Along the cable, you will see two hex nuts that lock the cable’s tension in place
  4. Loosen the right nut
  5. Tighten the left nut to increase the tension or loosen it to decrease the tension

That’s it!

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve finished adjusting your gas pedal sensitivity, make sure to test it out before driving on any major roads. Familiarity with your car is one of the keys to safety. Also, if you are uncomfortable with adjusting your gas pedal sensitivity yourself, then your nearest technician or dealer can get the job done.

About Tyler Hilgeman

Tyler is an automotive and DIY research writer. He revels in saved money from DIY jobs and screeches at “cheap” estimates from auto body and mechanic shops. Part of his life’s work is to create a better world where automobiles are more understood and appreciated for who they are (R.I.P. My Beloved Toyota Camry — “Betsy” 1998-2021).

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