Electronic Throttle Control - Crash Course 101

Driving at night - throttle control

Electronic Throttle Control

"He put his foot to the floor and crashed through the sound barrier."

This is a common way that you would describe acceleration, but now thanks to electronic throttle control, we have something even more exciting.

Why does this matter? Simple!

We can now ...

... control gas pedal lag or response electronically using an upgrade. 

Learn about Electronic Throttle Control that is in your GM, Chevy, Ford , Chrysler, BMW, Toyota, and more.

In this blog post we'll discuss what the electric throttle control is, basic troubleshooting for the ETC and how to get rid of that pesky engine lag time between pressing the accelerator pedal and change in speed. If you're not satisfied with the throttle response in your vehicle accelerator pedal, have no fear! 

Want to up upgrade your Electronic Throttle Controlto fix acceleration lag? Yes you can!

You might also be interesting in reading our article and employee reviews on if throttle controllers work or not. Click to read if throttle controllers work

Electronic Throttle Control Topics Covered:

  •  What is Electronic Throttle Control?
  • What does throttle control mean?
  • How do electronic accelerator pedals work?
  • What does an electronic throttle control do?
  • What does it mean when the electronic throttle control light comes on?
  • How do I fix my electronic throttle control?
  • Upgrade your Throttle Response and fix your acceleration lag.


electronic computer board for throttle controller

Electronic Throttle Control. What is it exactly?

What is a accelerator pedal throttle response?

A throttle is a simple device that regulates the amount of air going into an engine. More throttle means more air, and (assuming everything else is constant) faster acceleration.

The main problem with gas pedal throttles is when someone tries to accelerate quickly, or they want some degree of control over how fast their car accelerates - but this is no longer just a mechanical link.

Instead, the throttle position is controlled by an electronic system that measures how fast the driver wants to accelerate and then adjusts engine output accordingly.

This article will explore what it means for a car to have an "electronic throttle control" and upgrade options.

What does throttle control mean?

The most basic way of thinking about this concept is in terms of acceleration.

Fun fact - In old-fashioned cars, the driver would have to use their feet and hands on spoked knobs to regulate how much petrol or diesel they wanted the engine to burn in order for it to produce enough torque so that the car could move forward.

Old Car

This was all mechanic parts that needed to be adjusted, but now a days we must now consider the full electronic loop feedback systems.

It would be incorrect to say that throttle control is about how quickly a vehicle speeds up as it travels down a straightaway or from a stop sign, but rather throttle response refers to how soon the engine responds when you press on the gas pedal.

Automotive manufacturers design their response systems to account for a wide range of circumstances, including the comfort of all road users. Manufacturers must consider the needs and reaction speeds of drivers in different situations when designing their accelerator pedal, throttle controllers, computer chips - everything that goes towards sensing what the car’s engine should do under certain contexts.

<click to learn what a throttle controller does for more detail >

How do electronic accelerator pedals work?

The electronic throttle control system works by measuring how much torque your engine produces and using it to regulate how much power goes into your wheels.

This allows for better acceleration because it's able to compensate for any potential loss in power due to drag caused by increased air resistance from higher speeds or weight change during acceleration. You can think of electronic throttle control like a cruise control for cars - except instead of just maintaining speed, it also regulates acceleration!

It's pretty cool stuff; we can now control acceleration without having to touch the gas pedal at all. But what about adding a mod and upgrading? Yes, plenty of companies now offer this as a solution. 

 illustration of shiftpower throttle controller upgrade

Here you can see the setup for modern electrical throttle controllers and the option to add on an upgrade. In the illustration above, you can see how simple it is to upgrade your throttle response with an additional module that connects to a mode button or smart phone via ios & android app.


Car driving fastWhat does an electronic throttle control system do?

The benefit of electronic throttle control is an electronic device that regulates the flow of fuel into your car's combustion chamber in response to how hard you push on the pedal (i.e., throttle).

The electronic control is built with a module called the "electronic throttle control" or ETC system. This uses an input from a throttle position sensor and the engine’s current rpm.


How does the electronic throttle control system work?

Its essentially a loop feedback systems managed by wire and electronics. An electronic control unit is an electronic device that regulates the flow of fuel into your car's combustion chamber in response to how hard you push on the gas pedal.

The electronics in the ETC module make calculations about what to do next, based on inputs from sensors like the oxygen sensors or other devices monitoring driver information.

  • There is a servo and a throttle position sensor that is included in the throttle control system. The servo is an electric motor that controls the throttle opening, and a throttle position sensor monitors how wide open it is – so if you let go of the pedal, the throttle will close on its own thanks to this system.
  • Gas from a tank enters through a small passage controlled by the throttle valve before being using by your car's engine.
  • ECUs regulate how much gas enters by giving more fuel with a push of the accelerator and less when you're coasting or braking. The ECU stands for engine control unit.
  • The engine control module or ECU controls the throttle, maintaining a constant pressure in your fuel tank and regulating the flow of gas to maintain an even idle speed and proper acceleration. You can actually see this on older cars with carburetors where you'll find it under the dashboard near one of your feet.

An electronic throttle control system can save gas and time.

The reason for this is that it reduces engine drag during deceleration which allows you to coast more efficiently. There are some drawbacks such as driving in hilly terrain or having reduced steering response. Having control over this will help with better engine control. Benefits of the electronic throttle is that now we can upgrade using throttle control. This means we can now optimize the throttle to work better in a variety of conditions.

Throttle Positions - the electronic throttle control system makes it possible for us, as drivers, to adjust how wide open our throttles are based on different driving styles and conditions. For example, if you want your engine RPMs high when passing another car it is now possible to accelerate with greater control on the engine to pedal response.

This is where we can do cool things like create modules that plug into the throttle body of the electronic throttle control system. We can then control the sensitivity of the signals in the pedal with code on our ios or android phones.

This helps us to control the accelerator pedal response in the electronic controls. Increased accelerator pedal in your vehicle makes for a fun and sportier ride.


instrument cluster dash

What does it mean when the electronic throttle control check engine light comes on?

  • The electronic control is now a crucial component of all modern vehicles. Common problems found with the electronic throttle include stalling, engine problems, and other malfunctions.
  • The electronic control light comes on when there is a malfunction with the system. Often its bett
  • er to hook up to read the code provided by the system.
  • The cause of this can depend on the code that is created by your electronic control data device. This could come from the linkage at the pedal, the electronics or air flow.

How do I fix my electronic throttle control?

If you ever feel a big lag with no light then it could mean that you are simply ready for an upgrade like a Throttle Response Controller by ShiftPower.

These are a few recommendations for things to test if you think your throttle control is misbehaving. The two best things to check include the throttle body and the wiring that connects it to your engine.

If you suspect a problem with your electronic control, have an expert inspect it right away for safety's sake. Its possible that you can replace these on your own as DIY but it's possible any work is under warranty. Faulty electronic throttle control unit can signal if any issues and should be considered.

Error in throttle controls system:

The two most common causes of electronic throttle control light coming on include: faulty wires or air in the system (such as dirty filters). The best way to fix these is to clean the throttle body and replace its air filter.

If these fixes don't work, it's worth checking with an electronic specialist to see if your car has a faulty throttle control unit (ECU).

What if there is no problem, but the lag just doesn't feel right. That is when you simply upgrade to a throttle response controller and manage from your phone! 


shiftpower mobile app

Upgrade your Throttle Response and fix your acceleration lag.

Throttle Response Controller's are the fastest and least expensive way to upgrade your pedal to acceleration response. It will make your car feel like a totally different ride.

If you're looking to get a little more power out of your car, but don't want the hassle with the expense of upgrading the engine or exhaust system then this is for you.

  • Electronic throttle control systems are great because they can be tuned electronically to give your car better response when accelerating from a dead stop, as well as getting ride of the jerky feeling when you slam on the gas from a standstill.
  • Most of these systems are plug and play in the throttle body, meaning they can be installed without any cutting or splicing into your car's wiring harness so installation takes less than an hour to complete.
  • And because this is all electronic, it means that if anything were to happen with the the upgraded part then it is much easier to replace, and it doesn't require a whole lot of capital investment.

All in all an upgraded car accelerator pedal module will provide better performance with less hassle for you and your car.

Best in class throttle controller upgrades will include a sleek design, plug and play along with nice mobile apps for both ios & android phones. Not only should you have different modes to select from but you should be able to finely tune the settings. ISS Automotive Solutions is currently recommending ShiftPower. 


Accelerator Mode for ShiftPower

Throttle Response Controller Upgrades

Are you wondering if an upgrade is worth the money?

ISS Automotive recommends ShiftPower Throttle Response Control by ShiftPowerUSA. We think this is worth reviewing. 

simple throttle controller upgrade by shiftpower

If you are still on the fence about the upgrade, take a look at what their product can do for you.

This technology will improve performance and handling of your vehicle without any major modifications to it or expensive add-ons! All that's needed are some minor adjustments to the accelerator pedal. Its very simple to add this upgrade to your car.

This is an electronic throttle response controller upgrade that can improve performance and handling of your vehicle with no costly modifications! All you need are some minor adjustments to the accelerator pedal. It's very simple to add this upgrade, all it takes is a few minutes.

Click to read ISS Automotive review on if Throttle Controllers work

Aftermarket electronic throttle controllers are a fairly recent innovation in the market. And they are creating some confusion. We'll briefly help explain what they are and how they work. But first, let's explain a little bit about how throttle controllers have evolved over time.

Throttle Control In The Old Days

In the very early days of the automobile, the gas pedal didn't exist. The throttle was controlled with a hand lever. The Ford Model T is great example of an automobile that used a hand lever to control the throttle. It didn't take long for the floor mounted gas pedal to come along, and they were common in vehicles in the twenty's and thirty's.

What Does A Gas Pedal Really Do?

If we take a look back at cars that used a carburetor, the gas pedal causes the throttle plate to open. The gas pedal is connected to a cable, and the throttle plate is on the other end of the cable. When the gas pedal is pressed down, the throttle plate opens. More air enters the engine, which creates more suction that draws in more gasoline. That basic system worked well for many years. The engine would respond as quickly as it could when the gas pedal was pressed down, or released.

In the early 70's, electronic fuel injection began to become popular. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) came along shortly thereafter. Nowadays, the gas pedal is no longer connected directly to the throttle plate. Instead, it works like this:

  • When the gas pedal is pressed or released, a signal is sent to the ECU.
  • The ECU looks at this signal, and a bunch of others, including current speed, current gear in used, steering wheel angle, wheel slip, brake use, and a bunch of engine parameters.
  • The ECU evaluates all that information, and then tells the throttle plate and fuel injection system what to do.

When everything is working well, the vehicle operates smoothly, safely, and provides good fuel economy.

Guess What? Your Car Already Has An Electronic Throttle Controller

In modern automobiles, the ECU performs the electronic throttle control function, in addition to a bunch of other functions. The manufacturer programs it to achieve a number of goals that are important to the manufacturer. These include providing:

  • The best fuel economy possible.
  • Safe acceleration in bad weather.
  • Safe vehicle control during cornering or emergency maneuvers.
  • Smooth shifting.
  • Smooth acceleration in various conditions.

The OEM actually has a longer list of goals than just those above. Quite a bit of work goes into programming the throttle controller.

Why Would I Want An Aftermarket Electronic Throttle Controller?

There are two basic reasons to get an aftermarket electronic throttle controller (ETC):

  1. OEM's program their vehicles to meet the needs of the masses, provide good fuel economy, and be very safe. Sometimes this results in a laggy feeling gas pedal. You step on the gas, you've got 300hp, and the car just doesn't accelerate the way you think it should.
  2. So you can customize the car's throttle response to meet your needs, not someone else's needs.

How Do Aftermarket Electronic Throttle Controllers Work?


Aftermarket ETC's work by:

  • Intercepting the signal from the gas pedal
  • Editing it on the fly
  • Sending the edited signal on to the ECU.

The diagram below shows how this works mechanically. The interface processes information very quickly, so that the vehicle never knows that the signal has been edited.

How Do I Program The Electronic Throttle Controller?

The great news here is that you don't have to program the ETC. ETC's come with one or more programs already installed. You can choose the program, or mode, by pushing a button, or by using an app on your phone.

All Aftermarket ETC's All The Same?

No, they are not. Not all ETC's can be controlled with an app, and not all have several modes to choose from. ISS Automotive recommends ShiftPower Throttle Response Control by ShiftPowerUSA. We think it is worth reviewing.

Throttle controller

If you are still on the fence about the upgrade, take a look at what their product can do for you. This technology will improve performance of your vehicle without any major modifications to it or expensive add-ons! It's very simple to add this upgrade to your car. Click to read ISS Automotive review on if Throttle Controllers work