What is a throttle response controller?

 Throttle Response Controller Gas Pedal Response.

What is a throttle response controller?

A throttle response controller is a device that you install directly onto your accelerator pedal to change the sensitivity of the acceleration of your vehicle.

Use throttle controllers to eliminate "throttle lag" or what we call the dreaded "sponge pedal". You can now accelerate faster off the line or when merging and passing. 

In better version of throttle response controllers you can control the gas pedal sensitivity with either a dash mount button or a Bluetooth smart phone app.

At this time, ISS Automotive is recommending ShiftPower

Learn more about ShiftPower Features >

Throttle controllers work by improving your throttle response or throttle sensitivity by making the gas pedal input smoother and more responsive. This means faster 0-60 acceleration.

This is especially useful for cars with modern engine management systems such as drive-by-wire, electronic throttle control (ETC), or electric power steering.

To solve this lag in the electrical system it makes sense to install a throttle response controller device that can control the gas pedal signal and sensitivity.


Increase acceleration and better performance

So why do we need throttle response controllers?

Because it's 2022, and this is how modern vehicles are built.

The stock gas pedal lag really slows us down, but seriously.. if you notice that there are some lag in acceleration than most likely you will feel like a zombie in a video game. Slow and sluggish! 

  • The throttle controller technology works by reducing lag that occurs between car's electronic components.
  • There are many of upgrades, but this one is the least expensive for a very noticeable difference. You might be surprised by how much horsepower you already have.

That's why we would never blame a car manufacturer for poor throttle response, because most likely they are working hard to improve their system and not make it worse.

The main difference is in the way that manufacturers think about quality of throttle controllers. Some may simply work by adding more resistance through various resistors, others will add resistance through selectively tuning the program to respond "faster".

  • Certainly, factory gas pedals throttle response is good enough, but with a throttle controller you can make it better.
  • At the end of the day our task is to overcome and improve some existing systems. This makes buying an aftermarket controller different from replacing stock one.
  • Because that would not only replace the stock pedal, but also eliminate its' components so as to never again use factory gas pedal.

We highly recommend simply, safe, and high quality solutions tested for long life.

Knowing more about the electrical system might be helpful. Here is a bit more details to consider. 


 Electronic Throttle Controller acceleration control

Electronic throttle control system

Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) units are a relatively new electronic devices that control the flow of fuel to an engine.  They replaced mechanical linkages and cables sometime around 2006 when they first came out.  

  • An ETC unit consists of two components, an accelerator pedal position sensor (accelerator pedal) and a throttle position sensor (throttle).  
  • The accelerator pedal sends signals to the ETC unit about how much pressure is being applied to it by the driver.

This signal is then translated into how much fuel should enter the engine’s intake manifold, which in turn makes your car go faster or slower. 

Any delays in the ETC system is where we get the dead pedal, acceleration lag, sponge pedal, etc. 

Check out this vid from Lexus


What is a Electronic Throttle Control and why does it really matter?

Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) units are a relatively new electronic devices that control the flow of fuel to an engine which connects to the engine control unit.  They replaced mechanical linkages and cables sometime around 2006 when they first came out.  

An ETC unit consists of two components, an accelerator pedal position sensor (accelerator pedal) and a throttle position sensor (throttle).  The accelerator pedal sends signals to the ETC unit about how much pressure is being applied to it by the driver.

Throttle Response Controller Truck

 We can install a throttle response controller to the electrical gas pedal. This throttle response controller signal is then translated into how much fuel should enter the engine’s intake manifold, which in turn makes your car go faster or slower. Any delay you apply more or less pressure to the accelerator pedal.

Unlike with a mechanical response controller (throttle controller), the ETC unit is responsible for controlling how fast your car goes, which means it will always try to keep the throttle at its maximum level in order to take advantage of as much fuel as possible.

Modern vehicles have advanced electronics and this has allowed manufacturers to replace mechanical components, with cheaper and more effective electronics, such as:

  • clutches
  • gearboxes
  • manual steering systems

However, a side effect of this is that the driver can no longer feel the response of acceleration or how much power the car will give. An installed throttle response controller helps you manage this.

This is particularly problematic for performance applications because the cars throttle response can be de-tuned by manufacturers to suit regulators and laws so that they cannot even reach their peak performance. It's important to follow all state and local laws. Throttle response controllers can help improve fuel efficiency if used properly.

So, how does a throttle controller come into play?


Throttle Controller Truck

Looking for a Chevy Silverado throttle controller? >

What does throttle controller do?

Technically the throttle controller helps to remap the throttle response curves so that you change the responsiveness of you gas pedal or throttle sensitivity. With this, it gives you more control of your cars power output and speed. Just like a performance chip, the throttle controller will give your car a boost in acceleration but without changing engine parameters such as timing.

An accelerator pedal is basically a potentiometer which is used to measure the opening angle of an accelerator pedal position sensor or potentiometer.
Basically, this means that when you push your gas pedal down the car's computer will measure how far you have pushed it from 0%. Depending on your cars ECU, there are two different types of controls out there.  
One is throttle-by-wire and the other is electronic throttle control. Throttle by wire basically uses an electric motor driven by an accelerator pedal position sensor to manage throttle response. This would be found in cars that are not dependent on mechanical linkages or cables.

Bluetooth Throttle Response Controllers

We recommend a throttle controller that has automotive grade connectors and wiring to match factory spec requirements. This ensures long term performance and a much higher end functioning module to manage and remap the throttle response in real time. This will allow you to see in real-time the the difference using bluetooth from your phone directly to your gas pedal.

Electronic throttle control (ETC) is the more predominant system which uses a potentiometer to measure the angle of an accelerator pedal position sensor and then it electronically controls the throttle, meaning that there is no mechanical linkages or cables to connect the accelerator pedal to the engine.

The reason we recommend Bluetooth is that now you can manage the gas pedal throttle response sensitivity or mapping of the response curve with programming from your phone.


Throttle response acceleration modes by ShiftPower

Different Throttle Response Modes

Many Throttle Response Controllers, like ShiftPower, help you by proving several mode or modes that range from sport mode, super sport mode, race mode. After installing the throttle response controller into the vehicle manufacturers gas pedal assembly then this removes response delays instantly.

The remote button is set with the phone app for the different preferences. Its simple and easy to use the app to adjust the vehicle settings.

You can place each mode at your desired transition or set point. For example adjust sport mode down from 50% to 40% in the settings. Now your button will be set to this pre-set. If you want to adjust race mode on the fly then simply use the app power dial interface to adjust the throttle sensitivity.

Valet mode put a max limit on throttle. A valet will not be able to accelerate or go over speeds of 25 to 30. This helps to protect your investment from joy rides :)

There is also a security mode where you can totally shut off any response from the gas. In this event, even if they got the car turned on, then they would not be able to push the pedal. Maybe this is useful as a parent to limit use of their vehicle, especially after hours. Security is controlled by the phones unlock or face app control.


Better acceleration with throttle acceleration controllers

Are throttle controllers bad for your car?

No, a throttle controller will not damage your vehicles electronics or anything else for that matter.

Actually, it is the opposite; they are very beneficial to all modern cars except for maybe some vintage ones because they use old school technology and electronic throttle control was only invented in 2006.

It really depends on the manufacturer of your car. Cars like Mercedes, Audi, BMW have engines that work really well with a potentiometer.

They can even be used to increase the performance of your car, especially around corners because they allow you more control of your steering and maneuverability.
Electronic throttle controller cars (such as many Japenese cars) might not be as responsive to a potentiometer. Gas pedal input may actually cause the engine to rev higher or faster.

It also may not be very response to throttle input such as when you are trying to race around corners because your car is lacking a mechanical link between the accelerator pedal and the engine.

This is where a throttle controller can help by adjusting the throttle sensitivity. It basically compensates for the lack of the mechanical linkages and makes your car more responsive to input so that you can better control it around corners.

Of course, this depends entirely on the type of controller and how much power (current) it can output because not all controllers are made equally.

Some throttle response controllers only shine at low levels so the throttle response time isn't very responsive when you are going at high speeds and it may not be effective at all for cars that have electronic control units. This is why you want a controller that meets the specs which you can't always tell by price.

Click to read more about seeing if throttle controllers are bad >

How to avoid buying a bad throttle controller?

You want to get the best bang for your buck, which means avoiding cheap controllers regardless of how awesome they look or how fast they claim their response time is. The cheap ones are almost always ineffective and they usually have a very high response time.  There is no point in getting one of these because you will be better off with no controller at all.

What you want to look for when looking into throttle controllers are the user reviews.  A good place to check out reviews are on Amazon, eBay or even other forums where people who actually put these controllers to the test give their feedback.

Another good thing to look for is whether the controller actually claims that it can be used with electronic control units and if does, how well? Unless you are buying a very basic controller, in which case it should suffice.

Lastly, it's important to check whether the controller has any kind of feedback on the light output. A good controller will not only have a potentiometer but also have some sort of variable feedback that you can see as you maneuver the car around corners.  If this isn't too much of concern for you, then it may be okay for you to pass.

At this time we are recommending ShiftPower so that you can see the response curve difference.


Throttle Controller

Do throttle controllers really work?

The short answer is yes.  

However, it depends on the type of controller and how much power (current) it can output because not all controllers are made equally. They do provide improved response from the gas pedal depending on the quality.

Beyond that, they do make your throttle more sensitive to input so that you can better control the vehicle around corners. Some cars are just too powerful and need that kind of adjustment to combat the lack of mechanical linkages between the gas pedal and the engine. Also, a good thing to use for regular commuting if the weather gets bad.  


Why are they so expensive?

I am sure a question you would ask is why are they priced higher than other car accessories? This could be due to the costs incurred in making them and its proprietary programming. The bluetooth to smart phone interface does mean higher costs with programming, updating and ensuring compatibility.

Another study concluded that aftermarket controllers increase fuel efficiency by around 3–5% on all types of vehicles and it also improves acceleration times.  This can translate into better mileage at the pump and lower emissions, depending on the type of vehicle you have.  A good throttle controller will increase both the acceleration time as well as your fuel efficiency.


Better acceleration with throttle response controllers

Looking for a Toyota throttle response controller? >

What happens when the electronic throttle control goes bad?

When the electronic control (ETC) unit goes bad, there are risks of stalling your car or worse yet, you risk an accident if you can't stop at a red light. If this does happen, it will most likely be covered under warranty as any good mechanic shop should be able to diagnose and fix it for you.

Another common issue is if your gas pedal does not work, or slows down considerably. In this case, you would need to replace the ETC unit under warranty and a good mechanic should be able to do so for you.  

If however, you damage the throttle body when trying to unplug it without enough knowledge about how electronics work, it may void your warranty. The project still makes for a great DIY, but we recommending that you take your time and be careful.

If you have a faulty gas pedal, then either the throttle cable is damaged or the ETC unit itself could be defective. If this turns out to be the case, visit your mechanic shop and they can run some tests with their diagnostic tools to find out which part is bad. Replace the faulty part and there you go!  

The brake pedal and gas pedal share the same system so if it malfunctions, then you might have to replace the ETC unit. If neither of them work when you step on them, contact a good mechanic shop for help.

However, most likely they will be able to diagnose the issue and fix it. In rare instances, there is a wiring problem that can cause this to happen. If that's the case, you would need to replace the entire gas pedal system and not just the ETC unit.  


The Throttle Response Controller manages the current limit of gas pedal

The sensitivity of a throttle response controller is controlled by an adjustable current limit. This current limit is designed to prevent the controller from getting damaged if a bad signal or a short circuit is detected by it. The current limit can be adjusted using a potentiometer.

If you plan on installing an aftermarket ETC unit in your car, make sure that it will be compatible with your vehicle model first.

Changes made to other parts of your vehicle by a mechanic should also be done with care. Most of the time, it will only need to modify the throttle body or maybe replace some other components depending on your model.

How do you install a Throttle Response Controller?

To install throttle controllers is quite simple.

Before buying one, you should consider features, but most importantly fit!

The first thing you should do is check if the controller is compatible with your model and then start installing it carefully on your car.

See the install video for ShiftPower Below. Generally the install takes 10 min after you leave your door open for 10 min. This part is very important.

The reason you want to leave your vehicle door ajar for 10 min before installing is to let the computer of your car settle. This is important because if you suddenly close the hood and install a controller, then it will not be able to communicate with the throttle pedal properly.
The good news is that even if this happened you can simply turn off the vehicle and open up the door again.
Some times you need click unlock on entire vehicle before leaving door open to ensure the computer is off.


As you saw in the video, to install a throttle response controller you simply use the "T" harness that is supplied with the unit. You would simply plug the harness into your cars existing wiring so that the controller can communicate with the throttle pedal.

Putting it simply, you unplug the top of your gas pedal and use harness to connect to both the gas pedal and ECU plug. Then simply zip tie the harness and wire to the stock wiring.

You do not need to go under the hood. You easily go under the dash board and install the controller under gas pedal.

This makes for a very easy and quick install. Even easier than installation of your stock gas pedal.


Throttle response controller with app

This is the main advantage of a throttle response controller. You can feel how much smoother and responsive your vehicle's acceleration is.

Acceleration will seem to come more naturally with an adjustable throttle response controller because you can adjust it to fit your driving style.

You would simply plug the harness into your cars existing wiring and you are now able to adjust the voltage coming in. This lets you match the signal strength to a higher resistance, allowing for more throttle sensitivity.

The only drawback that some people may like is that with an adjustable throttle response controller installed in their car it might take them a while to get used to it. We have to relearn the positioning of the pedal.

This is why it's important to purchase a throttle controller that gives you the ability to adjust the settings with a remote or app. That way you can adjust the settings to match your driving style for a long time.

Interested in learning more? Are throttle controllers worth it? >