Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

How To Fix a Stuck Gas Pedal




If you push your gas pedal and it gets stuck, there is a good chance that your throttle body needs cleaning and lubricating.

You don’t have to be an expert mechanic to perform this task. What causes a stuck gas pedal?

This article contains:

    Key Takeaway

    • A stuck gas pedal in cars refers to a condition where the accelerator pedal becomes jammed or unable to move, causing the vehicle to maintain or increase its speed unintentionally.
    • Fixing a stuck gas pedal typically involves cleaning or lubricating the throttle body, checking and adjusting the throttle cable, inspecting and replacing the floor mat if it’s interfering with the pedal, or having a professional mechanic repair or replace any damaged components in the acceleration system.

    What Is a Stuck Gas Pedal In Cars

    A stuck gas pedal in a car refers to a situation where the accelerator pedal gets jammed in a depressed position, causing the vehicle to continue accelerating even after the driver has removed their foot from the pedal.

    How To Fix a Stuck Gas Pedal

    How To Fix a Stuck Gas Pedal
    • Disconnect the battery
    • Locate the big air duct
    • Remove the air duct
    • Remove any electrical wires
    • Inspect the throttle body
    • Clean the throttle body with a throttle body cleaner
    • Lubricate the accelerator cable with oil
    • Close the throttle plate and re-install the air duct
    • Start your car and push the gas pedal

    Every time you push the gas pedal, you are activating the throttle body which controls the amount of air that enters the engine.

    As soon as you push the gas pedal, you are allowing a certain amount of air to enter the engine and the computer now has to calculate how much fuel to inject in order for combustion to occur.

    As soon as the combustion occurs in the combustion chamber, the air and fuel mixture gets ignited and this action leaves a carbon residue.

    This carbon residue travels and gets stuck on the throttle body. Over time, the carbon residue will build up and your gas pedal could get stuck.

    You can fix a stuck gas pedal by cleaning the throttle body. Here is how to fix a stuck gas pedal:

    1. Disconnect the battery

    How To Fix a Stuck Gas Pedal

    Before you start cleaning the throttle body, you must disconnect the battery to avoid any short circuits or a blown fuse. Locate the battery and disconnect the negative terminal only. Secure the negative terminal cable and make sure it is not touching anything.

    2. Locate the big air duct

    How To Fix a Stuck Gas Pedal

    The big air duct is located in the engine bay and it is hard to miss. As I said before, the throttle body controls the amount of air that enters the engine. The air duct is in charge of bringing the air into the throttle body.

    3. Remove the air duct

    The air duct is usually connected with a metal clamp to the throttle body. Remove the metal clump with a screwdriver and disconnect the air duct gently.

    4. Remove any electrical wires

    Remember step 1 where I asked you to disconnect the car battery? That was for this step. Some vehicles have electrical wires in the air duct that goes into the throttle body. If the battery is connected, you could get shocked, burn a fuse, or create a short circuit.

    5. Inspect the throttle body

    At this point, you should have an exposed throttle body. There is a metal plate inside the throttle body which moves as you push the gas pedal.

    You can move the throttle plate by hand or by pushing the gas pedal. Inspect the inside of the throttle body and try to find any carbon deposits.

    6. Clean the throttle body with a throttle body cleaner

    Get a clean towel, preferably white. I always choose the color white just so I know how dirty my throttle body is and to get an idea when should I clean it next time.

    Open the throttle plate and spray with the throttle cleaner. If you don’t have a throttle cleaner, you CRC 05110 Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner - 11 Wt Oz.. The one that I have is only $8. Make sure that you don’t spray too much of the throttle body cleaner.

    7. Lubricate the accelerator cable with oil

    Some models have an accelerator cable. The accelerator cable is engaged as soon as the driver pushes the gas pedal. It is located just right next to the throttle body and air duct.

    Lubricate the accelerator cable with engine oil or other lubricating fluids.

    8. Close the throttle plate and re-install the air duct

    Make sure that the throttle plate is in a closed position. Then, reconnect the air duct and reinstall the metal clamp. If your car has electrical wires in the air duct, reconnect those as well.

    9. Start your car and push the gas pedal

    At this point, your gas pedal should work normally. Start your vehicle and push the gas pedal to test it. Go back to the engine bay and make sure that your air duct was connected properly and no air is leaking.

    Most Common Causes of a Stuck Gas Pedal

    1. Obstruction by Foreign Objects: The most common cause is a foreign object, such as a floor mat or debris, getting wedged beneath the pedal. This prevents the pedal from releasing back to its resting position.
    2. Faulty Throttle: A stuck gas pedal could also be due to a faulty throttle. The throttle controls the engine’s power by regulating how much air can flow into it. If the throttle is malfunctioning, it might keep the accelerator pedal engaged.
    3. Worn or Snagged Throttle Cable: The throttle cable, which connects the gas pedal to the throttle, can become worn or snagged over time. This can cause the gas pedal to stick.
    4. Dry Hinge on the Pedal: The hinge of the gas pedal needs to be lubricated regularly to ensure smooth operation. If it becomes dry, it can cause the pedal to stick says Scientific American.

    Symptoms of a Stuck Gas Pedal

    • Uncontrollable Acceleration: This is the most obvious symptom. The car continues to accelerate even after you’ve removed your foot from the gas pedal.
    • Pedal Doesn’t Spring Back: When the gas pedal is functioning correctly, it should spring back to its resting position once you lift your foot off. If it’s stuck, it will remain in a pressed-down position.
    • Resistance When Pressing Down: You might feel unusual resistance when trying to press down on the gas pedal. It may not move as smoothly as it should.
    • Inconsistent Vehicle Speed: Even if the pedal doesn’t stick completely, you may notice that your vehicle’s speed isn’t consistent with the pressure you’re applying to the pedal.
    • High RPMs: The revolutions per minute (RPM) on your tachometer may be unusually high due to the continuous supply of fuel to the engine.
    • Difficulty in Stopping: Due to the continued acceleration, you may find it difficult to stop the vehicle, even when applying brakes.

    What To Do If You Get a Stuck Gas Pedal

    • Stay Calm: The first thing to do is to remain calm and focused. Panicking can lead to accidents.
    • Shift to Neutral: Safely shift your vehicle into neutral. This disengages the engine from the wheels, preventing further acceleration.
    • Apply the Brakes: Use both feet to firmly depress the brake pedal. Don’t pump the brakes as it can reduce their efficiency.
    • Look for a Safe Place to Stop: If possible, steer your car towards a safe place to stop. Avoid areas with heavy traffic or pedestrians.
    • Use Your Vehicle’s Emergency Brake: As another measure, you can apply your vehicle’s emergency or hand brake.
    • Turn Off the Engine: Once you are safely stopped, turn off the engine. However, be aware that this might also disable power steering and power brakes.
    • Call for Assistance: After stopping the vehicle, call for roadside assistance or a tow truck. It’s not safe to drive the car if the gas pedal is sticking.


    Q: How can I tell if my gas pedal is stuck?

    A: If your gas pedal is stuck, you may notice that the pedal feels stiff or unresponsive when you try to press it. You might also experience unexpected acceleration or difficulty in controlling the speed of your car.

    Q: What should I do if my gas pedal gets stuck while driving?

    A: If your gas pedal gets stuck while driving, remain calm and follow these steps: 1) Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel. 2) Shift your car into neutral or, if necessary, apply the brakes gently to slow down. 3) Do not turn off the engine or remove the key, as doing so will lock your steering wheel. 4) Look for a safe place to pull over and stop your car. 5) Turn off the engine once you have safely parked and seek professional assistance.

    Q: Can a stuck gas pedal cause an accident?

    A: Yes, a stuck gas pedal can potentially cause an accident if it leads to unintended acceleration and the driver is unable to regain control of the vehicle. It is important to address a stuck gas pedal issue promptly to ensure road safety.

    Q: Can I fix a stuck gas pedal on my own?

    A: While cleaning the gas pedal assembly may resolve the issue in some cases, it is always best to consult a professional mechanic to address a stuck gas pedal problem. They have the expertise and tools necessary to diagnose and fix the issue correctly.

    Q: How much does it cost to fix a stuck gas pedal?

    A: The cost of fixing a stuck gas pedal will vary depending on the specific cause of the issue and the make and model of your car. It is recommended to consult with a professional mechanic who can provide an accurate estimate after assessing the problem.

    Q: How can I prevent my gas pedal from getting stuck?

    A: To help prevent your gas pedal from getting stuck, it is important to keep your car clean, particularly the area around the pedal assembly. Regular maintenance and servicing of your vehicle can also help identify and address any potential issues before they become problematic.

    Q: Are there any recalls for stuck gas pedals?

    A: There have been instances of vehicle recalls due to issues related to stuck gas pedals. It is advisable to check with your car manufacturer or visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for information on any recalls that may affect your specific make and model.

    Q: Can a stuck gas pedal be a sign of a more serious problem?

    A: Yes, a stuck gas pedal can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying problem with the throttle system or other components of your vehicle. It is crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your car.

    In Conclusion

    Fixing a stuck gas pedal involves identifying the root cause of the problem.

    This could range from removing obstructions beneath the pedal, replacing a faulty throttle or a worn-out throttle cable, to lubricating a dry hinge on the pedal.

    While some of these fixes might seem straightforward, it’s important to remember that working on your car’s mechanical systems can be complex and risky without the right knowledge and tools.

    Therefore, if you’re faced with a stuck gas pedal, it’s highly recommended to enlist professional help.

    A skilled mechanic can diagnose and fix the issue correctly and safely, helping you avoid potential accidents and ensuring the overall safety and performance of your vehicle.



    Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

    The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

    Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

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