Why is your gas pedal sticking?

On the Road 2 min read

It can be scary if you’ve ever experienced a stuck accelerator while driving. When you remove pressure from your gas pedal, it should smoothly release and stop requesting more fuel through the throttle. If you ever find yourself with a stuck gas pedal that can cause unintended acceleration, here’s how you can handle the sticky situation safely.

What is the most common cause of a stuck accelerator?

Mechanical issues are common culprits for stuck accelerators. Over time, dirt, debris, and wear and tear can cause the pedal to get stuck in a partially depressed position. In addition, a gas pedal sticking can result from gunk buildup in the throttle body, which is part of the gas pedal that initiates the combustion that makes the car move.

The most common causes of a stuck gas pedal include:

  • The floor mat has gotten bunched up under the pedal
  • Damaged throttle spring
  • Dirty throttle cable
  • Deferred car maintenance

What should you do if your accelerator sticks?

If your gas pedal is stuck, you should follow these tips:

  • Don’t panic. If you find that your gas pedal is sticking, remain in control of yourself as much as you can, despite feeling like you’re unable to control your vehicle.
  • Maintain control of your vehicle. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to steer clear of you. Keep your hands on the wheel and steer away from any road hazards.
  • Do not pump the gas pedal, which could cause sudden acceleration. Instead, attempt to gently release the pedal by sliding your foot under it and lifting up.
  • Shift the vehicle into neutral to disengage the power to the wheels.
  • Engage the brakes while the vehicle is in neutral, ease the car to the side of the highway, and bring it to a stop. Learn how to tell when it’s time to replace your brakes.

Is it safe to drive when your accelerator sticks?

If you’re wondering if driving with a stuck accelerator is safe, the answer is no. When your gas pedal is sticking, you can’t control the vehicle speed, which puts you and the vehicles around you in danger. Call a tow truck and get your car to a mechanic to diagnose and repair whatever is causing your stuck accelerator. Learn more about how to find a mechanic, and whether car insurance covers towing.

While experiencing a stuck accelerator may be uncommon, you’ll know exactly how to handle it if it happens while driving. Being aware of how to respond to a stuck gas pedal can help you remain calm and prevent an accident.

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