Technology is rapidly improving, and so are vehicles and modifications. There are countless car mods that you can get, but throttle response controllers are really underrated. People have been buying these devices to enhance their vehicles for quite a while now, and the simplicity of a throttle response controller makes it the perfect starter mod.
With throttle response controllers getting more popular, some questions need to be answered. What are throttle controllers? Is it snake oil, or do throttle response controllers really provide value? Let’s find out!
What is a Throttle Response Controller?
Older vehicles had an actual cable that ran from the throttle body to the accelerator pedal, so how much you pressed the pedal was how much you accelerated. Those days are over. Almost all new cars have an ETC, and the throttle mapping can be slightly “sluggish.”
Manufacturers use the same parts through multiple vehicles to cut costs. While using the same ETC may provide better fuel economy and improve safety for the average user, it is not for everyone. For example, this sluggish throttle curve can become dangerous when you must make a quick maneuver to merge into faster traffic. Think about how many times you smashed the throttle and waited for the RPMs to rise. Well, a throttle response controller can solve all these problems for you.
A good throttle response controller can help you customize the throttle response the way you want with minimum effort. These devices enhance the signals from the throttle pedal, sidestepping lengthy checks and letting your ECU know how much you want your throttle body to be opened to give you the response you want.
What Does a Throttle Response Controller Do?
Before answering this question, you need to know what is a drive-by-wire system. We have a detailed article that explains the drive-by-wire ETC systems, but simply, most of the systems in your vehicle are electronically controlled. When you press the gas pedal, a sensor called the accelerator pedal position sensor, or APS, sends an electronic signal to the ECU. The ECU then performs calculations and opens the throttle body (TPS) to accelerate your vehicle. However, this system has all sorts of lags and limitations. Throttle response controllers take the signal from your APS and send it to the ECU in a process that enhances the signal and clears certain checks, but it is a bit more complicated.
As the name implies, a throttle response controller helps you control the throttle response. When you install a high-quality throttle controller, you can work around things like “kick-down switches” and lengthy checks made by your ECU. Some throttle response controllers even let you customize the gas pedal's responsiveness to make the car behave the way you want.
Do Throttle Response Controllers Voids Warranty?
If you use a high-quality certified throttle response controller, your vehicle warranty will be intact! First, throttle response controllers are some of the safest car mods out there, so you are protected by the Magnussen-Moss Act. Also, most high-quality throttle response controllers, such as Pedal Commander, won't leave “flags” on the ECU, making them untraceable once removed. Since these devices are usually easy to install and remove, you can remove them before getting warranty work done in the dealership and keep your warranty intact that way, too!
Are Throttle Response Controllers Safe?
While throttle response controllers are safer than most other performance mods, the safety depends on the product. If you want to be on the safer side, you need to choose a product with FCC, CARB, and TÜV certifications.
If you buy a high-quality throttle response controller with certificates and pay attention to the user manual, you will have a great driving experience.
Are Throttle Response Controllers Easy To Install?
Throttle response controllers are relatively easy to install. However, the installation depends on the brand and the connectors. Most throttle controllers plug directly into the throttle, but some manufacturers use a different design that also connects to the OBD-II port. If you choose a throttle response controller with an OBD-II port, expect the installation to be a little more complicated and messier.
Are Throttle Response Controllers Worth It?
Throttle response controllers are definitely worth it. These devices are some of the safest and most impactful performance upgrades out there. Whether you have a truck, a daily commuter, a side-by-side, a muscle car, or a tuned vehicle, getting a throttle response controller will help you extract even more from your vehicle.
Are Throttle Response Controllers Expensive?
Throttle response controllers come in very different price points. The price depends on the product’s features, connection type, certificates, warranty, and build quality. But make sure the product that you choose is not too cheap. As you know, you get what you pay for. Still, throttle response controllers are relatively inexpensive, especially if you compare them to other kinds of car mods.
What Types of Vehicles are Compatible with Throttle Response Controllers?
Throttle response controllers are compatible with cars, SUVs, SxS UTVs, exotic cars, and trucks with a drive-by-wire ECT system. If your vehicle is made after 2003, it probably is compatible with a throttle response controller.
Do Throttle Response Controllers Work with Tuned Vehicles?
Throttle response controllers do work with tuned vehicles. In fact, throttle controllers work hand-in-hand with tuned vehicles. Most tuners won’t change the throttle mapping, so you might not feel 100% of the extra performance even if you have increased horsepower. Throttle response controllers let you customize the response to your taste and will be a valuable addition to your build and get your power delivered instantly. But you should remember that if you have a tuner box plugged into the OBD-II port, you need a throttle controller that won’t connect to the OBD-II.
Do Throttle Response Controllers Increase Horsepower?
Throttle response controllers add so much performance to a vehicle but do it without adding horsepower. So the short answer is no. The long answer is more horsepower does not mean more performance. In fact, extra horsepower will hurt reliability in the long run. When you increase horsepower, you need to adjust too many things. You must adjust timing and the fuel-air ratio and beef up your car's internals. If you don’t, well, you are looking at a ticking time bomb of expensive repair bills. Even if you do all that, your car can still feel sluggish because you don’t have instant access to the engine’s power. Throttle response controllers won’t increase horsepower, but they will increase the throttle response to give you the option to use the car to its full capacity.
Should I Seek the OBD-II Connector Option on a Throttle Response Controller?
There are advantages and disadvantages to throttle response controllers with OBD-II connectors. OBD-II gives valuable information about your vehicle, and the controller can use that information to its advantage. Throttle controllers with OBD-II can be great, but there are also a couple of problems with them: They only work for a select few vehicles and are more expensive. What’s worse is most companies don’t communicate with their customers, so you need to do extensive research on forums to see if your vehicle takes advantage of an OBD-II throttle response controller.
Can the Throttle Response Controller Help with Fuel Saving/MPG?
Some throttle response controllers claim to have an Eco mode to improve MPG. Some throttle controllers claim up to 20% gains in fuel economy, too. And those claims can be true, but only if the brand has a real Eco mode! When shopping for a throttle response controller, do extensive research. Not all brands have a real Eco mode. In some brands, it is just a label. Fake Eco modes only set the throttle response at stock. That won’t help the fuel economy. Remember that in a real Eco mode, your throttle response will be slower than stock response, which will save you some fuel, But fuel savings depend on your driving habits and the mode you select.
Can I Use the Throttle Response Controller with the Built-In Factory Modes?
Throttle response controllers are a great way of enhancing the built-in factory modes of vehicles. For example, some vehicles have a Sport mode that increases throttle response but stiffens up the suspension. Some owners don’t like stiff suspensions, but they love a quick-responding vehicle. So yes, Pedal Commander is compatible with vehicles with built-in factory modes. If you have built-in factory modes, you can use a throttle response controller to customize your vehicle even further.
Does A Throttle Response Controller Help Turn Off the Active Fuel Management System?
While no throttle response controller manufacturer claims that they help turn off the active fuel management system, in theory, using one should disable it. But it depends on the driving condition and what mode you are on.
The active fuel management system goes off engine load and pedal position to determine if it can shut down half of the cylinders and maintain vehicle speed. Throttle response controllers add gain to the sensor, which would trick the ECU into thinking you are giving it more pedal when you are not, so, in turn, your vehicle would not engage your active fuel management.
Do Throttle Response Controllers Help With Towing?
While throttle response controllers can’t increase the towing capacity of your vehicle, these devices will help you improve the experience, especially if your controller has an Eco mode. In Eco mode, the throttle response will be slower, but the acceleration will become extremely smooth. So, your heavy load won’t put as much stress on your drivetrain. You can also use a linear throttle response mode, such as City in Pedal Commander while cruising to negate the effects of towing all that extra weight.
Which Throttle Response Controller Has the Best Customer Service?
Pedal Commander has the best customer service of all throttle response controllers. The customer service team of Pedal Commander has highly skilled experts that will provide you with all the answers and solutions you need to learn quickly and efficiently. Also, there are a lot of ways to contact our customer service. You can mail us or contact us via live chat, mobile application, and telephone.
What is the Best Throttle Response Controller?
There are a lot of throttle response controllers out there. But there is a significant reason why Pedal Commander is the most popular. Whether you are looking for the best throttle response controller for Tacoma or the best throttle controller for your Mustang or any other vehicle, Pedal Commander is the best. Pedal Commander has CARB, EMC, FCC, TÜV, CE, and ISO certificates and won multiple awards at SEMA Show. If you want to have the best driving experience, give the best throttle response controller a shot!