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Buddy's broken car. The accelerator sticks on

Just got a phone call. My buddy is currently on the side of the road with a death trap of a vehicle. The accelerator continues to accelerate when he lifts his foot off the peddle. Luckily he has good brakes, and was able to wrestle the car to a stop. The vehicle is a 1991 Buick Century.

Any thoughts on what is wrong?

Many thanks in advance,


pop the hood. usually the accelerator cable is connected to a elliptical shaft. the cable may have jumped off the plastic shaft (out of the groove) or the cruise control cable may have jumped out of the groove.

without seeing it, or without more detail it’s kind of hard to give a better opinion.

possibly the shaft, plastic cam or the cables need lubeing, or cleaning, and lube.

Yup. His Throttle Position Sensor may be bad.

Also possibly what Cappy said.

Thanks! I’ll have him take a look, and I’ll report back.

also, ask him if the CEL is on or not. hopefully it hasn’t been on for a year or so and he hasn’t been ignoring it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Called and asked him about the CEL. Ya, its been going on and off for the past few weeks, but now it is on to stay. Does that mean its the sensor?

Not necessarily, but it does mean that an error code has been stored by the computer that can help find the cause.

Tell your friend, and remember this yourself in case it ever happens to you; If the throttle sticks open, turn the ignition to OFF.

Not to LOCK, because that locks the steering, but OFF will shut down the engine and you won’t to have to overpower it with the brake.

Alternatively, shift to neutral.

Sometimes the computer quits and the limp mode has a very fast idle. Usually it isn’t as bad as what is apparently happening now. Disconnect battery and reconnect to temporarily fix the problem. If the computer rebooots, you may be good for a couple days.

I had suggested that if it happens again he shift to neutral or kill the ignition (not to lock). Thanks for the advice. He restarted the car multiple times, and it went away–temporarily hopefully. I told him to take it to a shop and have it plugged into the computer for diagnostics. He says thanks for the advice.

He can pull the codes from the computer himself.

If he looks under the dash below the steering column he’ll find the ALDL connector. On this connector look for the A and B terminals. Insert a jumper such as a paperclip or piece of wire between these two terminals. Turn the ignition switch to the RUN position so that the dash lights come on. The Check Engine light will start to flash out the codes. The first code that will be displayed will be a code 12. This means the computer is in the diagnostic mode. Any codes that follow the code 12 are actual trouble codes. The codes will be displayed as a series of flashes and pauses. And each code will repeat three times. So for example the code 12 will appear as -. Where =flash and -= pause. A code 36 will appear as ***-**. Then he can go on the net and look up the definitions of the codes and where the problem lays.


and make sure you are using a bare wire or paperclip. even the paperclips have a plastic coating on them now.

it tends to make a person look 'tupid, when the codes want flash, when the problem is a coated wire! BTDT

does anyone know if this year car will simply flash the codes if you turn the key on and off three times in a row, and then leave it on?