Likelihood I will kill myself or someone else with Sensor Code PO 221 Throttle/Pedal Sensor (?)

Hi, I have a 2000 Saturn LW2. It’s getting old and there are a lot of things that need repaired (approx. $3000 worth of work, including probably a new or reconditioned transmission). I am considering whether to sell it or just drive it until it doesn’t work anymore.

I had a mechanic look over it today and give me a list of all the issues he sees - he seems like an honest guy at this point. One of the issues was a PO 221 throttle/pedal sensor engine code. I had to get him to explain to me what this is and my question to him was basically how urgent is this repair? Is it going to be dangerous?

His answer, basically yes. He told me a story about how someone died driving at high speed on the freeway from a faulty throttle/pedal sensor because the engine did not recognize that the driver had taken his foot off the brake. Is this possible?

He really was not trying to get extra work out of me - in fact his opinion is there is too much wrong with the car and that his advice was not to put any more money into repairs.



I think that is your answer right there.

Listen to your mechanic. He knows the car far better than a bunch of folks on the internet. He’s seen it, touched it and worked on it. If you don’t care about your own safety, consider the safety of others around you.

The car is only worth $2000 in good condition. And this doesn’t sound like “good” condition.

Your call on spending the money. If you drive it, at least spend what it takes to make it safe.

Hi, i appreciate your comment but you haven’t really answered my question. Is have a faulty throttle/pedal sensor unsafe? and if so why? Was he telling me an accurate story or just a wild tale?

What he told you could happen, but all you would have to do to prevent the car from running away with you is shift into neutral. A more likely scenario is the car not recognizing you stepping on the gas to accelerate. Would you want this to happen when crossing railroad tracks or when pulling out into traffic?

Either fix it or get another car.

Yes, it is unsafe because it can cause the throttle to go dead at the most dangerous times. Entering a highway, crossing an intersection, ect. There is an outside chance that it may also go full throttle and that is of great concern as you might imagine.

Yes, if I was told that ours was not working correctly I would have it repaired . End of story.

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Fault P0221 is related to the Throttle Position sensor, not the accelerator position sensor. Your engine will still run with a TPS fault but the emissions will not be as clean.

The run away vehicle story that he told you was with a vehicle that had electronic throttle control, your car does not have that, it has a cable operated throttle body. Your computer can not open the throttle due to a sensor malfunction.

Thanks Nevada_545 - the mechanic seemed to think that the 2000 LW2 would have a electronic throttle control?

It does have electronic throttle control based on what I see for the V6 (which I think is the SW2) on Rockauto.

ProDemand Automotive repair shows an IAC and a throttle cable on this throttle body but that appears to be inaccurate. A TPS fault will usually disable the throttle controls, is the car still drivable?

Yes, it is still drivable. The mechanic explained that if the computer senses there is too much of a problem (too much or too little air?) it would shut the engine down - at any time. Unless there is a problem with the computer I suppose…

Thank you everyone for your comments and clarification.

If its throwing this code then read the following: P0221 - OBD-II Trouble Code

the part to fix it cost less than $20 2002 SATURN LW WAGON 2.2L L4 Speed Sensor | RockAuto