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While reversing into my drive the accelerator pedal briefly got stuck - luckily in the "up" position, not the "down" position, but given the hump in my drive that needs a little gas to get over, it still led to causing an embarrassing traffic hold up.

A little careful wiggling got it loose and got me into the driveway - but obviously, I'm more than a little concerned about it happening again in a more dangerous position.

Surprisingly, my Haynes manual has literally nothing about accelerator pedals (it has brake pedal maintenance, clutch pedal maintenance, and accelerator pedal position sensor maintenance, but nothing about the accelerator pedal itself). Searching online finds articles on what to do if I'm driving and the accelerator pedal gets stuck down (which will be helpful if I'm ever googling for answers while hurtling dangerously in an out of control vehicle...) but I can't find anything about diagnosing and fixing the underlying problem.

I imagine the solution will involve some oil or WD40 but I want to be thorough. What should I check and what should I look for? Is there any way to test the stickiness of an accelerator pedal beyond simply pushing it up and down with the car out of gear? How can I judge that an accelerator pedal is or isn't at risk of sticking?


Car is a Toyota RAV4 but it's too old (1997) to be affected by the notorious Toyota sticking acceleration problem.


Mechanics in this country tend to be rather gung-ho about risks and often take an attitude of "well it works now, it'll be fine", so while I do intend on having it looked at, I want to be able to understand what's going on and do what I can myself, too.

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There's 3 things you need to look at:

  • the accelerator pedal itself
  • the throttle cable
  • the throttle body

If you pop the hood, find your throttle body: it is between the air intake tube and the metal top part of the engine and has a half-wheel sticking out the front with 1 (no cruise control) or 2 (cruise control) cables attached to it. When you turn it by hand, you introduce slack in the throttle cable, use this to disconnect the throttle cable at the throttle body (there's a little "pill" at the end of the cable that you can slide out of an opening, and then the entire cable is loose) Picture of your engine

Once you've disconnected the throttle cable, inspect for 3 things:

  • Make sure the wheel on the throttle body can move freely by hand
  • Make sure the throttle cable isn't pinched anywhere and that it's in all the supports that it needs to
  • Make sure your accelerator pedal can move freely (there should be no resistance at all with the cable detached)

Remember to reconnect your throttle cable when you are done.

  • don't forget the floor mat riding up against the pedal. – Moab Jul 31 '16 at 21:35
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This is a well-worded, interesting, and valuable question. Unfortunately, not among the "gung ho risk taking" mechanics, I would not even guess at an answer without seeing the problem firsthand.

So my meta answer would be to duplicate the problem in a static situation (not moving/driving) -- perhaps by wiggling and pulling on the pedal into a position where it gets re-stuck.

Once you have duplicated the problem, it should be fairly easy to determine where to file/lubricate/trim/bend/adjust to prevent future recurrence. Keep in mind this may be somewhere in the linkage further along, not necessarily the pedal itself.

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