The gas pedal is hard to push down. Causes and solutions

Although this does not often happen, the situation can be dangerous and frightening when the gas pedal becomes hard to press. For instance, a car can accelerate to full speed and become unresponsive; the experience is not only scary but also dangerous.

Most drivers often complain of a hard-to-press gas pedal and then bang to the floor. Others notice that regardless of how hard they press the pedal, it does not respond. So, what makes this so be so, and how can it be fixed?

Why is the gas pedal hard to press?

There are several reasons why the gas pedal can be hard to push. To start, the cause of the problem will depend on the car you have and what controls its throttle body.

The car’s throttle body can be controlled by either a cable or just electronics. If the pedal is cable controlled and feels hard, then it means that there might be rust on the spring or cable that makes the pedal come back. 

When the gas pedal feels hard to press down, the throttle cable might be the issue. Problematic throttle cables are the common cause of a hard gas pedal.

The problem can be a kink in the cable, or the cable is not well adjusted to sustain the right amount of pressure. A throttle cable allows enough pressure to get through the line to allow for more effortless pressing of the paddle. 

When the pressure is too much, the gas pedal will become too hard to press. To ensure that the faulty throttle cable makes the pedal hard, you need to do some tests.

The first one is to assess the cable and see if you can locate any kink. Although the kink can be straightened, the problem is likely to reoccur after some time. 

After assessing the car and finding no abnormality, take your vehicle to a mechanic to check the pressure coming out of the cable. If none of the solutions can solve the problem, you will check for any present air filter issues. 

A dirty throttle body in the air intake system can as well cause a stiff gas pedal. When the throttle body is dirty, the cable might be hard to press.

The remedy to relieving the symptom is cleaning the throttle body well. In case the shift cable has too much free motion, the cable might not be moving enough at the transmission cable to select the drive.

To get this checked, take your car or call a professional mechanic to come and inspect the pedal. 

If the car pedal is electronically controlled, then the issue can be from the gas pedal itself. When the pedal is faulty, it will make the spring come back to its original position.

The other cause for a hard-to-press gas pedal can be the carpet on the gas pedal way. 

Other causes include:

1. Faulty or dirty Mass airflow sensor (MAF)

This sensor measures the amount of air flowing to the engine air intake system. And if the gas pedal is hard to press, then maybe the mass airflow sensor is faulty or dirty, therefore sending incorrect data to the vehicle’s internal computer while calculating the air-fuel mixture. 

2. Malfunction of the oxygen sensor

The sensor monitors the vehicle oxygen emissions to aid in analyzing the fuel-air ratio that passes through the engine and sending the feedback to the vehicle’s computer. When the sensor is faulty, the engine will be unable to analyze hence hard to press. 

3. Carbon build-up in the throttle body

This is one of the major reasons for a sticky gas pedal. When the carbon builds up excessively in the throttle body, it will interfere with the functioning of the butterfly valve. This will, in turn, make the gas pedal hard upon pressing. 

How to fix a gas pedal that is hard to push?

You will need to remove the throttle body and clean it properly; spray some throttle body cleaner around and on the butterfly valve and scrub it away using a soft brush or cloth. When the inside part of the throttle body becomes clean, it will start functioning normally. 

What are the costs to fix a gas pedal that is hard to push down?

The cost of fixing a gas pedal varies due to factors like your car’s location, the amount of damage it has, and the mechanic you visit. However, the entire process can cost about one hundred and thirty to two hundred dollars.

Labor costs are not very expensive and can cost about seventy to ninety dollars, and parts can cost some bucks ranging between fifty to one hundred and twenty dollars.

Since this varies, the exact cost will depend on the mechanic’s labor rate and the price for your vehicle pedal replacement model. 

Can the gas pedal get stuck if repairs are not made in time?

Yes, if your car’s gas pedal is faulty and you do not repair a gas pedal in time, it will get stuck or hard to press on. 

What is the most likely situation when the gas pedal can get stuck?

The most common causes of a gas pedal getting stuck can be as a result of the throttle body having dirtiness. Besides throttle body having issues, other parts such as gas pedal assembly and throttle cable may have developed damages.

There may be other causes such as worn-out parts of the gas pedal that is making it too stuck, therefore, the best way is to inspect to determine the exact problem.

Is there a way to fix a jammed accelerator pedal?

Every problem has a solution and so jammed the accelerator pedal. But, first of all, before we dive into how to fix a failed accelerator pedal, you have to know what causes it to jam.

The common cause of accelerator pedal jam is dirtiness on the throttle body. Therefore you can throttle body cleaner or a towel to remove the dirt affecting the throttle body. 

Here is a good way on how you can fix a jammed accelerator pedal, step by step;

  • Before beginning to clean the throttle body, disconnect the car battery
  • Find the large air-duct, usually in the engine bay
  • Disconnect the big air duct slowly
  • If any electrical wires, remove them
  • Confirm if the throttle body has any dirty like carbon elements
  • Use a towel or throttle body cleaner and wipe the surfaces
  • Use oil to lubricate the gas cable
  • Return the throttle plate and install the air duct again, and you are good to go


A sticking gas pedal can be a nuisance, especially when least expected. While it is a common issue in cars, it is dangerous and can cost you a lot to get things fixed in the right way.

The hard-to-press pedal might result from a damaged throttle cable, carburetor, throttle body, or gas pedal assembly. To fix it, you will need to perform a visual check to assess the cause of the issue before fixing it.

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