Sometimes, you may find that the gas pedal is hard to reach while sitting comfortably. On the other hand, you may also want to have optimum control over the car’s throttle. Can you adjust the gas pedal height? Yes, you can. It is a simple procedure, and we will show you how to do it in a few easy steps.
The foot pedals in order are clutch, brake and accelerator, from left to right. This position does not change from left-hand to right-hand drive cars. Thus, a driver can shift from right-hand to left-hand drive cars without requiring different driving reflexes. So, unless the vehicle has undergone modification for a physical handicap, the gas pedal will always be under your right foot.
How Does The Gas Pedal Accelerate A Car?
Upon depressing the gas pedal, the throttle valve opens, thus increasing the fuel input to the engine. The further we push the pedal, the more fuel enters the combustion chamber. The extra gas combusted with the oxygen provides the power for acceleration.
Not all cars come equipped with identical mechanisms. Three different devices can control a car’s acceleration.
The first and widespread one is a cable connected to the throttle body or the carburettor butterfly valve. Another method is to connect the gas pedal to the fuel injector pump. Control the fuel flow rate, control the acceleration. In the absence of the throttle, the engine can intake as much air as needed.
The third and newest approach is via sensors on the accelerator pedal. Three different position sensors communicate with the ECU to decide the increase or decrease of engine power. In this way, the pedal has no mechanical connection with the engine. Rather than that, the link is electronic, which lets the manufacturer add safety measures into the system, thus reducing pedal error.
A Warning Before Any Modifications
According to the NHTSA, most of the 16000 annual collisions in the United States occur due to pedal errors on the driver’s part. During slow movement, the driver mistakenly depresses the gas pedal instead of the brake. As a result, in place of stopping, the car rushes forward into an accident. The unexpected motion of the vehicle increases the risk of harm to passengers and pedestrians alike.
The stock heights of the pedals take into account this possibility. The pedals’ original positions reduce pedal error on the road. When you adjust the gas pedal height, you should pay attention to its relative position with the brake pedal. The brake pedal should sit higher than the accelerator. If you move the gas pedal upwards by a significant amount, you need to do the same for the brake pedal.
How Can I Adjust The Gas Pedal Height?
If you ask yourself how to adjust your accelerator pedal, you have come to the right place. It is possible to make this kind of adjustment with commonplace tools available at home.
1. Adjusting The Pushrod
The first method to change the height of the gas pedal is via the pushrod that connects behind the pedal. Locate the pushrod at the back of the pedal assembly. Using a short wrench of the correct size, loosen the safety bolt at the end of the pushrod. Rotate the bolt in the anticlockwise direction to raise the pedal, and vice versa for lowering it.
Upon achieving the desired height of the pedal, tighten the safety bolt again. Please note that raising the gas pedal also increases the leverage on it. Take care not to overdo it since your pedal would become too tight to operate comfortably.
2. Using The Adjustment Button
Some car models equip a pedal height change system. If your car has it, look for a button with a foot-on-a-pedal sign. This control’s location is probably under the climate controls on the instrument panel. You might find it near the steering column as well.
Use the button to move the pedals to a comfortable height. For reasons of safety, do not employ this feature while the car is moving. Anyway, the pedal movement control is likely to be unresponsive with the ignition turned on.
3. A New Gas Pedal
The pushrod has only a minor amount of play so, the pushrod adjustment method may not make enough of a difference for you. You can go the way of fabricating a new gas pedal. Automobile shops or garages will have the necessary equipment for this purpose. You have to specify the height you require. With that in hand, they can engineer the pedal for you.
There are many complexities in this approach. It is because quite a few modifications are necessary to install a new pedal. However, since the pedal will be tailor-made for you, you can expect a lot more precision from it. Always remember, thoroughly test-drive the design before you finalise it.
Check For Restricted Movement
When you have completed all the steps to adjust the gas pedal height, you should check a few things.
- The gas pedal should be free to move through its complete arc. There must be no restriction on it due to the sidewall of the driver’s space.
- It should also not conflict with the movement of the brake pedal.
- When you floor the gas pedal, the throttle must open fully.
- The brake pedal should be a small distance higher than the gas pedal to avoid pedal error.
- There needs to be minuscule free play in the throttle cable, as mentioned below.
A Few Common Questions
Once you have gone through this article on gas pedal modifications, some questions are bound to have crossed your mind. We will try to answer the most asked questions for your convenience.
Is Adjusting Car Pedals Legal?
Yes, there are no legal restrictions on gas pedal adjustment. However, if an accident occurs and the modifications to the gas pedal have hindered the safe operation of your vehicle, you will be liable for any damage. It can make you ineligible for an insurance claim.
A Higher Brake Pedal
Why is the brake pedal higher than the accelerator pedal? Car manufacturers install brake pedals higher to prevent any unintentional depression of the accelerator during braking. It is a proven method to reduce pedal error in critical situations.
However, it is not a mandatory specification. So, you may, indeed, come across vehicles where this precaution is not present.
How Do You Tighten An Accelerator Cable?
If you merely wish to tighten the accelerator cable, there is a convenient way to do it. You will need two 12mm spanners (or another appropriate size) to shift the attachment point of the cable. This way, it will have the correct tension. Follow the steps in the video, which describes two different methods to achieve your goal.
Now, you should take care that the cable is without slack but also not stretched. It requires a specific tension to operate accurately. With the correct amount of strain applied, you should snug the locknuts. Then, slide the dust covers, if any, back over the adjusters.
How tight should the accelerator cable be?
The accelerator cable must be appropriately tensioned to keep 2-3mm of free play in the throttle grip. Also, make sure that when the pedal is fully depressed, the throttle should be fully open. Otherwise, you could drive around without ever achieving full throttle. It would be a careless loss of engine performance.
Should Your Heel Be On The Floor When Driving?
For correct and precise control over the foot pedals, your heel needs to be resting on the floor when you drive. Comfortably keep your right heel at a central location on the floor between the gas and brake pedals. In this way, you can rotate your foot upon the heel to manipulate either the brake or accelerator.
Cost Of Adjusting the Gas Pedal Height
If you only wish to adjust the pushrod behind the pedal, you can do it free of cost. Using the pedal adjustment button has no charge either, of course. On the other hand, if you fabricate a new gas pedal, the cost can run up to $300. Tuning the car throttle response will have you spending in the range of $200 to $500. It depends on the make and model of your car.
Now you know how you can adjust the gas pedal height if you need to. As long as you take the necessary precautions, it is safe to do so. However, if you feel unsure about adjusting the pedal components, you can consult a professional mechanic.
Proper factory specifications are lost when you modify the accelerator pedal assembly. Although, it is acceptable if it serves your purpose. Do not forget. Not following the precautions can result in a severe accident. Other than that, you are good to go.