Tacoma Throttle Lag – What Is It & How To Fix It

How To Identify Poor Gas Pedal Response and Two Solutions For The Problem

If you’re a lucky owner of a 3rd Gen Tacoma, then you have likely experienced the poor throttle response that the truck has from the factory. The inability to get more immediate power during certain inputs leaves the truck to have poor acceleration and a late power introduction during critical times.

Luckily, there are options out on the market that aim to solve this common issue by introducing modifications that change the response to give off a more consistent input. Today we’re going to examine why it happens and some of the options on how to fix it along with which one will be best for you and your truck!

Let’s get started.

What Is Throttle Lag?

Throttle lag is the result of manufacturers modernizing vehicles and their components moving to a “drive-by-wire” technology. The days of throttle cables have since been fazed out, transitioning to a design that relays a signal from the pedal through wires and into the controller. The computer knows how much input is applied via the pressure placed onto the pedal and transfers the input to the engine management system.

The issue that arises is the delay of the electronic signals and their effects. The driver presses on the gas and the signal is sent (but with a delay) until it is transferred to power. To put lag into simple words, it’s the time delay between you pushing the pedal and when the system responds.

When Does Throttle Lag Happen?

Now that we understand what it is and why it happens let’s talk about when it happens.

While it can be recognizable at most inputs it’s usually most prominent during certain speeds and RPMs. In the range of 40-70 mph primarily when accelerating onto a freeway or attempting to get around slower traffic is where I notice it most. The depression of the accelerator is followed by a couple seconds of lag before the power actually is engaged and the RPM shoots up.

How To Fix

Luckily for us, we’re covered for when it comes to a solution for this common problem. The two main options to solve this issue are a throttle controller or a tune. While they’re quite similar they also share some differences that maybe a deciding factor for you when it comes to purchasing one or the other.

Throttle Response Controllers

A throttle controller is a device that interrupts the connection between your pedal and wiring harness and connects to a controller that modulates the electronic signal, and ultimately the response. There are loads of companies out there that produce these controllers all with the same goal in mind.

Personally, I’ve got one of the more popular options – the Pedal Commander. Pedal Commander is a SoCal-based company that has been around for a while now. This small device packs a punch – several different performance levels and features. Having 4 modes, they all incrementally increase the response times/sensitivities. You’re also able to change these settings on the unit, or via an app.

Throttle controllers are easily installed/removed, have simple setting modifications  (customizable), and are usually cheaper than the alternative (a tune).

Find It Online


If you’ve poked around at all, you’ve probably seen the word tune mentioned before. Some popular tunes out there include the OTT, KDMAX, etc. These can be added to your vehicle only with a certified installer, as the tune overwrites certain factory programming/parameters. They can be found on Facebook or other social media like Instagram.

Tuning alters more than just the throttle inputs. Since you are dealing with the car’s computer, it allows for other modifications, like transmission shift points. While this can benefit some, others may not like the new driving experience and inability to make adjustments on the fly.

Tunes can range from roughly $400 to $600 (depending on where you go). Personally, everyone I’ve talked to who has a tune on their truck enjoys it, and says it’s one of their favorite mods. Just depends on what exactly you’re looking for.

Find It Online

Final Thoughts

White 3rd Gen Tacoma Overland Build With ARE Truck Topper/Cap

It’s evident that the throttle lag is one of the most annoying features on our trucks. With a few options out there, deciding which is best for you comes down to preference and driving style. I’ve been happy with my Pedal Commander and it’s certainly made driving a more pleasurable experience.

Happy Trails!

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