How to Clean a Throttle Body

How to Clean a Throttle Body

A dirty throttle body could be the reason why your automobile idles roughly. The throttle body regulates how much air the engine takes in, and when it’s unclean, the engine can’t idle properly. Therefore, think about spending 10 minutes cleaning the throttle body yourself using a spray can of throttle body cleanser and paper towels before you take the car to the shop. Performing a throttle body cleaning on your own could help you save a ton of money, and there’s a strong chance you’ll solve the issue.

How to Clean a Throttle Body

The throttle body becomes dirty in the following manner. Hot exhaust gases and unburned gasoline float to the top of an engine when it shuts down. Inside the throttle body, carbon deposits turn black and sooty when the vapors bake as a result of the engine’s heat. Follow the plastic duct up to the throttle body from the air filter housing. Locate the rotating mechanism and throttle cables by removing the duct. Spray the cleaning agent within the throttle body while rotating the throttle mechanism. Give it some time to work, then remove the debris.

Well, in this article, we’ll be looking at how to clean a throttle body. Be that as it may, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • Why should you clean a throttle body?
  • How do you set up your car for throttle body cleaning?
  • What are the tools needed to complete throttle body cleaning?
  • How to clean a throttle body?

Read more:  What does the Electronic Throttle Control Light mean? How to fix it

Without further ado, let’s get started


Why should you clean a throttle body?

Since the throttle body is crucial to the engine’s smooth operation, cleaning the throttle body is an essential component of vehicle maintenance. The throttle body’s job is to regulate the engine’s air intake. Vehicle performance is impacted when the throttle body isn’t operating at full capacity due to accumulated filth and carbon deposits.

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One of your car’s most trouble-free systems is its modern electronic fuel-injection system. However, if your car has more than 75,000 miles on it, you should think about performing some standard fuel-injection system maintenance. The two most frequent auto maintenance tasks are throttle-body and fuel-injector cleaning. Although cleaning fuel injectors is often not a DIY activity, you can use standard equipment and specialist spray cleansers to clean the throttle body on your car.

Throttle-body cleaning should improve engine drivability in addition to being a useful preventative auto maintenance procedure. A dirty throttle body may really be the cause of a rough idle, faltering early acceleration, or even stopping when the engine is fully warmed up. You might be shocked to see how much grime, gum, and varnish have gathered inside a throttle body over time.

Read more:  Understanding Intake Manifold

How do you set up your car for throttle body cleaning?

Your car should be parked outside in a level, well-lit place. We caution against carrying out this task inside due to the volatile nature of throttle-body cleaners. Find the throttle body in the engine area under the hood. Here are some tips on what to look for:

  • Between the engine’s air cleaner and the intake manifold is where the throttle body is situated.
  • Throttle bodies are often made of aluminum.
  • Your car’s gas pedal has a linkage or flexible cable that connects to the throttle body, which moves the throttle shaft when the gas pedal is depressed. Ask another individual to press the accelerator when the engine is off so you can watch the throttle shaft move if you’re having trouble finding the throttle body.

Look at the throttle body’s connection to the air intake tubes once you’ve located it in your car. Sometimes, specialized fasteners known as Torx-head screws are used to secure throttle bodies. If so, Torx bits or Torx screwdrivers are required in order to remove these fasteners. A flat-blade or Phillips-head screwdriver should work more frequently. There could be one or more electrical wires connecting to the throttle body.

You shouldn’t need to disconnect any of these terminals for the purposes of this task, so don’t interfere with them. Even while we always advise you to take all necessary safety precautions for these DIY projects, you should take particular care with this one. When working on your car, refrain from smoking, put on all the appropriate skin and eye protection, and remember that you are using a flammable spray cleaner.

Read more:  How Much Does a Car Tune-Up Cost

What are the tools and materials needed to complete throttle body cleaning?

How to Clean a Throttle Body


  • Cleaner for the throttle body. This ought to be available in the parts section of your local auto dealer or auto parts supply store. Carburetor cleaner shouldn’t be used.
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubber gloves
  • Household oil

Read more:  How to Clean a Mass Air Flow Sensor


  • Protective eyewear.
  • Flashlight.
  • Brush for cleaning small, delicate parts or a toothbrush. Note: Particular throttle-body cleaning brushes are available from several auto parts retailers. Hard-bristle brushes can damage some throttle bodies’ unique coatings.
  • Depending on the types of fasteners being used to join the throttle body to the intake “plumbing,” you may need screwdrivers, Torx bits, Torx screwdrivers, combination wrenches, or socket wrenches.

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How to clean a throttle body?

Here’s how to clean a throttle body once you’re prepared, and make sure to follow step by step and be cautious when needed: 

  • Park your car in an area outside where you will have plenty of space to access the engine compartment on each side.
  • Disconnect the negative (ground) battery terminal of your car as a safety measure.
  • Find and mark any tiny hoses that connect to the throttle body or to the air ducts you need to remove to reach the throttle body. You may either buy specialized labeling tape that makes it easier for you to remember which hose goes with which nozzle/coupling, or you can use masking tape to mark each hose and coupling.
  • Remove the air duct that is connected to the throttle body. Avoid disconnecting any electrical cables or terminals at any cost. Typically, a hose clamp of some kind is used to secure the air duct to the throttle body. This clamp can be released with a screwdriver, Torx-head wrench, Allen wrench, or other hand tool. In some cases, the air duct must be gently pulled and twisted out of the way in order to be removed. Some throttle bodies have hose clamp connections on both sides, making it possible to expose the throttle body for cleaning with just one side removed.
  • Do not continue with this task if you are unable to remove the air ducts and expose the throttle body. Allow a qualified technician to complete the work.
  • Remove just enough air ducting to make the throttle body visible. Be cautious not to harm any potential gaskets. Throttle bodies come in a wide variety of designs; some even have two blades (one of which may function with the traction-control system). Even some more modern vehicles include electronic throttle controls, also known as “drive by wire.” Despite all of these variations, you will most likely still expose a throttle body that looks very much like the one in the image.
  • Put on your rubber gloves and eye protection if you haven’t already. Spray the throttle-body cleanser inside the air duct once the throttle body has been made visible, then use the brushes to carefully remove any remaining debris, gum, or varnish. Be very careful not to allow anything, including the thin, plastic spray nozzle, to fall into the hole of the throttle body. Use paper towels to sometimes clean the residue.
  • Continue doing this until the internal surfaces are completely bare and metal-clean. Make use of the flashlight to clearly see your advancement.
  • Put a drop of household all-purpose oil on the shafts of the throttle shaft where it enters the throttle body before replacing the throttle-body ducts. Don’t go overboard when applying the oil; just a small amount will help keep the throttle blade rotating smoothly. Use a little cotton swab. It should be fine with one drop.
  • To clean up any residue and fluids that might have gotten on the engine or the surrounding components, use extra paper towels.
  • Reinstall the throttle-body ducts and tighten the hose clamps to the same level as previously. In other words, strive to tighten the fastener with the same amount of force as you used to loosen it.
  • Reconnect the battery and start the engine after you have secured everything and taken anything under the hood. As the cleaner fluid and any residue that may have gotten into the intake manifold are burned out, you can feel a first stumble or even a rough idle. In the worst scenarios, you might even smell white exhaust smoke. Additionally, if a battery is detached, the engine control computer frequently needs to “relearn” some parameters. That is typical.
  • For a few minutes, leave the engine idling. then go for a test drive in your car. You may or may not notice a difference in drivability and performance depending on how much filth, gum, and varnish was in your car’s throttle body, but keep in mind that this is a preventative maintenance effort to increase the long-term reliability of your vehicle.
  • You must clean and return all of your tools, including your wrenches. Dispose of the rubber gloves and paper towels properly. For another day, store the remaining throttle-body cleanser.

Read more:  Reasons a Car’s RPM Fluctuate While Driving

Watch the video below for more practical steps on how to clean a dirty throttle body

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Can I clean my throttle body myself?

Although cleaning fuel injectors is often not a DIY activity, you can use standard equipment and specialist spray cleansers to clean the throttle body on your car. Throttle-body cleaning should improve engine drivability in addition to being a useful preventative auto maintenance procedure.

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How do you clean a throttle body at home?

  • Disconnect the air duct. The air duct must be disconnected from the throttle body.
  • Apply throttle body cleaner by spraying. Find the throttle cables, then turn the throttle plate.
  • Dry the solvent off. To dry the spray solvent, eject compressed air into the throttle body.

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Can I use petrol to clean the throttle body?

It should be safe to blend gasoline in a 1:4 or 1:5 ratio with tune-up/injector cleaner. You won’t need much, and after you’re finished, you may pour the rest of the fluid into the gas tank.

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How do I know if my throttle body is dirty?

How do I know if my throttle body needs cleaning?

  • Grime Accumulation.
  • Low fuel efficiency.
  • High or Poor Idle.
  • Slow or uneven acceleration.
  • issues with the power.
  • Airflow Interruptions.
  • Check Engine light.

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Does the throttle body affect fuel consumption?

Yes, the throttle body can affect fuel consumption. The fuel-to-air ratio is influenced by how much air is let into the engine, which is controlled by the throttle body. Poor fuel economy might occur from an imbalance in fuel-to-air ratio caused by a dirty or defective throttle body. The throttle body of your car’s engine accumulates debris over time, which can reduce fuel efficiency and cause a harsh idle.

Read more: How To Reduce Black Smoke In Diesel Engines

What are the disadvantages of cleaning the throttle body?

If you neglect to thoroughly clean the throttle body or damage any components, the process may occasionally end in a rough idle. Sometimes after cleaning the throttle body, autos will idle poorly for a short while. The ECU can be reset to correct this.

Read more:  What does the ESP light mean? (Causes and how to fix it)

Does cleaning your throttle body improve performance?

Proper throttle body cleaning will aid in enhancing idle, acceleration, fuel efficiency, and any potential stalling issues. It is well worth the time and effort to clean the throttle body since your car will drive more smoothly and effectively and you will be saving money on fuel.

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The throttle body of your car should always be cleaned as part of routine maintenance to keep your engine running smoothly and effectively. You can make sure that your throttle body is clear of any accumulation that can impair performance by following the instructions in our guide. Before starting any maintenance or repairs, keep in mind to take all necessary safety precautions and refer to your vehicle’s manual. You can contribute to extending the lifespan of your car and profit from a well-maintained engine by taking a little more care and attention.

That is all for this article, in which we looked at how to clean a throttle body. Even so, the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • Why should you clean a throttle body?
  • How do you set up your car for throttle body cleaning?
  • What are the tools needed to complete throttle body cleaning?
  • How to clean a throttle body?

We hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!