How To Clean A Throttle Body: Tips And Techniques

​Does your engine stumble upon acceleration?

Is it also rough? Is your Check Engine light on? Then you might have problems with your throttle body. In this case, you should clean it right away. If you don't clean it right away, it might lead to other problems that will make your engine function improperly.

The problem is, you don’t know how to clean a throttle body. You don’t know whether to clean it manually, or even do it yourself. You don’t have to worry because in this article I will help you by creating a step by step guide on cleaning a throttle body.


How important is a Throttle Body?

You have to clean the throttle body if the engine stumbles through acceleration, the engine idle is rough, or if when the Check Engine Light comes on. Fuel injected cars rely on a clean and fully-functional throttle body so each cylinder would have fuel/air mixture supply. We can infer that it is a vital component in the trend of fuel injection systems. It's what we call the carburetor in these type of cars that controls that air and fuel flow into the injection manifold.

The fuel injection system gains its popularity during the year 1980s. It is then have grown into electronically, finely tuned machines that paved the way for an efficient improvement in burning fuel. Decades passed, the efficiency reached 70%.

The throttle body's function or mechanical design did not change. However, the most important thing to note is it should be kept completely cleaned.

Dirty Throttle Body, Its Symptoms

If your throttle body is dirty, it limits the flow of fuel-air that comes within the engine. This causes the symptoms which can affect the vehicle's overall operation. These are the common signs that your throttle body needs cleaning:

#1 Trouble Shifting Into Higher Gears

A dirty throttle body will affect the car's shifting first. Most of the today's engine are monitored by computer systems and sensors. If your throttle body is not clean, the engine RPM brand is lowered. This causes the engine to falter. It also delays the vehicle's supposed time to change into a higher gear.

#2 Engine Idle is Rough

If a throttle body is not clean, the engine idle is rough. Why? It's because there is an excess carbon build-up on the throttle body, housing or blades. To be able to remove the carbon build up, you should get the throttle body cleaned up.

#3 Engine Falters During Acceleration

A dirty throttle body affects the engine harmonics and fuel flow due to the excess carbon. Take this as an obvious example: if the engine accelerates, the RPM rate is supposed to increase so that that engine horsepower will be efficiently applied to systems like drive axles and transmission. A dirty throttle negatively affects the interplaying of these systems, making it rough. The result: the engine falters when it passes through the power band.

#4 Check Engine Light is On

When the throttle body dirty, it triggers a reaction in the injection system. It illuminates "Check Engine" light or "Reduced Power" light.

So, those are the few of the symptoms of a dirty throttle. If you're experiencing those things, it means that you have to clean your throttle body. So, these are your cleaning options: clean it while still installed in a vehicle, do a certified mechanic body if the throttle body is electronically operated.

Materials You Need When Cleaning the Throttle Body

This tutorial would focus on cleaning the throttle body even if it is in the vehicle. But first, how do you now if the throttle body is not electronically operated but manually? The direct answer is, the throttle body is controlled by a throttle cable which is attached to an electronic throttle control or gas pedal.

Why do you still have to know this? The electronic throttle body is calibrated with a strongly bonded clearance on its blades. If you do a manual cleaning, you'll clean the blades. The result: the throttle body will not work correctly. What do I recommend? Uninstall the throttle body and then clean it.

If you want to clean the throttle body personally, you will need some equipments:

• throttle body cleaner, two cans

• screwdrivers

shop rags (clean)

• replacement air filter

• end wrench set

• ratchet and socket set

Step by Step Instructions on Cleaning the Throttle Body(Parts of a Throttle Body

Step 1: Uninstall Battery Cables

You would be working under your vehicle's hood so that you would be close to electrical connections. First thing first, removes the battery cables which can be found from battery terminals.

Step 2: Remove the intake tube, mass air flow sensor, and the filter cover.

Eliminate the clips that hold the air filter housing onto the base. Remove the clips or connections to secure the mass air flow sensor and lower intake hose.

Step 3: Remove air intake hose.

Loosen the air intake hose, once it's dining take the intake hose off the throttle body. This typically comes with a hose clamp. So, lose this clamp until the hose can be taken apart from the throttle body's outer lip.

Step 4: Remove all air intake housing of the car

When all the connections loosen up, remove the entire air intake from the vehicle's engine compartment. Place it somewhere else but make sure you can find it after because after a moment you would be reinstalling it after the cleaning operation.

Step 5: Substitute Air Filter

One of the reasons the dirty throttles is causing troubles to your vehicle is because of a dirty air filter. The best idea is to install a new air filter every time you do the cleaning. Once the cleaning is done, the engine will run at its best state. To be able to use the right air filter, check the vehicle service manual.

Step 6: Clean the Throttle Body

Cleaning the throttle body is simple. The throttle body might be different from the manufacturer from the other; the process is somewhat similar.

Spray the cleaner on the throttle body intake's inside. Spray the throttle housing and throttle blades with lots of cleaners before you will clean it with a rag.

Soak the cleaner for 2 minutes. Spray the cleaner on your rag, and then you may now start cleaning the throttle body. Start with the inner housing, then wipe all surface.

Using the throttle control, open the throttle blades. Carefully wipe the outside and inside of the blades but also aggressively enough to be able to remove the carbon that has been clumped. Continue adding cleaner on the rag when you notice that the rag is drying up, especially if the carbon build-up is thick.

Step 7: Check the Throttle Body's Edges

After you're done cleaning the body's housing, it's now the time to inspect the throttle blade. Clean the blade's edges if necessary. Check the body blade's edges for nicks, pits, and damages. If there's a damaged part, replace the part immediately.

Step 8: Clean the Control Valve of the Throttle

While you're still cleaning the throttle, you need to uninstall and inspect the control valve of the throttle. When you're done removing it, it is time to clean the inner housing in the same process. After cleaning it, reinstall it.

Step 9: Resetting-up

After you're done cleaning the throttle body and the control valve, it is time to install all the components and test the throttle body's performance. You should follow the installation in the inverse manner to easily achieve this. Attach and tighten the intake hose to the throttle body. Connect the airflow sensor. Re-install the air filter housing cover. Put the battery cables again.

Now that you’re done cleaning the throttle body, you’re now ready to take the engine to a test. First, start the engine. There might be some smoke that comes from your exhaust. This is because of extras of throttle body cleaner. The engine should be consistent and smooth. If you test drives the vehicle, check if the engine climbs the RPM brand. Test the vehicle by driving it for at least 15 miles. If you're done verifying that the system works, then you're ready to go.

Cleaning the throttle can be easy but a little intricate too. All you have to do is follow the guide I listed above then you won’t have that much problem. Remember, though, that if you don’t know how to clean it yourself, you can call experts who can clean it for you especially if the throttle body is electronically controlled one. However, if you’re confident enough, you can just follow the guide above but be careful in doing each step.

I hope that you find this article a pleasant and helpful one. If you have more questions, suggestions, and comments, don’t shy away from putting it in the comment box below. If you have experiences with cleaning throttle body before, share it with me too.

About the Author Chris Lawrence

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