The throttle body is an essential part of the car. It plays a key role in your car’s performance.
It controls the amount of air that is admitted to the ignition chamber. The air path is blocked by a valve that turns slightly or completely, depending on how hard you press the pedal.
The throttle body must therefore be in top condition. If it is even slightly impaired, your car may not run properly.
A new throttle body is costly, and it can often get dirty, so it can definitely be worth a chance to try cleaning it. Here is a guide on how to clean your throttle body:
How to Clean a Throttle Body
Cleaning a throttle body can save you a lot of money instead of replacing it. Here is a full guide explaining how you can clean your throttle body in 10 easy steps.
Total Time: 20 minutes
Locate Throttle Body
The first thing you need to do is to locate the throttle body. The throttle body is located on the intake manifold. You can often locate it by looking for a big intake hose going to the intake.
Remove the Big Intake Hose
After you have located the throttle body, loosen the clamp from the big hose and remove the hose so you can access and see the throttle body. It should look something similar to the picture.
Remove throttle body (Optional)
This part is optional. Either you can remove the throttle body and do a proper cleaning, or you can let it sit and clean it installed on the intake manifold. It is your decision. Be very careful not to drop anything into the intake manifold if you decide not to remove it.
Removing it is often pretty straightforward. Simply remove the screws holding it and the electrical connector. Sometimes coolant and vacuum hoses are connected to it, which you must also remove.
Open the throttle body flap
Open the flap – either with a screwdriver, or with your finger as shown in the picture – so you can access it to clean it properly. If you decided not to remove the throttle body, this might be slightly more difficult than removing it.
Spray Throttle body cleaner
Open your can of throttle body cleaner or some other cleaner, like brake cleaner, for example. Spray both sides of the throttle body flap and let it sit for 5 minutes, or whatever the instruction on your throttle body cleaner says.
Clean the throttle body
After you have waited for some time, take a cloth or paper and start to clean it. Make sure that you clean both the flap valve and the sides of the throttle body sides. The edges of the valve flap are the most important place to clean it.
Install throttle body Again (Optional)
When you are satisfied with your cleaning results, it is time to install the throttle body again. Ensure that you install all hoses correctly, and tighten the bolts in accordance with the torque specs in the repair manual. Refill coolant if a significant amount poured out when you removed the throttle body.
Install Intake Hose Again
Install the intake hose again and tighten the clamp again. If you have a turbo engine, you need to make sure that both the hose and the throttle body are free from grease and dirt on the surface where the hose sits; otherwise, it might pop off because of the turbo pressure.
Throttle body calibration
Most cars need a throttle body calibration after the cleaning is done. Some car models do this automatically when you cycle the ignition, so you can try recycling the ignition a couple of times to see if it gets calibrated. However, if your car runs really poorly after the cleaning, you might need to get it calibrated with an OBD2 scanner.
Clear trouble codes and test drive
Once the throttle body is calibrated, you should clear the trouble codes if you have a diagnostic scanner. Take your car for a test drive and look for any signs of a problem or warning lights on your dashboard. If everything seems fine, you have successfully completed a throttle body cleaning and saved some money!
How Do You Clean The Throttle Body Without Removing it?
If you want to clean the throttle body without removing it, the process is almost the same, but you have to be more careful. Open the throttle body valve with a screwdriver and gently spray the throttle body cleaner and remove dirt with a cloth. However, be very careful not to drop the cloth into the intake manifold.
The trick to cleaning a throttle body without removing it is to not spray too much cleaner and to be very careful not to drop anything into the intake. You may also want to let the vehicle sit for a couple of hours afterward to make sure the throttle body cleaner dries up.
If you drop something in the intake manifold and can’t remove it, you need to remove the intake manifold and remove the object before trying to start the engine.
Which Throttle Body Cleaner to use?
There are many throttle cleaners on the market, so it is difficult to distinguish a good one from a bad one. The one I recommend is the CRC Throttle body cleaner, which you can find on Amazon.
The brand name CRC is very popular among car enthusiasts. They produce first-class throttle body cleaners, so there is no doubt about the performance of their products.
Most professional mechanics also use this cleaner and prefer it to others. The CRC throttle cleaner works quickly as soon as it is sprayed on and removes blockages from the pipes leading to the combustion chamber. When you use CRC throttle cleaner, your engine gets a new lease of life.