How to Clean a Throttle Body (10 Steps DIY)

Cleaning the throttle body can improve the fuel consumption and lead to a smoother engine. Here is a step-to-step guide of how to clean your throttle body at home

How To Clean A Throttle Body

The throttle body is an essential part of the car, which 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 slightly impaired, your car may not run properly.

A new throttle body is costly, and it is widespread that these 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

Done Throttle Body

Cleaning a throttle body can save you a lot of money instead of replacing it. Here is a full guide of how you can clean your throttle body in 10 easy steps.

Total Time: 20 minutes

  1. Locate Throttle Body

    Throttle Body Locate

    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.

  2. Remove the Big Intake Hose

    Throttle Body Close

    After you 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.

  3. Remove throttle body (Optional)

    Remove Throttle Body

    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, remove the screws holding it and the electrical connector. Sometimes coolant and vacuum hoses are connected to it, which you have to remove.

  4. Open the throttle body flap

    Open Throttle Body Flap

    Open the flap either with a screwdriver or with your finger like the picture so you can access to clean it properly. If you decided not to remove the throttle body, this might be slightly more difficult than removing it.

  5. Spray Throttle body cleaner

    Spray Throttle Body

    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 what the instruction on your throttle body cleaner says.

  6. Clean the throttle body

    Clean Throttle Body

    After you 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.

  7. Install throttle body Again (Optional)

    Install Throttle Body

    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 after the torque specs in the repair manual. Refill coolant if it poured out a lot when you removed it.

  8. Install Intake Hose Again

    Install Hose

    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.

  9. Throttle body calibration

    Car Diagnostic

    Most cars need a throttle body calibration after the cleaning is done. Some car models do this automatically when you recycle 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 bad after the cleaning, you might need to get it calibrated with an OBD2 scanner.

  10. Clear trouble codes and test drive

    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 made a successful throttle body cleaning and saved some money!

Which Throttle Body Cleaner to use?

There are many throttle cleaners on the market, so it is difficult to distinguish a bad one from a good one. The one I recommend is the CRC Throttle body cleaner, which you can find on Amazon.

Crc 05078 Throttle Body And Air-Intake...
1,445 Reviews
CRC 05078 Throttle Body and Air-Intake...
  • Cleans gum and varnish from the throttle...
  • For easier starting and smoother engine...
  • Cleans air-intakes, throttle valves,...
  • Safe for use on coated throttle bodies.

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.

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Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.