How To Clean Throttle Body Properly?

Every morning you get into your car, start the engine and go to work. That is a normal routine, no big deal.

But one day your car starts stalling after every couple of miles. Even before this happen, you may have noticed that your car engine has quite a rough start up. One common cause that may result in these symptoms is a dirty throttle body.

Want to know how to clean a throttle body as well as its function? Then you may find this article useful. You will see a short explanation on the throttle body and detailed instruction on how to clean it.

1. The Function of Throttle Body

The primary purpose of the throttle body is to control the flow of air the engine takes in. If it gets dirty your car cannot have a smooth start up.

And why it gets dirty you ask? As each time the engine got shutdown, unused fuel, exhaust gas or even airborne dirt get blown to the top of the engine.

Under the engine heat, they will slowly accumulate into black carbon deposit in the throttle body. Needless to say, without proper cleaning air efficiency in the throttle body will definitely drop.

Since the air the engine requires cannot reach it in a sufficient amount, the engine will be air – starved and vibrate a lot; this is why your engine has a rather rough start up.

And when it reaches the limit, the stall will kick in and you engine simply cannot run normally anymore. Therefore, it’s necessary to check the throttle body regularly.

Related: How To Cheat Emissions Test

2. The Location of Throttle Body

There are 2 things modern fuel – injecting engine requires cleaning after some time: the fuel injector and the throttle body.

While accessing fuel injector is mostly a specialist job, you can reach and check throttle body comparably easy. It lies between the intake manifold and the air cleaner, quite visible when you open the hood.

And in the case that you can’t find it, ask someone to hit the accelerator. The throttle shaft will start moving afterwards.

There maybe some electrical wires connect to the throttle body, you should leave them alone since they won’t interfere with your cleaning.

Refer: Best Fuel Injector Cleaner

3. Preparations

* IMPORTANT: Due to the existence of possible unburned fuel and flammable material, you should do this process outdoors or in non – airtight places. Don’t smoke or use any spark – generated devices while you are cleaning the throttle body.

There are 5 tools any car owner should have to maintain their cars. Those are screwdriver, toothbrush, eyes protection, gloves and a flashlight.

Since some throttle body have a special fastener that may require a tool called Torx screwdriver. Some oils, cleaning liquids and papers are also useful things to get rid of the dirt.

4. Start Cleaning

As a precaution measure, you should disconnect the negative (or the ground terminal) of your vehicle.

Disable every electrical device in your car as well, just to be on the safe side. Remember that you are working in a volatile environment so don’t take any chance of risky incident.

Step 1

Locate and take note of all hoses connecting to the throttle body or the air duct. It’s quite important to know which hoses get to which holes. 

You really don’t want to spend hours trying to figure out how to re – connect the hoses. You can try to use a label mark or some duct tapes will do just fine.

Step 2

 Remove the air duct gently. As stated above, stay focus so as not to accidentally disconnect any of the electrical wires.

For most of the times, the air duct is held tight by some kinds of clamp mechanism, remember to remove it first. You can use the wrench, Torx screw driver, Allen wrench, etc.

In case both sides of the throttle body are connected to the air duct then you only need to remove one side to exam and clean the throttle body.

IMPORTANT: This is possible for most types of engines but if you happen to have a really hard time removing the air duct and the hoses then you may want to look for professional assistance instead of keep forcing it out.

Step 3

Now you can move the air duct around. Don’t take it all out but just move it enough so that you can have a comfortable access to the throttle body.

While there are indeed many types of throttle bodies. Some modern ones even under computer controlled.

Still, the overall design is the same and so is the cleaning process. However, it’s vital that you have to cut off the energy entirely.

Step 4

Now the throttle body has been exposed. Put on your eyes protection and gloves if you haven’t already done.

Since you will work directly with possible hazard material, keep the air around you well ventilated by a fan or something. If everything has been done, it’s time to clean the throttle body.

Spray in some cleaning liquids then use a rag to gently dislocate all the dirt inside the throttle body. Use the flashlight to check every nook and cranny of the throttle body to make sure you don’t miss any spot.

Then use a piece of paper to clean it around for some time to remove the entire residue. Repeat the process until you see the interior metal surface of the throttle body clearly.

Step 5

Put in a drop of oil on the point of contact between throttle shaft and the throttle body. This will help smoothen the action and reduce the vibrating.

Don’t overdo it, one drop is enough. Use paper to clean any spilled oils and apply cleaning liquids into the surrounding engine parts.

Step 6

 Do all the steps up until now in reverse. Re – connect the air duct and re – screw the clamp. Try to attain the same tightness as before.

Remember how much force you put in to loosen the screws? Now use the same amount of force to re screw it back in.

Also keep in mind as before: Do this gently and carefully so as not to mess up the electrical wires.

Step 7

Put the hoses back in its correct holes and remove any tool and material on the engine surface. Re – attach the battery and check your engine start – up.

You may feel a bit rough at the beginning due to some residues or liquids still remaining in the throttle body are being burned off.

In any cases, the engine must “re – learn’ the fitness and the compatibility of its parts, especially if you are using computer – assisted system. In the end, it will start up just fine.

5. Test Drive

Now you have thoroughly cleaned the throttle body, you may take your car out and give it a few rounds around the block to check the smoothness of the engine.

Since it depends on how often you clean the throttle body and the volume of dirt accumulated in it, you may or may not feel the improved performance of the engine.

Still, if your engine has experienced repeated stalls before the cleaning then you definitely see a substantial improvement in the drivability of the car.


We all want to have a good time with our cars in daily life. Yet after some time in use, our car engine may keep vibrating a lot then stalling.

Anytime in our cars, it is always a great annoyance and negatively affects our daily activities. Nevertheless, the solution to this nuisance is so simple, just regularly exam and clean the throttle body.

With just a little work on it, our car engine will be working as well as a new one, smoothly and reliably.

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