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Can You DIY Throttle Body Cleaning?

Educational  ·  April 24, 2023

Can You DIY Throttle Body Cleaning?

A reliable air intake is crucial for all internal combustion engines. The throttle body controls that air intake according to how much you step on the accelerator pedal. As you can imagine, anything with airflow will eventually get dirty and require a thorough cleaning.

You can clean a throttle body yourself as a DIY task, using protective gear like gloves and safety glasses, basic cleaning tools like rags and toothbrushes, and a specialised throttle body cleaning spray. You can purchase the spray online or at any automotive supply store.

Reading this guide, you'll learn more about DIY throttle body cleaning. That includes the supplies and tools you'll need and the steps you must follow. Lastly, you'll learn the symptoms of a dirty throttle body you can resolve with careful cleaning.

Can You Clean a Throttle Body Yourself?

Yes, cleaning a throttle body is something you can do yourself as a DIY task. You don't need any specialised workshop tools to get the job done. Instead, you can thoroughly clean the throttle body using basic items you already have in your garage.

With that said, you’ll want to be cautious around specific components, like the sensors on a throttle body. You want to avoid getting those parts wet to limit corrosion or accidentally damaging them while you clean the throttle body.

As long as you're careful and understand what you're doing, you should be fine. Aside from this article, you can also find many visual guides for cleaning throttle bodies, including those for your particular vehicle brand and model.

What Materials Do You Need to Clean a Throttle Body?

As you read earlier, you can get the job done and only need a few items to clean a throttle body, such as:

  1. Protective gear: You’ll want to protect your hands and eyes when cleaning a throttle body. So, rubber gloves and eye protectors will serve you well when performing this cleaning task.
  2. Specialised cleaning products: You should also have specialised throttle body cleaning products, such as specially-formulated sprays for removing dirt and grime from inside the throttle body.
  3. Wiping tools: Lastly, you’ll need tools for wiping and scrubbing. A clean microfiber cloth and toothbrush are enough to do the trick.

Once you have these things ready, you can start cleaning your car’s throttle body.

How Do You Clean a Throttle Body? 5 Easy Steps

The process of cleaning a throttle body involves 5 steps. Take your time in going through each step, especially if this is your first time cleaning the throttle body yourself.

So, if you’ve ever asked, “What is a throttle body service?” you’re in luck. Here’s what that process looks like whether you’re getting it done at a professional workshop or doing it yourself at home:

Step 1: Prepare

The cleaning process begins with careful preparation. Firstly, you’ll want to wear your protective gear and ensure your tools and supplies are within reach.

Next, it also helps to ensure your engine bay is well-lit, so you won’t miss a spot when cleaning the throttle body.

Step 2: Access

With everything prepared, you can now gain access to the throttle body, locating it and removing the rubber air intake attached to it.

Finding it can be pretty challenging on some car models, especially if this is your first time performing this cleaning task.

Step 3: Move the Throttle to Open Position

After accessing the throttle body, you must then move the throttle to the open position. Do not do that by opening the throttle plate manually with your hands. That can trigger an error with the onboard computer, causing more problems later.

Instead, you need to step on the gas pedal inside the vehicle. You can do that yourself, though having a helper do it for you would be more convenient.

The goal is to open the throttle enough to clean it inside without obstructions.

Step 4: Clean the Throttle Body

Now comes the fun part: cleaning throttle body parts covered in dirt, grime, and debris. Take your specialised throttle body cleaning product and spray a decent amount inside the throttle body.

Remember that you don’t have to spray too much of it into the throttle body lest you could flood the engine with the cleaner and cause problems later.

Instead, spray the throttle body and its plate 3-4 times. Then, give the spray a few moments to break down the dirt and grime before wiping it away with a cloth. You can use a toothbrush to remove stubborn dirt stains.

Step 5: Reattach

Once you’re confident that the throttle body is sufficiently clean, reattach the rubber air intake you removed earlier in Step 2. Double-check any clamps or screws to ensure that everything is attached tightly.

Lastly, start the engine and ensure that everything is working correctly.

What Are the Symptoms of a Dirty Throttle Body?

Cleaning the dirty throttle body in your car can resolve many symptoms associated with a dirty throttle body. 

Considering how the throttle body controls the engine’s air intake, keeping it clean is crucial. Here are the symptoms of a dirty throttle body that thorough cleaning can easily resolve:

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is straightforward: You can clean your car’s throttle body as a DIY task. All it takes is some protective and essential tools you likely already own. The job is also much easier with a specialised throttle body cleaning spray that you can buy from your local auto supplies store.

Alternatively, you can hire a professional mechanic to clean your car’s throttle body. Find local workshops using the CarpartAu Directory and contact them directly. You can get the best prices by calling to see what different workshops charge for this particular cleaning service.

If you need good quality secondhand throttle body replacements, this is the best place to come looking! Just type “throttle body” on the search bar, and you’ll be spoilt for choice.


By Ray Hasbollah

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