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How to Clean the Throttle Body and Why You Need To

The throttle body is what allows varying amounts of air into your engine. There will be a cable attached to it from the gas pedal and another from the transmission. The one from the transmission is typically called the ‘kickdown cable’, because it tells the transmission when to kickdown to a lower gear. When you press down on the gas hard enough and quickly enough the kickdown cable is pulled tight and tells the transmission to downshift.

So why should you care if your throttle body is dirty. You can’t even see it, right? Right, but your engine cares and it will let you know. Is the accelerator sometimes stiff when you start to push it? Fine otherwise be a little stiff at first? Does your engine stumble and shudder? And if your like most people, your thinking “Not now. I don’t have time to mess with a mechanic and rental car and all those expenses.” Well, keep on reading this might be something you can tackle your self in about 15 minutes in the driveway with a $3.00 can of spray throttle body cleaner. Here’s how…



The first step in every thing you do is to gather your tools and the other items that are necessary. We need a basic small socket set or flathead screwdriver, a clean shop rag, an old toothbrush, disposable gloves (if you are allergic to dirt), and a can of Carb & Throttle Body cleaner.

It’s always a good idea to disconnect the negative battery cable when you’re doing anything under the hood. You won’t see that step in the video because our mechanic says his middle name is Danger.

Remove the air duct tube. It usually just attached with hose clamps.

Remove the air collector from the throttle body.

Inspect the inside of the throttle body. Using the throttle linkage, open the throttle plate, and take a good close look for sensors, o-rings and anything else you could damage.

Spray the cleaner on the both sides of the throttle plate and the sides of the throttle body. Work the plate open and closed and spray the pins that attach it to the body. Use a toothbrush, or any small soft brush, to scrub the inside down really good. You don’t have to use a lot of pressure.

Use the clean rag to wipe the gunk out. Repeat the spraying and wiping steps until everything is clean. Pay special attention to the outside edges of the throttle plate and the area that it is against in the throttle body when closed. You may have to spray and wipe 6 or 8 times.

When everything is clean, reassemble the air collector and air duct tube. If your middle name is not Danger, reattached the negative battery cable make sure everything is clear and start the engine. It may stumble a bit at first, but that’s just the cleaner clearing out of the system. Rev the engine a few times to 2500 or 3000 rpms and it should clean out nicely.

If that was your problem just think about how much chaos, time and money you just saved yourself. Check out the video below to see how truly easy this really is.

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