Amateur Mechanics: Cleaning the Throttle Body



Not every subcompact enthusiast is a wiz in the garage as well. And that can’t be helped. Unfortunately not all of us can find the time in our busy schedules to learn all the ins and outs of our automobiles. So to help out a bit, I thought i’d put up a useful post which could help you keep your car in shape and maybe save you a few bucks in the process.


For those of you who don’t know, the throttle body is very important in terms of your car’s efficiency. In a classic spark ignition gas engine, the throttle body is the part of the air intake system that basically controls how much air travels through the engine’s combustion chamber. It is made up of a solid metal bored housing, which has a throttle plate, or “butterfly” that rotates on top of a shaft. When you hit the gas, the butterfly opens up, allowing air to flow into the engine. When you come off the gas, the butterfly closes again and basically stops – or “throttles” – airflow into the combustion chamber. In effect this whole process controls the speed of the engine and essentially, the speed of your car.


Therefore, because the throttle body is so important to your vehicle, they can be very expensive to replace. But if you take care of yours, you really shouldn’t have to do this very often at all. Now, to locate the throttle body, find your air intake and follow the hose up to a metal structure; that’s it. Remove your air filter and knock some of the dirt out of it. Next, with a screwdriver, detach the air hose which connects to the throttle body. You should now be looking at the throttle body. If you haven’t cleaned it before, it will probably be quite black. Attach the spray straw to whichever choke cleaner you are using, spray liberally, and scrub away. After you’ve done this, wipe away any excess with tissue, remembering to give the top of the butterfly a clean as well. The next step can be a little tricky: prop the throttle open with a large screwdriver and spray clean past the butterfly valve. You’ll need to use a toothbrush to scrub in here as it’s a pretty tight space. Finally, close the throttle and reattach the intake hose. Return the black terminal cable to the battery and start the car. It may take a few times and expect a little smoke from the exhaust. Now you’re done.


It is a good idea to look for some diagrams online and consult your manual if you’re unsure of anything. Obviously if your throttle body is busted, no amount of cleaning will fix it and you’ll need a replacement. You can get one at a very reasonable price from