A throttle body is located between your air intake filter and piping and your intake manifold. The throttle body acts as a valve, restricting the amount of air that can go into the engine. As you press the gas pedal, you are actually opening up the throttle plate and allowing for more air to pass into the intake manifold, and then into the engine.
Over time, the throttle body will get dirty and you will feel a lack of power. Cleaning the throttle body is an easy task and I personally think that everyone can do it. The great part is that you don’t have to remove the throttle body in order to clean it.
How To Clean a Throttle Body Without Removing It
Cleaning a throttle body is very simple and I think that everyone can do it. The best and the only way that you should clean a throttle body is without removing it. The throttle body should be cleaner every 30,000 miles. Here is how to clean a throttle body without removing it.
1. Get a clean towel and a throttle body cleaning product
Before you start cleaning your throttle body, you should get a clean towel and a throttle cleaning product. Some vehicles have a big warning sign on the throttle body about which cleaning products you can use. Usually, Ford vehicles have specific throttle body cleaning products. If you don’t see a warning there, you can use the product that I use (check the price on amazon.com).
2. Get access to the throttle body
To access the throttle body, you will have to remove the engine air intake rubber. The air intake rubber is usually secured with a clamp which is easy to remove. The rubber makes it so easy to locate the throttle body if you are not sure what you are looking for. Remove the screws and secure the air intake rubber.
3. Move the throttle plate to an open position
To clean the inside of the throttle body, you will have to place the throttle place in an open position. Please, do not move the throttle plate with your hands. Have someone in the vehicle to push the gas pedal. If you move your throttle plate with your hands, you can confuse the computer and then you will have to do a reset.
4. Spray the throttle body cleaning product
Once the throttle body plate is in an open position, spray the throttle body cleaner in the throttle body. Do not spray a lot because you can overflood the engine. Spray 3-4 times on the plate itself and on the inside of the throttle body.
5. Clean the throttle body with a clean towel
Get a clean towel and clean the inside of the body. I recommend that you use a clean towel because you are trying to remove the buildup debris and not add new. Make sure to clean the plate as well as the inside of the throttle body.
6. Reinstall the engine air intake rubber
Reinstall the engine air intake rubber and tight the screws on the clamp. Move the air intake rubber to make sure that it is secured properly. You don’t want to have a leaking air.
7. Start your vehicle
Start your vehicle as you would normally do. If the vehicle is not starting, press the gas pedal to the floor and try to start it. If you sprayed a little bit more of the cleaning product, your vehicle might not start. But, no worries. Continue to crank the engine and it will start.
What Are The Most Common Signs Of a Clogged or Bad Throttle Body
When the throttle body is clogged or has failed, there are some signs and symptoms that can help you find out what’s wrong with your vehicle. Here are the most common signs of a clogged or bad throttle body.
1. Reduced power or Limp mode
If you notice that your vehicle is slower than usual, this is a sign that the throttle body is either clogged and needs cleaning, or it has failed. Limp mode or reduced power is a safety feature designed to limit engine performance in order to prevent engine damage. The computer sets the vehicle into limp mode when a fault is detected.
Scan your vehicle with an OBD scanner (check prices on amazon.com) and check the fuel section. The fuel section should read “CL” or closed-loop after the engine is warm. If it reads “OL” or open-loop, then the vehicle is stuck in limp mode. At this point, you should try and clean your throttle body and then run diagnostics again. If you are getting the same error, then you need to replace the throttle body.
2. Poor idle and engine performance issues
The throttle body is responsible for allowing a certain amount of air flowing into the engine. When the throttle body is clogged or has failed, it can cause poor idle and stalling at the stop light, as well as engine performance issues while driving. Try cleaning the throttle body with a throttle body cleaning product. If you still have issues, replace the throttle body.
3. Lack of power
When a vehicle has a clogged or faulty throttle body, the vehicle will have a lack of power while driving. Some vehicles are even limited to second gear and can go no faster than 35 miles per hour.
Use a scan tool (check prices on amazon.com) and check for throttle body related codes. If you see any error codes associated with a throttle body, try cleaning the throttle body. If the problems and error codes are still there, replace the throttle body.
Can a Throttle Body Cleaner Damage The Engine
The throttle body cleaner will not damage your engine. The throttle body cleaner is designed to remove gum, varnish, and other contaminants that get stuck on the throttle body. You can, however, overflood the engine if you spray too much of the throttle body cleaner into the throttle body. But, this will do no permanent damage to the engine.