Throttle Body Cleaning

Throttle body cleaning is a necessary part of vehicle maintenance since the throttle body plays a significant role in the smooth running of the engine. The purpose of the throttle body is to control air intake to the engine. When the throttle body isn’t functioning 100 percent due to built-up grime and carbon deposits, vehicle performance is affected.

What Is Throttle Body Cleaning?

When the throttle body gets dirty, it has a direct effect on how smoothly the engine operates. Signs indicating a problem include rough idling, jumpy or sluggish acceleration, poor fuel economy, and stalling. With the use of a throttle body cleaning product, the dirt and debris buildup are easily removed. The process involves several steps to get to the point where the powerful spray can be applied safely. If your vehicle’s engine is running rough, checking the condition of the throttle body for gunk and grime is a viable course of action. To help prevent problems that arise due to a dirty throttle body, frequent cleaning of the part can keep the vehicle operating at a higher level of performance.

Types of Throttle Body Cleaning

Berryman’s B-12 Chemtool aerosol cleaner is formulated with high-energy solvent technology that dissolves a variety of fuel residue deposits to keep the carburetor, choke, and throttle body clean.

CRC Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner dissolves harmful deposits that affect a vehicle’s performance. After use, it eliminates rough idling and makes starting easier.

Keep the throttle body and carburetor clean with the all-in-one spray WD-40 Specialist Cleaner. The dual-action spray breaks up residue and carbon deposits and then sprays away the waste. The product supports smooth engine performance and consistent idling.

Stay on top of keeping the throttle body and air intake free and clear of built-up deposits and eliminating hesitation when idling with Johnsen’s Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner. The spray is usable on all vehicles.

B-12 0110 Chemtool Carburetor, Choke and Throttle Body Cleaner Not VOC Compliant in Some States

Berryman Products


CRC 05078 Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner – 12 Wt Oz.

WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner, 13.5 OZ [6-Pack]

Johnsen’s 4720-12PK Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner – 10 oz., (Pack of 12)



How to Choose Throttle Body Cleaning Products

There are plenty of choices when selecting a throttle body cleaning product. These sprays are formulated to do a difficult job, which means they contain poisonous chemicals and are highly flammable and volatile. Use of these sprays will require safety measures when using the product. When researching for throttle body products, verify that the one you select is specifically designed for cleaning the throttle body and says that on the label or in the directions for use.

How to Use Throttle Body Cleaning Products

Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.

The following is general information about the throttle body, along with basic steps to cleaning the throttle body. Consult your owner’s manual for information specific to your vehicle. Contact a dealership or a local automotive shop if you have questions about cleaning the throttle body on your own.

The throttle body is located between the intake manifold and the air cleaner. For visual identification, the throttle body is usually made of aluminum. Another way to locate the throttle body is to have someone press the accelerator with the engine off. The throttle body has a direct connection to the gas pedal via a cable or link. When the gas pedal is being pressed, it causes movement of the throttle shaft, which you can see.

For your own safety when working with the throttle body cleaning product, wear rubber gloves and eye protection. The throttle body cleaning product can irritate the skin, and the fumes are harmful. Refrain from smoking while doing this project since the cleaning products are extremely flammable. Park your vehicle in a level, open area with plenty of light. Do not do this project in an enclosed area, such as a garage, due to the fumes given off by the spray.

  1. For vehicle safety, disconnect the ground terminal from the battery before starting the cleaning process.
  2. Hoses attached to the throttle body or air ducts should be labeled before removing so you will know where they go once the cleaning is complete.
  3. The air duct attached to the throttle body must be removed. The air ducts may be attached by a clamp, which can be removed using a screwdriver, or it may require only a quick twist before pulling it off. Do not disconnect any electrical wires. This step may require either a Torx or Phillips screwdriver to remove clamp screws.
  4. If removal of the air ducts is not possible, do not continue with the project. Take your vehicle to a trained mechanic to handle the job.
  5. To expose the throttle body, remove enough air ducting so you have access to the throttle body.
  6. Before applying the spray cleaner, put on the rubber gloves and eye protection. Once you are protected, spray the cleaner into the air duct. Use a small brush to loosen dirt and other deposits and then remove the gunk with paper towels.
  7. Repeat step 6 until all the surfaces are clean. Check for any remaining grime using a flashlight.
  8. Using a cotton swab, place a small drop of general-purpose oil on the throttle shaft. This helps with smooth rotation of the throttle blade. Do this prior to replacing the ducts.
  9. Clean the area around the throttle body and engine, using paper towels to wipe up any spilled liquid or grime residue.
  10. Reconnect the ducts and tighten the clamps to the same level they were.
  11. Remove your tools and supplies from under the hood and then reconnect the battery. Start the engine. It may take a few minutes for the vehicle to readjust.
  12. Allow the car to idle for two or three minutes to warm up.
  13. The last step is taking the vehicle for a test run. There may be a noticeable difference in how the car performs, or you may not notice any change. The level of change in performance depends on how much residue was removed from the throttle body.
  14. Clean any tools used. Safely dispose of the rubber gloves and paper towels or other material used to wipe off the grime and hazardous spray.
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