A throttle body controls the amount of air that flows into fuel injected engines and is part of the air intake system on modern day vehicles. It can be somewhat compared to a carburetor on non fuel injected engines. It is usually attached to the mass airflow sensor often located between the air intake manifold and air filter on the engine. As the driver steps on the gas pedal, the throttle body plate opens up and allows more air into the manifold. It has valves that can be adjusted to control the airflow. You will find that most cars have only one throttle body. However, some high performance cars or motorcycles will have a throttle body for each cylinder. These are referred to as “individual throttle bodies.”
Sometime a throttle body spacer is added to the air intake system to increase the capacity for air intake. The spacer allows for more amounts of air to pass through the valve which increased the power that is available to the car. A throttle body spacer will also improve the gas mileage of your car, truck or motorcycle. However this is some controversy over adding the throttle bottle spacer and the need for it. A throttle body spacer can be quite expensive also. They sell for around $150 so make sure you do some research on it before you decide to buy one. A cheap one is usually noisy and inefficient and most people are not happy with one that they thought was a bargain but turned out to be a mistake.
Throttle body cleaning is one of the most important and common maintenance jobs that you need to do to with your modern day electronic fuel system. You should clean your throttle body as preventative maintenance at regular intervals. You can clean the throttle body yourself with common tools and specialty spray cleaners. You will know that your throttle body needs to be cleaned if you notice that it is idling roughly our stumbling upon acceleration. The throttle body can accumulate a lot of dirt, gum and varnish over time so regularly cleaning that all out will keep your car running smoothly.
You should always follow safety recommendations when cleaning the throttle body. The special spray cleaner that you will need to use is flammable so you should be careful not to smoke when using it. Always wear skin and eye protection also to protect yourself from the chemicals in the spray cleaner.
If you choose to clean the throttle body yourself, rather than taking it to the dealer for maintenance, you will need certain tools. These tools include such things as regular screw drivers and Torx screw drivers as well as some socket wrenches. You will also need a soft small toothbrush. Hard brushes can mar the special coating on the throttle body so do not use on that is hard bristled. You will also need a flashlight.
Other supplies you will need to clean the throttle body include such things as the specialty throttle body spray cleaner, household oil, paper towels, cotton swabs and rubber gloves. You can find the throttle body spray cleaner at your local auto part store. Carburetor cleaner is not the same and you should not use it to clean your throttle body.
If you have never cleaned your throttle body before, you can find detailed instruction on how to clean the throttle body on the internet. If you do not feel comfortable doing the job yourself, take the car into the dealership or to a trusted mechanic to do the job for you. Be warned however, taking your car in to have the throttle body cleaned can cost $75 to $100, depending on where you take it.