To maintain a smooth flow of air and fuel into your car’s engine you need to have a clean throttle. Your mechanic will recommend at least cleaning it every 100,000 miles. Consider this as a routine maintenance meant to increase the lifespan of your engine and most importantly reduce your emissions.


Why Do You Need To Clean Your Throttle?

  • Dirty throttle will result in dirty fuel passing through your engine making it harder for you shifting to higher gears.
  • Carbon build up on the throttle blades will increase carbon emissions.
  • Your acceleration efficiency will be impaired by poor fuel flow because of dirt within the throttle.
  • the ‘check engine’ signal lighting up indicates a dirty fuel injector throttle.

This article will act as a guide on using the recommended method(s) on how to clean your throttle body template without removing it from the engine. For a more specific way of removing the throttle for cleaning I would recommend contacting your mechanic or reading the engine’s service manual.

What You Will Need For Throttle Cleaning

  • Any recommended throttle body cleaner
  • Gloves to cover and protect your hand
  • New air filters to replace the dirty ones
  • Screwdrivers ( flat and Phillips head)
  • Socket Wrench to unfasten the throttle connections
  • A toothbrush or a small cleaning brush with soft bristles
  • Eye goggles for eye protection
  • A flashlight
  • paper towels and cotton swabs

Steps You Will Follow

Please note that before you start the cleaning process, you must put on your gloves at all times to protect your hands from abrasions and dirt that may stick on your finger after the cleaning process.

#1: Disconnect The Battery Terminals

In most cases to be safe, it is recommended that you disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. To be on the safe side, my recommendation is to disconnect both the negative and the positive terminals because you will be working near the electrical connections under the hood of your car.

#1. Disconnect The Battery Terminals

NOTE: If you are not so conversant with other parts of the engine connection cables you can invest in a masking tape that you can use to label the different hoses to remind you of where it is supposed to go back when finished cleaning the throttle.

#2: Remove The Air Ducts

Detach the air ducts by gently twisting and pulling them out of place. If they are attached using screws you can make use of screwdrivers to take them out. You are lucky if yours is held in place by clips that can easily be removed to expose air filter housing.

#3: Remove The Air Intake Hose

You only need to remove the ones that will give you complete access to the throttle. Do not damage the surrounding caskets while removing the hoses. The air intake hose is normally secured with a hose clamp that can be removed by lifting off the air hose.

#3. Remove The Air Intake Hose

#4: Remove the Air Intake Housing

Ensure that all connections to the housing have been removed before removing it from the engine. Place it in a safe place when cleaning the throttle.

#4. Remove the Air Intake Housing

#5: Replace the Air Filters

The number one cause for a dirty throttle is air filters. Make it a habit of replacing the air filters every time you are cleaning the car’s throttle. There is no need of having a clean throttle if your air filters are not clean ( the best way to do this is to replace them).

#5. Replace the Air Filters

#6: Cleaning The Throttle’s Body

  1. Spray the throttle cleaning fluid on the body template especially on the blades, air ducts, and the entire housing and let it soak for a few minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, you can soak a paper towel or a clean rag with the body cleaner and use it to clean the insides of the throttle by wiping inside the air ducts.
  3. Make use of the small brushes to gently remove dirt that may have been lodged on the blades and edges.
  4. Use clean towels and rags to wipe the inside and outside of the throttle.
  5. You can use as much throttle body cleaner as needed depending on the amount of carbon fluid build up on the throttle.

The cleaning process should be thorough and done several times to make sure that no dirt remains on the surface. You can use a flashlight to confirm this by shining light on the throttle interior.

#7: Inspect For Wear and Tear

Do a thorough inspection of the throttle blades to make sure there are no cracks or damage that may hinder the proper functioning of the throttle. Consider replacing any damaged parts.

#8: Oiling The Throttle Shaft

After you are done with the cleaning, you can apply a general purpose oil on the shafts connecting the throttle. This is done using small cotton swabs. Be careful not to smear but to add a single drop which should be sufficient for smooth operation.

#9: Clean up The Surrounding Area

Before replacing the throttle make sure that all the fallen residue or liquid spilled on the engine during the clean-up is dried up.

#10: Reinstall The Throttle Body Components

The best way to do everything in reverse order. When you have done the re-installation, make sure that the followings are in place.

  1. Remember to attach the air intake hose to the throttle and tighten it with the same force as it was before you removed it.
  2. Reattach the mass air flow sensors.
  3. Install the air filter housing cover.
  4. Reconnect the battery terminals.

#11: Testing The Throttle Performance

  1. Start the engine
    If you notice any kind of white smoke from the exhaust or an initial stutter in the engine you do not need to worry as this may be a result of trapped cleaner liquid or any left residue.
  2. Leave The Car In Idle Mode
    Let the vehicle idle for two or three minutes and listen to a smooth and consistent run.
  3. Drive the Car
    As you are driving you may notice some improvements in vehicle performance, especially on acceleration. Take note of the RPMs and see if there is any change from before the cleanup.
#11. Testing The Throttle Performance


You may have asked yourself how the throttle body template of your car can get dirty. I have a simpler explanation. Every time you shut down the engine the exhaust fumes and gases always floats on the engine compartment. The engine heat combining with hot gas form vapors which upon settling on cooling form the black soot that is deposited inside the throttle. When dirt (dust) settles on this soot, they will clog the throttle and eventually affect your vehicle’s engine performance.

Always remember that this cleaning process is meant to give your engine better performance and a longer lifespan. If you do not notice any change after the cleanup process, you should not be disappointed because to clean up a throttle body template is a critical preventive maintenance operation needed for every type of vehicle.

This is the kind of service that you cannot ignore and I would suggest if you already know one or two things about your car’s engine you can take your time and read through this post one more time, invest in a book or video tutorials that will guide you on how to clean a throttle body template.

If you have some questions about or suggestions for this article, kindly leave them in the comments section. You can also share this article with your friends and family if you liked it!

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Chief editor at Paul's Gigantic Garage. I came up with this blog to help you to sort out some basic problems your car may be facing and in turn, save lots of cash by some of my DIY tips that I hope will get your car out of its current situation. I also had in mind motor enthusiasts who for the love of cars who are constantly looking for information about cars on the latest trends, questions, fixes, driving, tricks, and accessories.


  1. Thanks, Paul. You have given a good explanation of what to do. The pictures helps a lot too. I surely hope this is the problem with our 2004 f150 ford 4.6L It has over 100000 miles on it and I doubt it has ever been maintained like that. Our truck has recently died and wouldn’t start. Fiddling with, it will start but runs very rough and we don’t trust it not to strand one of us. So we are going to do this maintenance you teach and hope it works for us in a big way. The truck wasn’t getting good mileage just before it quit on us.


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