If the engine is running rough while idling, it might be from a dirty throttle body. If this is the case, this problem can be solved with a quick cleaning and some simple tools.
Pro Tip: If the throttle body is electronically controlled, do not manually move the throttle body blade since this can throw off its calibration.
Watch the video below or read on for tips on cleaning the throttle body with help from 1A Auto’s expert mechanics.
Signs the Throttle Body Needs Cleaning
One symptom of a dirty throttle body is a rough running engine on idle. Overdue engine tune ups, bad spark plugs, and other problems can cause an uneven, shaky or “rough” running engine while idling that might rev, but a common problem on some vehicles is a dirty throttle body. Too much carbon can build up on the interior of the throttle body, facilitating rough idling.
How to Clean the Throttle Body Yourself
1. Locate the Throttle Body and Remove the Air Intake
Find the throttle body’s location on your vehicle and remove the air duct, air intake hose, or air filter housing from the throttle body. This may require the use of a tool like a Phillips screwdriver or a flat blade screwdriver to loosen a hose clamp.
2. Spray Carbon Cleaner into the Throttle Body and Clean It
Spray carbon cleaner into the upper and lower section of the throttle body and let it soak in for a few seconds. Put some carbon cleaner on a clean rag. Insert the rag into the throttle body and clean the top and bottom, removing any carbon build up.
3. Reinstall the Air Intake
Connect the air intake tube or other air intake parts to the throttle body, securing the clamp if necessary.
4. Start the Vehicle
Test the engine by starting the vehicle. The engine will have a bit of a rough start at first due to the carbon cleaner, but it should smoothen out as the engine runs.
How to Thoroughly Clean the Throttle Body
For a more extensive look on how to clean the throttle body, check out this video. To find repair videos specific to your year, make, and model, visit 1A Auto’s how-to video library.