Do I Need A Throttle Body Service

Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!

People have asked me if they really need a throttle body service. I have touched on this subject in past articles but today I will go a little more in-depth. In my opinion dealership service departments and auto repair centers are recommending this service way too much. When I took my car in for the Cadillac recall the service adviser told me I needed one.

throttle body clean
Clean throttle body

When I got home I removed the air intake hose and shined a flashlight into the throttle body. It was perfectly clean and almost shiny. It most certainly didn’t need a service or cleaning. This isn’t to say a throttle body service is never needed. In fact I do believe they should be done as required.

This means a visual inspection to verify it really is needed. Therefore, if someone recommends this service to you I would ask them, why do I need it. If they tell you, because it’s dirty I would then ask them how they know.

The correct answer to this question is they removed the air intake hose and performed a visual inspection. Or they scanned the vehicle and monitored the IAC (Idle air control motor) steps at base idle. If they didn’t do this I would not purchase the service or at least seek out a second opinion.

What does a Throttle Body Do

dirty throttle plate
Open throttle plate

The throttle body allows the driver to control the speed of the engine by controlling the amount of air that enters it. The driver pushes on the gas pedal and in the old days the cable would pull on the butterfly inside the throttle body assembly. Nowadays most of these throttle systems are what they call drive by wire.

You can ask Toyota engineers for more details on the system but Basically this means that your gas pedal is now a sensor that sends a signal to the throttle body about how far to open the throttle plate. Each type of throttle assembly is designed to allow a certain amount of air to pass through it with a particular amount of throttle plate opening.

When the throttle plates are completely closed some air is still needed. This is where the idle air control valve or motor comes into play. The IAC valve meters a small amount of air into the intake manifold. The computer controls the idle air control valve and only allows enough air to maintain a steady idle of 650 rpm’s which keeps the engine from stalling. This metering allows the computer to control the idle speed.

The IAC valve can be monitored on an automotive scan tool as mentioned above. How far the valve is opened is counted in steps. The dirtier the throttle the more steps are required by the IAC valve to maintain engine idle.

Therefore you can actually use the steps to diagnose a gummed up throttle body. As an example if you observe on a scan tool that the steps are around 50 this could be considered a little high. After a throttle body service is performed you would most likely see about half of that or below 25 steps.

How to Service the Throttle Body

new throttle body
new throttle body kit

Modern vehicles are better equipped to compensate for a throttle body that is becoming dirty. So in my opinion the newer your vehicle and the lower your actual mileage, the less likely you need this service. On the flip side of this if you have a 1995 vehicle with 125,000 miles on it and you have never cleaned the throttle body I could just about guarantee that you need a throttle body service.

When carbon and varnish accumulates on the throttle plates or in the throttle bore the amount of air that can pass through into the engine can be reduced. Although this normally causes an idle problem these deposits can be cleaned off of the throttle body assembly and the airflow restored. It is quite possible that you could perform this service on your own in the driveway depending on your skill level.

The carbon deposits can be cleaned with spray type cleaners and wiped off with a cloth. The difficulty of the throttle body service depends on the application. In some cases the throttle body may need to be removed to properly clean the assembly. I use the very complete 3M Diy Fuel System Tune-Up Kit that comes with a DVD on how to perform the service. It is a three-step kit that includes a fuel additive to be installed in the tank.

To review, when do you need a throttle body service? If you take your vehicle in for regular maintenance or auto repairs chances are your shop will recommend the service to you. Ask them questions to verify they really checked into it and aren’t just recommending it by mileage. I posted a video about engine stalling that shows how to do a throttle body service with the parts removed. Or you can use this next link to take you back to the auto repair information blog homepage.

Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!

70 Replies to “Do I Need A Throttle Body Service”

  1. cj

    Thanks, Mark, this is very informative. I have a 2010 GMC Terrain 4 cylinder/valve (i’m not quite sure what the word is). it has 41000 miles 99% highway miles. i put 25k miles on in past 9 months since buying this used at the dealership with 15k already on. it’s at the dealership today getting the throttle body replaced. from what I’ve read elsewhere, throttle body does not go bad? should i be concerned of bigger problems with time? my job requires a high reliability vehicle and I am concerned. wondering if i should turn it in sooner than i usually do (120K).

  2. Mark

    CJ: It’s true that the throttle body is not often replaced. But I have done it more then once. Usually related to sticking throttle plates or drive by wire problems. With that said the vehicles I have performed this operation are still in our fleet providing good service. I do not think a bad throttle body is a sign of a bad vehicle or other problems on the horizon. ( Just my Opinion)

  3. Rich

    Thanks Mark. I bought a used 2010 Corolla right around Thanksgiving w/approx. 35K miles. Took it in today for the 40K service. Air filters are “black and should be replaced”. They also recommend HVAC service and throttle body and fuel injector service/cleaning. Doing the air filters and 40K service…put off the other stuff for later in the month (trying to split it up around paydays). Sounds like I should do a little more research and ask some questions before I commit to the throttle body service. I hate taking the car to the dealer for service *sigh*

  4. Jennifer

    Hi Mark!
    I recently bought a 2002 Toyota Camry with 86k miles. I had it serviced at dealership and all checked out well besides a weak battery. I was going to lunch one day and as I approached a stop light I could feel my car skip or stutter and my engine and battery light flicker so when I reached the stop light it cut off and would not start. It finally started back up after about 10 minutes and auto zone’s machine said bad battery so I bought a new one. Drive it 2 days and it cut off while I was turning at a corner. It crunk back up after about 2 or 3 mins.

    Took back to Toyota and still could not find anything wrong Monday. Wednesday it was about to cut off but it caught back up and kept going but eventually cut off for few minutes. I’ve been told it could be my alternator or I need throttle service but have no clear insight of what it could be to avoid any more than I’ve had to put into this car. I wanted something good on gas to travel 60-80 miles a day to work which it is and was good price but I’m frustrated with it. I wanted something I could pay off quick but now I question if i should have gotten something else. Any feedback is greatly appreciated in advance.

  5. Mark

    Jennifer: Intermittent stalling can be one of the hardest problems to diagnose (so I feel for you). The reason for this is it can be caused by so many different things. On a 10 year old car with unknown maintenance history the list is even longer. After researching a little on the terms ” 2002 Toyota Camry engine stalling” I see that you are not alone. On several of the Toyota nation forum posts I saw a few people mention small vacuum leaks. To me this is what I find most often when it comes to a stalling condition. I don’t know if this is your problem but it’s worth mentioning to the dealer on the next visit. In my opinion the dealership is the place to go for such a problem but like anything it comes down to the person diagnosing the issue and their experience with it.

  6. Maygan

    Hi Mark, I have a 2009 Ford Escape with about 55,000 mi, it has been stalling when I accelerate after a stop and the power train light comes on. I’ve been taking it to Ford (5 times) and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Yesterday it stalled again but I had my own code reader so I was able to get a code P2112. I took it back to Ford with the code and had them look at it. They told me I have a bad throttle body and it’s not covered by my warranty. My dad says those don’t go bad and it should be covered under emissions. They said they were going to contact Ford to see if they can help with having it replaced. It sounds a little odd, just wondering what you think.

  7. Mark

    Maygan: P2112 is a Ford specific code that stands for “Throttle Control System Stuck Closed” So I am not surprised of the dealerships conclusion that the throttle body needs replacing. But I am concerned that this Ford dealer was unable to diagnose the problem until you handed them the Code. Not all dealerships provide the same level of service. With that said I think you should call Ford customer service and push for assistance on your own! I have seen this issue discussed on message boards to the point that it may be a known problem. If Ford has issued an auto service bulletin it is often easier to get assistance.

  8. Maygan

    Hi Mark
    Just wanted to update you Ford replaced the throttle body free of charge, just picked it up this morning and it’s driving so much better. Thanks for the info

  9. Michele

    My 2002 GMC Envoy dashboard reads “stop engine”” oil pressure low””check gauges”. I have taken it to the GMC dealer too many times to count. The second dealer finally said it was the throttle body, so I got it fixed for $507. Back to the shop it went, twice after the same things came on the dash. Now they are saying it is the fan clutch, $847. I don’t believe it was ever the throttle body to begin with. Needless to say, I have not gotten it fixed yet. I am still steaming and trying to figure out if they charged me to fix something that was never wrong….if those lights go off after they fix that fan clutch then I guess I will have an answer, huh!!!!!

  10. Mark

    Michele: Not the first time I have heard of multiple repairs recommended to solve one problem. The interesting thing is if this was under warranty the factory would expect to see one failure for one problem. In your situation a call to GMC customer assistance would seem to be a good Idea. Ask for assistance and request an explanation if they refuse. It couldn’t hurt to let them know that your future as a customer is at stake. In other words if they help… You would continue to buy there product.

  11. Mary

    Mark, I have a 2011 Chevy Equinox and have been told I need to replace the throttle body. I took it into a Chevy dealer after the engine light came on and they replaced some wiring in the pedals, charging me $200. The next day, the light came on again. I took it back in and they are now saying that the body throttle needs to be replaced for about $400. They tell me my warranty doesn’t cover it because I have too many miles on it (46K). I purchased this vehicle to avoid having to spend big bucks like this for a least a few years. Could this possibly be part of a recall? Also I am not completely confident that the dealer is diagnosing the issue correctly. Any input from you is greatly appreciated.

  12. Mark

    Mary: I don’t blame you for being skeptical of the diagnosis since you already have $200 into not fixing the issue. I would call GM customer service ( the number in your owners manual) and ask for assistance with the problem. Since the vehicle is not to far out of warranty by miles and under the 3 years they can assist if they think it will turn you into a satisfied customer that will buy more GM vehicles. I would point out to them that you have already spent 200 bucks in misdiagnosed repairs. I would also mention that you feel the throttle body problem could represent a safety issue for you and your passengers. They might not cover all of it but they might help?

  13. Michelle

    I have a 2007 Saturn Ion with 85K miles on it. The check engine light came on and I took it to the dealer. They said I need the throttle and connection replaced. It’ll cost me $562 to fix. Is it worth fixing on a car with this many miles? My car has had another repair only 6 months ago…I had to replace the air pump and some other things related…that cost me 1200.00.

  14. Mark

    Michelle: The ” Is it worth fixing” is always a hard question to answer. A 2007 with 85k would seem to me worth saving. I do not know the details of this repair or your last one for 1200 bucks but I’m getting the feeling that exploring for a second opinion might be prudent at this juncture.

  15. Don Bright

    Thanks Mark, this info is very helpful to me. I have a 2007 Chevy Impala and I do preventative maintenance at the dealer (Pat O’Brian Chevrolet) where I purchased the car. Each time I take my car in for service, they always come up with something that needs to be done.

    I did not agree to a Throttle Body Service, because I wanted to check this out, and I am glad that I did. Thank you for the informative information. Mark, I forgot to mention that my 2007 Chevy Impala has 49K miles. This is the vehicle that the dealership claims that I need Throttle Body Service. Tell me what you think?

  16. Mark

    Don: The only way to know for sure is to remove the air intake hose and shine a flashlight into the throttle body to see what it looks like. Generally speaking I think this service is over sold as the throttle body and iac was designed to compensate for naturally occurring deposits.

  17. Alan Longstreet

    Hi Mark, I took my car (08 pontiac g6) in to clean the throttle body and they did that, however the problem (both reduced “engine power & traction control off” flash across the computer display) returned quickly and they insist I need to replace it. They don’t really seem to have any answers for why it needs to be replaced, only that the code said it should be cleaned, they cleaned and the problem returned — now it’s time to replace. Do you have any insight as to why a throttle body will ultimately fail?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Alan: I can’t shed much light on this other than I have heard of the problem before. It seems replacement of the throttle body is the solution for internal failure of the non serviceable position sensor. Unfortunately I have never heard cleaning it to be successful. The problem is common enough that I have recommended customers contact GM to ask for assistance to retain customer loyalty. Unfortunately Pontiac is no more and the age of the car makes assistance unlikely.

  18. Richard

    Hello, yesterday while I was on my way to the store my 2011 Equinox started to vibrate and the engine went into a REDUCED SPEED mode. I was at busy intersection so I proceeded to go around the block where I got out my owners manual. It stated to turn off the engine for 15 seconds and restart, IT started and ran fine, I returned home called my dealer, Reliable Chevy in Springfield Mo where I purchased the car>while I was en-route to the dealer the check engine icon was on, when I arrived at the dealer a service rep got in my car and started it up and the check engine light was OFF. I signed for a 98.00 test and 2 hours later she called me a told me the bad news. 900.00 for a Throttle Body. I told her I would be in to pick up the car later and she said that she would check with the service tech about something. Well glory, she called me back and unbeknown to me she discovered that I had purchased a EXTENDED Warranty. and it s was all covered, however the tech recommended the cleaning of the throttle body. She said since it was 149.00 and I had already spent 98.00 it would only cost me 49.00 more How on earth could I have a warranty that I didn’t know about ? At first she said it needed a 60,000 mile check up, I asked her what that covered, that’ when she said change oil, rotate tire etc. I told her that I had purchased a Finish warranty those were covered. She told me she was going out to talk to the tech and would call me back. When she called back she stated that she had it all covered, she told me she ran the last 4 of the VIN and along with my name and discovered I had this mystery warranty. What thinks you.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Richard: Sounds very fishy to me. Every time she called you back it got cheaper. I’m familiar with the throttle body issue and the Delco parts are around $200 bucks. So the original estimate seemed way out of whack regardless of coverage.

  19. Cerd

    2011 Chevy Equinox throttle body issue, cleaned throttle body continues to do same thing car reduced power engine light comes on along with service stablitrax What can this be?

  20. Dan

    Mark I have a 2012 Toyota Camry XLE V6 that has VERY sensitive gas pedal (throttle). I can’t leave my foot up against it especially at lower city driving speeds, like 25-40 mph as it always wants to go faster. I read where one expert suggested keeping the throttle body cleaned. But my car only has 23,000 miles on it. Is there any way to adjust these new drive by wire pedals so they aren’t so sensitive?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Dan: The drive by wire can be calibrated with a Toyota scan tool, but I don’t think there is a sensitivity adjustment. Since I have driven the car in question and didn’t notice a problem I’m suggesting 2 things. Drive another car, same year and model, see if it’s better. If so, maybe there is a problem with the potentiometer in your current gas pedal?

  21. Heather B

    Good Afternoon Just a quick question. Whenever I brake at speeds over thirty and sometimes when my car is idling it shudders. They go throughout the car and you can visibly see it in the steering wheel itself. My check engine light came on and I took it to my favorite car shop and they said I need a new throttle body. Is that correct or should I get a second opinion to make sure that is the work that needs to be done? I drive an ’08 Chevy Aveo car if that helps in any way.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Heather: The code set would steer my answer on the second opinion. The Aveo is known for throttle body problems, specifically (TPS) Throttle Position Sensor failure. The sensor is part of the throttle body assembly and must be serviced as a single unit.

  22. nancy

    Hi from Murphy, NC!!
    I have a 2009 Chevy Aveo, with 105K miles and I love her, her name is Snow White. When taking off, the gas or speed sort of surges as it speeds up. I baby it up to about 35MPH and then it seems o.k. but I can still feel it surging a little even when driving at a constant speed of 55. Could cleaning the throttle body help this or could it need a new throttle body? It has never sputtered or stalled but the “surging” happens on start out and it doesn’t seem to have as much power when climbing hills. Also the engine light is on and I was told it was an air intake problem. I would really appreciate any input from you. I have read all the other postings but I haven’t seen anyone complain of the surging issue on taking out.

  23. Annie

    Hello Mark. My 2012 Mazda 3 is driving with less power and pickup these days. When I accelerate harder it sometimes almost splutters before picking up speed the way it used to. It’s like there’s an air bubble in the gas feed. Is this to do with the throttle body needing cleaning? I have around 25000 miles.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Annie: It’s possible, but a restricted air filter or fuel filter would be more likely. In the end it will probably take some hands on diagnosis to resolve the hesitation issue.

  24. Greg

    Hi Mark- My 2009 Toyota Corolla has been slow to start when it has been sitting in the sun for a period of time on warm days. It starts fine first thing in the morning, but if you start later in the day it starts slowly. It sounds like it takes 2-3 seconds to turn over and then starts. It has always started, but something definitely isn’t right. After a slow start, if I turn it off and start it again it starts perfectly fine. I’ve had spark plugs replaced, checked the connections, cleaned the throttle plate, checked the battery, and checked the starter. Any ideas on what else it could be?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Greg: Obviously, without performing hands on diagnosis it’s hard to say whats wrong. However, the symptoms you described would send me down the fuel side of the diagnostic chart. Fuel filter, pressure regulator, injector pulse width, temp sensors for cold start enrichment ect.. Although I would probably start with a fuel pressure test after it baked in the sun for a few hours.

  25. Molly

    Hi Mark, I have a 2012 Ford Fiesta and whenever I’m in a stop and go traffic, the car starts jerking, like it doesn’t have enough gas pumping in. Not sure why but it feels like it’s lacking in something that caused this, like I’m driving a manual car and I didn’t balance out the clutch-gas pedal. My mechanic said we can start with cleaning the engine first to see if there’s improvement, but I read that engine cleaning is more towards cosmetic purposes. Do you think cleaning the throttle body could improve this?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Molly: Cleaning the exterior of the engine sure is an odd place to start diagnosis. I would probably start by scanning for codes, Checking the tune up items (depending on mileage) and a fuel pressure test and then go from there.

  26. michele

    Hello Mark I just bought a 2013 Chevy equinox that has onstar. I had onstar run a diagnostic on the car and it stated that the car revealed that it the air throttle needed to be checked. It recommended service at my convenience. No indicators or anything are on at this time, I just got the car yesterday should i have it looked at? What are the costs of this repair usually and is it something serious or just a matter of cleaning it and moving on?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Michele: The Equinox has a known issue with the Throttle body. The throttle position sensor can provide intermittent signals to the computer. The sensor is part of the throttle body unit. The issue should be covered under the basic 3/36 warranty so I would have it checked at a Chevrolet dealership.

  27. Henry

    Hi Mark, My 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0L V6 with 55,000 miles. The idling speed is really high now – 1250 rpm when I just start the engine. It will drop to less than 1000 rpm after switching gear to ‘D’ or ‘R’. Do you think my car need a throttle clean service? thanks.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Henry: I think this issues needs further diagnosis. A bunch of things can cause high idle. The most common is a small vacuum leak. Although it’s possible cleaning the throttle body could solve the issue it’s not likely.

  28. Henry

    Thanks Mark. I want to know if I can ignore this high idling issue and keep driving? As everything else is fine with my car.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Henry: Sounds like something you should fix. If the car wants to take off when you release the brake this is probably considered a safety issue. It’s certainly not good for brake pad wear.

  29. SUMMER

    Hi Mark – I have a 2007 Tahoe LTZ Flexfuel with 192,000 miles the code I have gotten is a P0121 which shows Throttle Position Sensor/Switch A Circuit Range/Performance Problem. A friend of mine is a GM Certified mechanic, he has not looked at my Tahoe but after telling him the code he said I need to replace the Throttle body for him to do it after work hours it would cost me about $400.00. My question is do I really need to replace the Throttle body unit or just the sensor for that code? I have found that the sensor is much less expensive than they unit itself.

  30. Adrian Carrasco

    My trailblazer was bogging down when I would kick the ac or heater on so I did some research and cleaning the throttle body out would fix the problem, so that’s what I did. Cleaned it up real nice and forgot to do one step was to unplug the fuses #28 and #10 so I skipped that step. But truck fired up and now after it ran for a couple minutes a reduced power popped up and service engine and now the truck will not accelerate when pushing the pedal. Also very high idle I unplugged the battery for an hour to hopefully reset the computer, but no luck what could be the problem.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Adrian: It sounds like the throttle body might need replacing. However, the most important piece of information is what check engine light code is stored in memory. I would follow a diagnostic tree chart for that code before replacing anything. Also the GM computer has a stay alive memory. You can see how to defeat this on an article I wrote about resetting the check engine light.

  31. CPN

    I hope this is still live! I have an 01 Celica GTS (I bought it w/ 83 mi on it). I now have just under 130,000. The accelerator pedal has been sticking for some time. And the idle is squirrely when stopped (at a light). For example, if I’m traveling relatively quickly down a road (punch it), and stop at a light, the idle goes very low, almost stalling. In other instances, to go, or to accelerate faster, simply pressing the pedal isn’t enough to get it to go; I have to press the pedal hard. It isn’t a smooth motion, more like from this point to the next point, not smoothly accelerating – I can feel it catch. I brought the car to Toyota before Christmas and they did an efi service, induction service, throttle body cleaning, etc. I didn’t drive often after xmas, but commuting to work this week, the problems still exist. Dropped the car off this morning, and they recommend replacing the throttle body. I’m wondering if there is a less expensive solution, as the dealerships generally recommend replacing things that can be repaired to ensure they resolve the problem, whatever part it may be. If it needs to be replace, so be it. Its still cheaper than a car payment, but I want to make sure its warranted.

    • Mark Gittelman

      CPN: The symptoms you describe are consistent with the bad throttle body diagnosis the Dealership provided. However, the services they provided to the old throttle body should be applied to the new repairs since they were obviously misdiagnosed.

  32. Rosalyn

    Mark, I have an 2009 GMC Acadia. In the beginning after I got gas (always fill up when I get gas) my car would take about 5 times to crank up then it drives funny for about 2 minutes then goes back to normal. I would crank it several times then put my foot on the gas pedal then it would finally start. So I took my car to an local mechanic and they replaced the solenoid purge valve. The mechanic stated that would fix the issue. A week later after getting gas my car did the same thing. Took it back because now my check engine light was on. The mechanic looked at it reset some codes and said it was fine. My car is no longer under warranty. Then one day while on the interstate (had about a quarter of tank of gas left in my car) it begin to make an loud noise, check engine light is flashing, then out of no where the car slows down and shut off on me. I was going about 70 mph and was lucky to get over to the side road. I tried cranking the car, but it would crank then press the gas pedal go forward a little then it would die on me. Took it back to the same mechanic (had to get it towed in) they said they thought it was the throttle body or sensor. Took it to the dealership, because GM has some special coverage’s on the throttle body and timing chain for my car . Dealership kept my car for 9 days and couldn’t figure out the problem. They stated it wasn’t the throttle body or timing chain.

    Next thing they wanted to do was pull out my engine gave me an rough estimate of 3,000 to 7000 dollars to figure out problem. I told them to not fix my car and I would have it towed to another shop for a second opinion. ( I have had several misdiagnosed from the dealership when my car was under warranty, I got this SUV brand new in 2009 have replaced several coils, transmission has been rebuilt and fuel tank replaced ) I took it to an master mechanic and he thought it was the high pressure pump that is on top of the motor but he replaced that but it didn’t work . The car starts but minutes later it dies. I personally think its the throttle body but no code is showing up. My car acts like it doesn’t know it has gas in it . Now this mechanic thinks its the motor mounts and wants to replace them. This has been an nightmare.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Rosalyn: It’s hard getting involved after so many different hands have touched the vehicle. Parts of the story support your theory about the throttle body as the possible cause. Other parts not so much. I have received the same special policy letters for my 2009 Cadillac SRX with a 3.6L v6. However, you can’t get the dealer to perform the repairs unless certain criteria is met. Despite the fact they would have no problem getting reimbursed from GM. In the case of the throttle body they are looking for the tps code and the reduced power light. Your mechanic did you a great disservice when he cleared the codes and didn’t tell you the code numbers. Now all evidence is erased. At this point I would call Chevrolet customer service and open a case. Get a case number. They will want all repair order documents from your dealership trips. They probably won’t care about you local mechanic repairs. In closing if you have it in writing that the dealer wanted $7,000 to remove the engine for diagnosis you should have no troubled getting Chevrolet to reimburse all previous expenses and fix it for free. As this type of estimate sounds like extortion.

  33. Patricia

    Hi I have a question, my Dodge Avenger 2.4 engine has the thunder bolt indicator on the dash. I took it to a mechanic that put it on diagnostics and told me it was the throttle body. To repair it will be $450 and at the dealer $560. I asked around and I was told it can be cleaned would you suggest cleaning.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Patricia: The year and the mileage on the car might effect my answer. However, generally speaking, cleaning the throttle body will not solve problems that turn on the warning light or set codes in the computer memory.

  34. Lauren Orr

    I have been reading about this as the service rep recommended the service for my vehicle. The confusing part for me is that I brought the vehicle in for a plug for a tire. My vehicle is a 2013 Toyota Prius. I do not see anything in the manual or anything in the service booklet. I have 32K miles. When I called back to ask about the throttle body, the rep looked up the ticket and said the tech did not write down how it was checked …He said that the tech might have looked at an air hose. There were other things that were recommended on that day that I had the tire replaced; an alignment and cleaning the fuel injector. This representative said it is probably because your vehicle is two years old (bought Dec 2013) and this is better to be preventative. He said, “It is better to do it now than after the warranty is up at 3/36.” None is in the booklet. Am I right to be skeptical?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Lauren: I think you are right to be skeptical about the service recommendations. Personally I wouldn’t do anything that wasn’t on the maintenance schedule in the owners manual. However, when in doubt always seek a second opinion.

  35. Dennis W. Painter

    I have a 2006 Toyota Sienna with 226k good miles and well maintained. Last week, it was running fine and after I had placed it in the ” park ” position to leave the vehicle, I suddenly had very little power after I placed it into the ” drive ” position. I had just had the entire dash replaced at the dealer due to a recall by Toyota. I was able to get back to the dealer after driving 20 miles @ 15mph with my hazards on(first time they had ever been used). They did a diagnostic and advised me the Throttle Motor needed to be replaced(after cleaning it and it still would not work). The part is almost $1k ?? and why is that? and the labor is about $400. I guess all things eventually wear out so would you recommend an engine treatment service each year from now on or is it time to get a new vehicle?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Dennis: The price for parts and labor seems very high. Poking around internet part stores it looks like a $200 part. Just replacing the throttle body isn’t that difficult so the labor seems high also. I think over 200K miles from the part is it’s projected lifespan, with or without engine treatment service.

  36. Kim miller

    Hi Mark. According to my car dealerships, the trottle body on my 2014 Chrysler 200 fell out, prompting them to put in a new one. Should this have happen on a newer car with less than 45k miles? I’m still puzzled by this.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Hi Kim: I’m not sure what you mean by “fall Out”. Replacing a throttle body isn’t unheard of. However, problems with the part almost always turn on and set a check engine light code on a 2014 model. So I would be interested in the code number.

  37. Courtney

    Hi – I have a 2010 Hyundai Sonata. It is at the Auto shop and they are saying it needs a new Throttle body position Sensor but that its not serviceable separately from the throttle body so the entire thing needs to be replaced. Is this true? Instead of paying $50 for a throttle body sensor it will now cost about $400. Thank you.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Courtney: I’m not a Hyundai expert, but I do know that most companies have built the TPS sensor into the throttle body on the drive by wire systems. So the story you tell seems believable. However, it never hurts to seek a second opinion or shopping around for a better price.

  38. Amy Davidson

    I had to replace my throttle body in my 2010 Ford fusion, the part from Ford was $175 and took me 10 minutes to put on myself.

  39. Tyrone T

    My daughter is in the Marine Corp and is station 6 hours away. She called me and stated her 2011 Corolla with less than 50000 miles start fine in the morning, but in the hot (95 degrees) afternoons it takes 15-20 seconds of cranking for the engine to start. After that she can shut it off and it restart normally. I called the dealer located close to where she is stationed and he stated the throttle body seem to be the issue. Is this likely given the low miles. I rather have it checked before she gets on the road coming home, but I’d also like to arm her with a little knowledge so that she doesn’t get raked over the coals on the service.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Tyrone T: A throttle body problem is possible, but not likely with your description of the issue. Especially if there’s no check engine light on. Maintenance items like a clogged fuel or air filter are more likely. However, if this car was in my shop I would start with a fuel pressure test when the car was acting up.

  40. Janet M

    My Yukon XL has 230,000 miles. It has stalled on occasion the last several days. It happened twice when I had it in reverse. It occurred another day when I stopped the car to put it in reverse. It stalls and the battery light comes on, usually. It starts right back up. It’s not the alternator. Any thoughts?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Janet: I would probably tailor my comment depending on the year of the Yukon. Regardless it’s a giant list of possibilities. However if the Yukon is a 2004 or older I would start with a fuel pressure test.

  41. Anne Hyvärinen

    HI Mark, I have a 1996 Toyota 4 runner 2wd with 270,000 miles. It has been running fine except for one instance about a month ago when it died at a stop light but then started up again no problem. I keep it regularly maintained and it loses very little oil. However the check engine light keeps coming on. A shop recommended replacing the throttle body after they cleaned the IAC and the engine light came on after 50 miles of driving again. Any thoughts about this? Thanks! Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Anne: I wouldn’t be surprised if your Toyata needs the throtle body replaced. However, to be sure, I would need to know what code or codes are set in the computer memory. Cleaning the throttle body doesn’t usually solve hard set check engine light codes.

  42. Rob

    Hi Mark, I recently brought my car (Corolla 2010, built Nov.2009) into the garage and they recommended that if I change the battery myself, the throttle body should be cleaned to avoid stuttering after changing the battery. Could you tell me if this makes sense?

    • Mark Gittelman

      Rob: Does this make sense? Well yes and No. Sometimes when replacing the battery the computer can loose the learned memory. Especially if power is disconnected for an extended period. Lost memory includes the Idle memory and transmission shift habits. The car can have erratic idle and shift points as it automatically relearns. This process can take several drive cycles, but is temporary. However, I don’t see how a throttle body service helps things.

  43. Kamarie

    Hi mark I have a 2004 Nissan Altima with a lil over 150k miles on it, I had the throttle body just replaced and now it’s giving me problems at the first start up when the car is cold, after that is find. Battery is fairly new and I think the starter too. what can it be? Thank you in advance.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Kamarie: Cold start issues can be complicated because, diagnosis involves checking many systems including temp sensors, fuel enrichment and spark control. Just when you get close to the answer the car warms up and runs fine. With that said, If it wasn’t a problem until the throttle body replacement then that shop should recheck it.

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