Top Recommendations for Throttle Body Cleaners

If you find that your car’s throttle body needs cleaning and you want to know what cleaning products are worth investing your money, this guide will cover the best five throttle body cleaners that are available on the market right now!

A throttle body cleaner is an all-purpose solvent that cleans a throttle body by breaking down both carbon and fuel-related deposits. It typically comes in a can that makes it easy to spray the cleaner onto the surface of a throttle body, similar to a can of WD-40.

What Is Throttle Body Cleaner Made Of?

Throttle body cleaner contains xylene, a chemical compound that removes oil, soot particles, dirt, and other substances that should not be on the device. Throttle body cleaner also has a group of solvents known as glycol ethers, and these create a soap-like effect that helps clean the throttle body’s metallic surfaces.

When to Use Throttle Body Cleaner?

If you want the best results, you should use throttle body cleaner when you notice dirt, carbon, and other forms of debris building up on the throttle body. However, you can also use it whenever you feel that the throttle body requires cleaning, even if you don’t see any visible signs of dirt.

Why Clean a Throttle Body?

The throttle body plays an essential role in any car, as it directly affects drivability in several ways. When dirty, there is a chance that the throttle body will cause your car’s engine to have issues with accelerating and maintaining a set speed. Though keep in mind that several other factors aside from a dirty throttle body can cause a similar type of issue.

What’s the Best Throttle Body Cleaner?

Below is a summary of the best throttle body cleaners.

Table Summary of Best Brand Picks

ItemDescriptionRecommended sellerprice
CRC Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner – Overall Best PickAn all around excellent throttle body cleaner that is versatile in any fuel-injection system gasoline engine. Amazon $6.99-$11.99
CRC Throttle Body and Air-Intake CleanerAn all around excellent throttle body cleaner that is versatile in any fuel-injection system gasoline engine.Amazon $6.99-$11.99
3M Throttle PLate and Carb CleanerFlexible canister design that allows for more maneuverability and control, making it easy to reach tight places. 3M  $6.99-$12.99
Berryman B-12 Chemtool Carburetor, Choke and Throttle Body CleanerContains 100% high-energy solvent technology that allows for better fuel economy and overall vehicle performance. Amazon$3.95, $5.63, and $8.14
WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body & Parts CleanerAn all-in-one cleaner spray that cleans carburetors, unpainted metal parts, and engines with ease. Amazon  $6.35 and $39.24
Johnsen’s Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner-50 State FormulateFormulation adheres to the VOC requirements of all 50 states. This cleaner makes short work of any gum, varnish, and other residue on the throttle body system. Amazon $45.00

1) CRC Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner

Description

This throttle body cleaner by CRC is one of the undisputable best options currently available. Possibly even the best. It is entirely usable in any fuel-injection system gasoline engine, making it highly versatile.

Performance

You can use this throttle body cleaner to safely clean both the throttle valves and throttle body of gum and varnish. It is also suitable for cleaning the air-intakes of the throttle body system, which helps increase overall engine performance.

Price

The price for this product varies depending on where you purchase it, but it generally sells between $6.99 and $11.99.

Where to Buy It

You can purchase CRC Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner at your local AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, The Home Depot, or other local stores that sell automobile products. You can also buy it on Amazon.

2) 3M Throttle Plate and Carb Cleaner

Description

The 3M Throttle Plate and Carb Cleaner is a fantastic cleaning product that separates itself from the competition by being more flexible when reaching for tricky angles. It comes with an ergonomic trigger that increases your control level, so there will never be a part of the throttle body that you can’t reach with this cleaner.

Performance

The 3M Throttle Plate and Carb Cleaner lubricates the throttle body and carburetor assemblies while cleaning all debris and residue to improve engine stability. It is also worth noting that this cleaner is safe to use on throttle plates that have a coat.

Price

The 3M Throttle Plate and Carb Cleaner’s price ranges from $6.99 to $12.99, depending on where you purchase it.

Where to Buy It

You can buy the 3M Throttle Plate and Carb Cleaner at most stores that sell automobile cleaning products. Additionally, you can buy it on Amazon or 3M’s website.

3) Berryman B-12 Chemtool Carburetor, Choke and Throttle Body Cleaner

Description

Next is the Berryman B-12 Chemtool Carburetor, Choke, and Throttle Body Cleaner, which comes in 10oz, 16oz, and 20oz, canisters and has 100% high-energy solvent technology.

Performance

This throttle body cleaner will easily clean your vehicle’s valves, intake ports, injectors, and carburetors. It will also get rid of any moisture in conventional gasoline. The high-energy solvent technology allows for better fuel economy and performance, so you will find your car getting the most mileage possible with this product.

Price

The 10oz aerosol costs $3.95, the 20oz aerosol costs $5.63, and the 16oz, aerosol costs $8.14.

Where to Buy It

You can buy the Berryman B-12 Chemtool Carburetor, Choke and Throttle Body Cleaner on Amazon.

4) WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner

Description

The WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner is an all-in-one cleaner spray that can clean a carburetor, unpainted metal parts, and engine. Depending on how much throttle body cleaner you need, you can purchase this product in a one or six-pack size.

Performance

The combination of its solvent cleaning formula and powerful spray blasts makes this product one of the best at removing the most challenging bits of grit from a throttle body and other parts of your car. So, if you want something for the heavy-duty side of things, you need not look any further than this cleaner.

Price

The prices of the one and six-packs are $6.35 and $39.24, respectively.

Where to Buy It

You can get the WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner on Amazon.

5) Johnsen’s Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner – 50 State Formulate

Description

The Johnsen’s Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner is a bit of a lesser-known throttle body cleaner. However, it gets the job done just as well as its competitors, as its formulation adheres to VOC requirements in all 50 states.

Performance

This cleaner will rid your car’s throttle body of dirt, varnish, gum, sludge, and other unwanted residues while also cleaning the butterfly/throttle valves. It also increases fuel economy and overall performance.

Price

The Johnsen’s Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner costs $45.00. However, this is because it comes in a 12 pack of 10oz canisters.

Where to Buy It

You can purchase the Johnsen’s Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner on Amazon.

Symptoms of a Dirty Throttle Body

Here are a few symptoms to look for to better understand when your car’s throttle body needs cleaning.

Bad Fuel Efficiency

After filling up your fuel tank, pay attention to the mileage you get out of a full tank and see if it is noticeably lower than the number of miles you should get. If your car is achieving a much lower number of miles than it should off a full tank, you might have a dirty throttle body on your hands.

If you are unsure how many miles your car should average off a full tank of gas, consult the owner’s manual to find out the answer.

Check Engine Light Comes On

You can chalk the check engine light coming on up to several different issues, none of which are good, but a dirty throttle body is undoubtedly among them. If you find that the check engine light comes on in conjunction with another symptom of a dirty throttle body, then you can generally assume a dirty throttle body is responsible.

However, when the check engine light comes on without any other symptoms, you should rule out other causes before assuming that you are dealing with a dirty throttle body.

Inconsistent Acceleration Speeds

Due to how a dirty throttle body can impact a car’s engine, you will notice its effects if your vehicle begins having acceleration issues. Specifically, when you try to press down on the gas pedal and get a jerky or noticeably slow response, this is a good indicator that your throttle body is dirty.

This happens because the power that an engine typically gets from combustion becomes lessened when the throttle body is dirty, so it’s crucial to clean it in these cases.

Idling Issues

Another symptom of a dirty throttle body that you might encounter is idling issues. If you try coming to a stop and experience a rough motion, you can check to make sure that you don’t have a malfunctioning or misfiring engine, as that may also cause problems with low or poor

idling.

The fluctuating idle speed comes from dirt and other debris entering the throttle body system, which in turn causes varying airflows that create inconsistent idling speeds.

General Airflow Problems

Out of all the symptoms you can look for to detect a dirty throttle body, problems with the system’s airflow are among the most difficult to pinpoint. The main reason behind this difficulty is that you won’t be aware of it unless you check the throttle body directly.

When the throttle body system becomes dirty, the resulting uneven airflow will lead to various performance issues, including the idling and inconsistent acceleration speeds that we went over previously.

How To Use Throttle Body Cleaning Products

Now that you are familiar with some of the best throttle body cleaning products, let’s go over how to use them to clean your car’s throttle body properly.

Materials Needed

Before following the steps below, be sure you have the following items.

  • Screwdriver
  • Socket wrenches
  • Toothbrush or soft-bristle cleaning brush
  • Flashlight
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels or old rags
  • Cotton swabs
  • Household oil
  • Throttle Body Cleaner

Step 1

Disconnect the vehicle battery’s negative and positive connectors and move them away from the battery with the car off.

Step 2

Locate and remove the hoses that connect to the air ducts and throttle body. When you do this, remember which hoses connect where in the system, and if you think you’ll forget, use something to label them so you won’t have trouble reattaching them later.

Step 3

Next, remove the air duct to gain access to the throttle body. Depending on what is connecting the air duct to the throttle body, you may need to use your screwdriver for this part.

Step 4

Spray your throttle body cleaner into the air duct and use one of your soft-bristle brushes or toothbrush to clean the interior of dirt and grime.

Step 5

Once you think the interior is clean enough, use one of your cotton swabs and wipe some general-purpose oil on the shafts that connect to the throttle body. You can then safely reinstall the throttle body air ducts.

Step 6

Finally, after reattaching all the hoses in their original order, carefully reattach the positive and negative terminals of the battery. At this point, turn the engine on as you usually would and ensure everything is working correctly.

Afterward, allow the engine to run for a few minutes so the system can warm up and the battery can fully recalibrate itself. The only thing left to then do is take your car for a drive and pay attention to any notable changes in performance. If the throttle body was very dirty and causing issues with idling or accelerating, then you should no longer experience either of those.

Author: DJ

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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