What causes my throttle body to fail?

The throttle body is an important part of your air intake system that controls the air flowing into your engine. It’s located between your air intake and engine manifold where fresh air is pulled into the engine for the combustion process. The amount of air allowed into the engine during this process controlled by the butterfly valve. The butterfly valve is a pivoting flat valve controlled by the gas pedal via cable or wire if controlled electronically. When pressing your peddle, the throttle body opens to allow more air flow into your manifold. The computer in your vehicle works with sensors to ensure that your engine receives the perfect balance of fuel and air. So, what causes this perfect harmony to go awry? Let’s take a look at some common issues.

Filth, carbon, and dirt can build up in the housing creating problems with air flow. Known as coking, the normally smooth service for air to travel becomes full of gunk and creates an imbalance. This interrupts that perfect mixture of air and fuel which can cause the butterfly valve to get stuck. A stuck valve can cause surging or even stalling. This is why it’s important to have a good air filter for your vehicle. A fresh filter helps prevent dirt buildup on the surface of the butterfly valve. Poor idling or stalling when coming to a stop is another sign you may have an issue with your throttle body. On the opposite end of the spectrum, an extremely high idle can result from too much air allowed in the intake system. In some modern fuel injected cars, an electronic throttle control monitors the performance of your throttle body. Any issues with this system will trigger the check engine light. The last thing you want is to damper your engine performance.

To prevent buildup and to maintain the throttle body as best you can, its recommended to get an air induction service and fuel injection flush. This cleans out the carbon deposits and grime build up. Bring your vehicle to a certified ASE auto shop such as Ferber’s tire and auto to get your vehicle serviced today!