In modern cars, the throttle body is an important piece of the air intake system that controls the amount of air that flows into the engine, which then burns up the fuel in the cylinders. At any point in time, for the engine to run in its optimal condition, allowing the right amount of air to enter is very essential. When the throttle body is messy, malfunctioning or clogged up, it stops the flow of air into the engine, which causes issues with performance and also sends unburnt fuel to pass through the exhaust system. Here are 7 symptoms of a bad or failing throttle body, to help you identify the issue before it is too late.
Normally when the throttle body is working correctly, it synchronizes with the fuel intake and the accelerator pedal. Press the accelerator and the flow of fuel is increased into the engine and the throttle body pulls in extra air to burn the extra fuel, allowing your vehicle to perform as it should and run smoothly.
The symptoms are as follows,
Lack of Power
When the throttle body is not working correctly, there is either more or less air entering into the mixture which results in a lack of power and the car is not accelerating as it should. When you press the accelerator, it should ideally allow more air to burn the excess fuel coming in, but if it is malfunctioning there won’t be enough air and because of this, there will be no surge in power.
Issues while accelerating
Since there is a lack of power, the acceleration of the car will definitely have issues. The car will either have uneven acceleration or it won’t accelerate after a certain point, and both cause issues not only to the power and mileage but also to the longevity of the engine.
Higher or Lower Idling
When the throttle body is not operating effectively, one of the tell-tale signs is poor or low idling. This includes the engine stalling after coming to a stop, a very low idle after starting, or stalling when the accelerator pedal is pressed down rapidly. The Dirt collected causes airflow into the system to be turbulent and leads to a fluctuating idle speed.
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Dirt or Grime Build-up
One of the main issues why the throttle body will get clogged is due to the accumulation of dirt and grime within the part, which is also known as coking. This creates a rough surface, that disturbs the air-fuel flow and diminishes the effectiveness of your engine. Carbon deposits cause a similar problem by generating an uneven surface inside the part.
The fuel economy of a car will get severely impacted by a choking throttle body. The ideal way of measuring the mileage is the full tank-to-full tank method. You first put a full tank of fuel, make a note of the odometer readings or set one of the trip meters to zero and then travel a few hundred kilometres. Fill the tank again and make a note of the total amount of fuel consumed. The distance divided by the amount of fuel consumed will give you a clear idea of your car’s mileage. If there is a variation of more than 15%, then there is a high chance that the throttle body has issues.
With cars becoming more dependant on sensors and electronics these days, electronic wiring acts as a nervous system. If the throttle body’s electronic sensor is covered in dirt, this will result in unnecessary corrections to the air-fuel mixture. This could put the car into a secondary power reduced mode until it gets seen by a service mechanic. For some cars which do not have this mode, there are methods like reducing power, limiting the engine rpm, etc.
Check Engine Light
If there is an issue with the throttle body’s performance, it will alert the electronic throttle control. This in turn illuminates the check engine light. Now there are numerous reasons why this warning lights up and a failing throttle body is only one among them. Hence it would be better if you do some manual check to see if there is dirt building up around the part.
When you consider these individual symptoms, there are a lot of reasons why they could occur. But when some or all of them occur at the same time, then it most probably would be the issue with a failing throttle body and will definitely require your immediate attention.
Cleaning the throttle body is the most common solution for this issue and it could be done by ourselves. Even then, it is always better to get it checked with an expert like the ones available in GoMechanic and continue to have a peaceful state of mind.
Let us know which other issue or solution you would like to know more about. We will be more than happy to help and guide you in the right way.