A throttle is a device that regulates an engine’s power. Most people know it as a mechanism that controls the speed of an engine such as the accelerator pedal on an automobile, the handlebars on a motorcycle or even the lever-type seen on modern sailing boats. On internal combustion engines in cars, a throttle controls the amount of air and fuel that enter the engine at any given time.
The throttle body works together with the throttle to achieve its goal. This car part is under constant duress as it is essentially activated every single time the accelerator pedal is pressed. As such, it does sometimes break down and require replacement in order to get the system back up and running.
Getting it replaced can be frightening, especially considering the throttle body repair cost involved. But we’re here to get you up to speed on all aspects of the part.
What’s the Price of a New Throttle Body?
Throttle bodies are inexpensive at the low-end but can reach up to more than $2,000 for high-quality parts. Based on prices that we’ve gathered from various auto parts retailers, the estimated price of throttle body replacement ranges from $25.53 to $2,786.47. Let’s take a look at some of the main factors that influence the price.
First of all, the brand makes a difference. Manufacturers at ACDelco, Bosch, Beck Arnley, Dorman, Crown, and Genuine all offer competitive pricing. For example, a Spectra Premium fuel injection throttle body for a 2004 Toyota Camry costs $1,204.02, but a Beck Arnley fuel injection throttle body for a 2001 Land Rover Discovery only costs $27.54.
The cost to replace a throttle body is also different depending on the year, make, and model of your vehicle. Shown below is a calculation that we’ve made of the total price to replace a throttle body on different types of vehicles. Take note that this total amount already includes the labor fee.
|2014 GMC Savana 3500||$312|
|2003 Bentley Arnage||$571|
|2012 Ford Transit Connect||$392|
|2012 Cadillac CTS||$441|
|2007 Mercedes-Benz B200||$688|
|2013 Ford Mustang||$211|
Besides that, other price factors include the location of the retailer as well as whether the part is being sold online or in a physical store.
Where Can You Get It Replaced?
Once you are able to purchase the part, the next step is to either find an auto repair shop which has good mechanics to help or replace it yourself. If you’re considering doing the work on your own, we’ve created a guide for you at the last section.
It’s pretty simple to replace a throttle body on your own and you can save a lot by doing so. If, however, you’re pressed for time, bringing your vehicle to an authorized auto shop with professional technicians is the next best step. But how are you supposed to find the best ones in your area?
You basically have two options when it comes to local shops. Dealerships will honor any existing warranty that you have on the vehicle if it’s still covered. If not, you’ll end up paying a higher price for labor. But you can be assured that your car is in the hands of licensed and trained experts.
Independent auto shops are also an option. However, if your car is still under warranty, the repair may not be covered by the shop.
Based on data gathered from various auto repair establishments, we’ve found the estimated labor cost for a throttle body lies between $98 and $125.
The easiest way to find a good auto shop near you is to do an online search or check your local directory listings. Read reviews and recommendations and ask your friends and neighbors about their experiences.
A few well-known independent auto shops for you to consider are Pep Boys, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Firestone Complete Auto Care.
What’s A Throttle Body?
The throttle body is located inside of a fuel-injected engine and is part of the air intake system which allows air in and out of the engine as you press down the accelerator. On most vehicles, the throttle body can be found right next to the air filter box and the intake manifold.
It may be connected to or located near the mass airflow sensor. It’s a fairly complex piece of machinery but is nonetheless an essential component of the drive system.
It sometimes has a line from the engine’s coolant system running through it in order to take in a specific temperature of air when needed. The throttle body is made of many different smaller parts, but the largest piece is the throttle plate which is a butterfly valve and works as the main regulator for airflow.
When the accelerator pedal is pushed, a cable which is mechanically connected to linkages on the throttle body rotates the throttle plate and opens it up.
Certain cars use a technology called electronic throttle control which, instead of using a mechanical cable, does the entire process via electrical signals. Using this system, when the accelerator pedal is pushed, a sensor sends a signal to the vehicle’s main computer, the ECU, telling it precisely how much force is being used on the pedal.
The ECU will then determine how much to open the throttle linkages on the throttle body based on the data it receives from the sensor. The ECU may also receive additional input from other sensors on the vehicle such as the engine coolant sensor, in order to make the calculation.
Once the throttle plate rotates, a passage is opened up which allows air to enter the intake manifold. The air rushes in faster with the aid of a vacuum.
Another sensor called a mass airflow sensor then measures the change in air pressure and sends the data to the ECU which increases the amount of fuel being injected in order to match the air to fuel ratio. A throttle position sensor is attached to the throttle plate and informs the ECU about whether the throttle is idle, open or somewhere in-between.
The throttle body also contains a variety of valves and adjustments which can control the amount of airflow that the engine receives while idling. Most vehicles that utilize fuel-injected engines only have one throttle and throttle body, but some use more than one throttle body which is operated simultaneously by linkages which connect them together.
How to Identify A Bad Throttle Body?
Keeping all the information that you’ve learned about throttle bodies in mind, it becomes apparent that failure of the throttle body would create problems in the engine as it won’t be receiving the correct ratio of air to fuel. This will eventually cause the engine to lose power and slowly or immediately die.
To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to know what the symptoms of a bad or failing throttle body are. Keep reading to find several details to look for.
- Dirt and Residue Build-Up
This problem happens fairly often on a throttle body and is something that is inevitable once a certain period of time passes. Even the cleanest engine will eventually become laden with grime and carbon deposits to the point that the air or fuel flow into and out of the engine may become interrupted. Without a smooth inner housing surface, the throttle body will be thrown off and unable to perform its function correctly.
Carbon deposits negatively impact airflow because they disrupt atomization of the air/fuel mixture.
- Electrical Issues
One of the things that can cause disastrous problems to a throttle body is electrical connection issues which may allow incorrect and intermittent information to be sent to a vehicle’s ECU. Electrical connectivity issues are a plague no matter where they occur in an automobile.
But if this happens to the throttle body and the ECU makes decisions based on inaccurate information from the sensors, the air to fuel ratio in the engine will go out of sync which will decrease performance and create a staging ground for something worse to happen.
- Vacuum Leaks or Malfunctioning Throttle Stop
An imbalance of airflow may occur due to vacuum leaks in the throttle body inner chamber and cause pressure issues in the part. If not a vacuum leak, a bad or misaligned throttle stop could also cause be the cause of the airflow problems.
A throttle stop acts as a gate-keeper for the throttle body and is responsible for establishing a minimum and maximum position for the throttle plate to open and close.
- Poor or High Idle
One final symptom of a bad throttle body which should be pretty easy to spot is rough idling of the engine. If you experience rough idling, stalling when coming to a stop or low idle after starting the engine, the throttle body is most likely malfunctioning and will need to be replaced or repaired.
Vacuum leaks will actually produce erratic symptoms but are characterized by a very high idle which happens when an excessive amount of air is allowed into the intake system.
All of the symptoms listed here will cause you to lose performance in your engine and may even cause secondary issues. The check engine light on the dashboard might turn on as well.
It’s recommended to watch out for these symptoms when conducting your weekly maintenance sessions to hopefully try to pick it up and become alerted in advance.