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How to Use 3M Intake System Cleaner? A Complete Guide!

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Modern intake systems have four major components and this include the intake manifold, air filter, mass air flow sensor, and the throttle body. Over time, the intake system gets accumulated with dirt, carbon, or gunk. When this happens, it can lead to reduced engine performance, poor fuel economy, and other engine issues. It is for this reason why cleaning the system is important and one effective way to clean it is by using a product called 3M Intake System Cleaner. You might ask, how to use 3M Intake System Cleaner? To safely use it in your engine, it requires the use of the 3M Intake System Cleaner Adaptor Kit. The procedures include:

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  • Locating the throttle body of your your car
  • Loosening the air ducting clamp and removing the boot.
  • Putting the hose supplied by the intake system cleaning adaptor kit inside the throttle body’s edge.
  • Reattaching the air ducting while securing the said hose in place. Do not clamp it yet.
  • Start the engine and ask someone to rev your car’s engine to 1,000 to 1,500 RPM. Make sure that that RPM is maintained throughout the duration of the cleaning process.
  • Lock your 3M Intake System Cleaner in place by engaging the trigger on the can.
  • When the can is empty, allow the engine to idle for a couple of seconds and turn it off.
  • Remove the hose provided by the intake system cleaner kit and reinstall the air ducting and clamp.
  • Test drive your car to know if everything is working properly.


Knowing how to use 3M Intake System Cleaner will be very beneficial for you and your car since you will be able, with the help of this cleaning product, to remove soot, carbon, and other harmful deposits from your car intakes. Make it a part of the intake system maintenance of your car to improve its acceleration, fuel economy, and performance. If you want to know more about the other ways on how to use 3M Intake System Cleaner on your car and why it is important, read on! We’ll tell you everything you need to know!



How to Use 3M Intake System Cleaner? What is an Intake System?



If you are asking, “how to use 3M Intake System Cleaner?”, you probably have an idea why cleaning your car’s intake system is important. But what an intake system and why do you need to clean it?


As mentioned above, the intake system of a car consists of a number of components that include the intake manifold, air filter, mass air flow sensor, and the throttle body. These components let the internal combustion engine inhale, in the similar way the exhaust system lets the engine exhale. Some cars have other intake components such as turbochargers and superchargers which can help increase the car’s engine power.


So how does an intake system work? The intake is where the engine draws air in. Engine needs an exact amount of clean, filtered air for it to function. This air should be available at all times. The air intake system is responsible for this task. Basically, it functions by making sure that the engine will be provided access to air, to filter the said air, and to report the volume of air to the engine control unit.


A fuel-injected car has an intake system that usually starts with an intake manifold that is mounted to the car’s cylinder head. The said manifold is connected to the cylinder head’s intake ports and it enables it to supply either air or air and fuel mixture on each intake stroke of the cylinder. Although an intake manifold has specific configuration that can vary from one application to another, they are usually connected to a throttle body.


A throttle body is a part that is responsible for directly controlling the air flow into the intake. It is usually the component you control with your car’s gas pedal. When you step on the gas pedal, you are basically opening the throttle that lets more air enter the engine.


Like any other parts or systems of a car, the intake system is prone to problems since it is made up of many different parts. One of the problems it can encounter is an accumulation of grit, dirt, carbon, and other harmful deposits. When this happens, the performance of the engine will be affected. It can also reduce its fuel economy and cause more stress on the engine itself.


To restore the performance of your car’s engine and improve its fuel economy, an intake system cleaning on regular intervals is needed. When you clean your intake system on regular intervals, it will help prevent dirt, grime, soot, carbon, and other harmful deposits from building up which can hinder your engine from operating on its full potential. One of the best and effective ways to clean your intake system is by using an intake system cleaner.


You will know if your intake system is due for a cleaning when you experience problems such as:


  • Poor or high idle


If your throttle body is no longer effective in doing its job due to the build ups, then it’s time for an intake system cleaning. You may notice your car stall after coming to a stop or when the throttle is pressed down quickly, or a low idle after starting. This can happen when there is dirt in the system that causes unstable airflow into the system.


  • Increased fuel consumption


If your car is consuming more fuel than usual, it can mean that your intake system is clogged due to dirt accumulation or other build ups.


  • Electrical problems


When the intake system’s throttle body’s sensor is covered with grime or dirt, this can lead to bad adjustments to the air and fuel mixture that can result in cars going into a secondary power reduced mode which can only be fixed by a mechanic.


  • Slow or uneven acceleration


As explained earlier, when you step on your car’s gas pedal, the flow of air and fuel into the engine will increase. If there is any dirt accumulation or other build ups in your intake system, this can keep your car from picking up power it requires from combustion. When this happens, you may notice that your car takes longer to move than it usually does or the speed picks up in intermittent bursts.


  • Illuminating check engine light


Your check engine light will be set off if the performance of your intake system’s throttle body is not up to the appropriate level. When this happens, the electronic throttle control will be alerted of the problem which will then set off your check engine light. However, an illuminating check engine light can be caused by a lot of issues so it is better to check your intake system first and look for any signs of dirt or carbon build ups to determine if it is the one that is causing the problem. If not, have your car checked by a mechanic to get the right diagnosis.




How to Use 3M Intake System Cleaner? How Do You Manually Clean Intake Valves?




A 3M Intake System Cleaner can also be used to clean the idle air control valve which is a component of the intake system. This component is usually found on the fuel-injected engine’s throttle body. It works with the car’s engine control unit to regulate the airflow to the engine electrically to make sure that engine’s idling will be smooth.


This idle air control valve becomes clogged over time, and this can lead to the car’s idling becoming too fast, running somewhat jumpy while idling, idling too low that could result in stalling, or backfiring. You might ask, how to use the 3M Intake System Cleaner and why is it important?


Cleaning your car’s idle air control valve on a regular interval is important since it can help keep dirt, carbon, and other harmful particles from building up on the valve. It is important since the build ups have a negative effect on the car's overall operation. Cleaning the valve can prevent issues such as unusual noises from the car, reduced engine performance, and idling problems.


You might ask, how to use 3M Intake System Cleaner when cleaning the idle air control valve? The steps on this idle air control valve can vary from vehicle to vehicle as well as the location of your idle air control valve. It is better to consult your owner’s manual or repair guide to check for any specific instructions on how to clean your idle air control valve.


But in general, the steps on how to use 3M Intake System Cleaner is as follows:


  • Find the idle air control valve.


Of course, the first step on how to use the 3M Intake System Cleaner in cleaning your idle air control valve is to find it. The valve can usually be found on the intake manifold near the throttle body’s back. Keep in mind that when you clean your idle air control valve, you need to make sure that your car is not running. If you have just recently used it, you need to wait until your engine has cooled down. If it has cooled down, then you can proceed with the other steps.


  • Remove the intake hose.


Find the intake hose which is attached to the throttle body and detach it.


  • Disconnect the car battery cable.


Locate the car battery and disconnect the cable that is leading to its negative terminal carefully. You can disconnect it by loosening the nut and pulling the cable away carefully.


  • Remove the screws securing the air intake house.


You will find two screws that are used to put the air intake hose in place. You will have to remove these screws from the clamp that connects the hose to the throttle. To prevent stripping the slot, you need to use the right screwdriver or tool.


  • Disconnect the electrical plug from the valve.


There is an electrical plug attached to the valve and you have to loosen and remove it. You also need to disconnect all three hoses attached to the valve.


  • Remove the plugs connected to the valve.


There are mounting screws at the intake air control’s top, remove them. Disconnect the valve and then remove the gasket.


  • Remove the gasket.


If your gasket is worn and needs to be replaced, you can remove it and install a new one.


  • Apply the 3M Intake System Cleaner.


Once everything is done, you can then proceed to the cleaning. You can do this by spraying the 3M Intake System Cleaner into the intake air cleaning valve. If there is any excess spray, wipe it away with a clean cloth. Make sure that you follow the product instructions as to how long you should allow the product to soak into the grime. It is usually around 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the process if necessary.


  • Clean the throttle body and intake passages.


Clean the throttle body’s outside area and the valve passages’ inside with a cloth and the 3M Intake System Cleaner and allow them to dry for at least thirty minutes.


  • Put the valve back in place.


Once everything is dry, place the IACV back in place, with the new gasket, and tighten the screws securely.


  • Reattach the hoses and electrical plug.


Reattach the hose and electrical plug properly. Reconnect the negative battery cable once everything has been put back in place.


  • Check if the IACV is working properly.


Start your engine and allow it to run for about 10-15 minutes. You will know if the valve is working properly if the engine’s sound is good and it has a steady idle. If the idle is still inconsistent, high, or low, have it checked by a mechanic immediately. Your car might need an intake air control valve replacement.



Knowing how to use 3M Intake System Cleaner can help your car in many ways. It can help your engine operate at its full potential, improve your car’s fuel economy, and make sure that you can idle and accelerate smoothly.

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