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What Are the Common Symptoms of a Bad Throttle Body? 

What Happens When You Unplug the Throttle Position Sensor

Some of the common symptoms of bad throttle body include engine stalling, engine having issues idling, engine running rough, check engine illuminating, vehicle losing power, and others. 

The throttle body is one of the most crucial components in your vehicle that monitors the Airflow to the engine. Using certain control units, you will be able to adjust the angle of the throttle body to provide the required amount of air for your vehicle to operate properly under different circumstances.

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Over time of use, the throttle body can get damaged, resulting in many issues, especially those related to the engine’s performance.

As a driver, you need to keep an eye and ear for some of the common symptoms of a bad throttle body. Automotive experts recommend that detecting the problem early can help you save thousands of dollars down the road.

This article provides you with a detailed list of all potential symptoms of a bad throttle body. It is recommended that once you notice or realize any of these symptoms, you should take your vehicle to the nearest repair shop and get the problem resolved immediately. Otherwise, you will be introducing some major problems that can cost you a lot if not damaging other components. 

What is the throttle body, and what does it do? 

The throttle body is a plate connected to the vehicle's shaft. This plate is responsible for controlling the amount of air getting to the engine, which determines the engine's speed. When the plate is at a rest position, it does not allow a lot of air to get to the engine, and as a result, your engine will move slower.

There are two different types of throttle bodies available in the market: 

  • Mechanical throttle bodies 

Mechanical throttle bodies usually exist in older vehicles, and they rely on mechanical power to operate. These throttle bodies usually have what's referred to as the idle air control valve or the IAC. This valve is responsible for monitoring any air getting through the throttle body to the engine. The IAC is one of the most important components that your vehicle keeps an eye for, allowing the car to stay slightly higher than idle speed to prevent and avoid engine stalling. 

  • Electronic throttle bodies 

As the name suggests, the electronic throttle body relies on a certain throttle position sensor connected to the throttle body itself. These sensors are responsible for providing feedback about the behavior of the throttle body to the vehicle's internal computer. Once these sensors send any signal, the PCM or the ECM will provide certain pulses to ensure that the vehicle drives at the right speed. 

What are the common symptoms of a bad throttle body? 

The throttle body is not designed to last forever, and there will be a point in time where you have to replace it. 

The good news is that when the throttle body goes bad, your vehicle will complain by showing you some clear symptoms indicating an internal problem.

Let's take it also a look at some of the very common symptoms of a bad throttle body:

  • Engine stalling 

When the throttle body goes bad, it can get stuck opened or stuck closed. As a result, the vehicle's internal computer will not determine the amount of air needed to reach the idling round per minute. As a result, you will notice some issues causing engine stalling.

Engine installing can be a critical and dangerous situation, especially if you're driving on the highways. That's why automotive experts never recommend continuing driving your vehicle if you're dealing with some stalling issues.

Engine stalling can happen to a long list of problems, including those related to a bad throttle body. Therefore, do not attempt to perform any repairs to your vehicle's throttle body until you're 100% sure it is the part causing the problem. 

  • Issues with idling 

Your vehicle's idling process is closely linked to the performance of the throttle body. The powertrain control module requires some information from the throttle body indicating the amount of air flowing to the engine. When the throttle body is not providing the right information, the powertrain control module will not perform properly, and you will find some issues with unstable idling

  • Vehicle running rough

Since the throttle body is linked to the air-fuel mixture in your engine, about throttle body can easily result in rough idling by disturbing this mixture.

Your vehicle requires a certain level of air and fuel. When this level is disturbed, the engine will not operate using its maximum capacity. It will either run fuel-rich or fuel low. In either case, you will notice a significant reduction in the vehicle's overall performance, and one of the most obvious symptoms is rough idling.

Keep in mind that rough idling can also be linked to other problems within the fuel system and the exhaust system. Thus, if you want to confirm whether the problem is coming from about throttle body, you need to have a professional mechanic inspect the car to pinpoint the culprit. 

  • Check engine lights illuminating

Your vehicle relies on the internal computer to communicate with you through some warning signs whenever there is an internal problem. When the check engine light, for example, eliminates, the vehicle tries to bring your attention to some internal issue. The internal issue can be as simple as tightening a loose fuel cap and can be as complicated as and damaged engine.

Thus, as a driver, whenever you notice a check engine light illuminating, your job is to immediately pull over and inspect the problem before attempting to drive further.

Unfortunately, the check engine light can be linked to multiple problems, and it's very challenging to decide whether the problem is coming from a bad throttle body or not. First, when you see a check engine light illuminating, you can't immediately assume that it's the throttle body. Instead, you should bring your vehicle to the nearest repair shop and have the mechanic inspect it to pinpoint the culprit.

The one thing to consider is the OBD 2 scanner. This scanner can help you scan any error in your vehicle's computer to let you know what's going on. It can simply indicate some error codes referring to a problem with the throttle body. 

  • A significant reduction in power resulting in some warning messages 

A reduced power warning message is most likely linked to problems with General Motors vehicles. It's been known that about throttle body in any GM vehicle can easily affect the vehicle's overall power, and thus, you'll see that your car is not operating as before. 

Again, this warning sign is one of those vague warning signs that might be linked to multiple other components, and you can't simply rely on it to say that the throttle body is going bad. 

Does the throttle body damage the engine? 

The throttle body is responsible for monitoring the airflow of the engine. Thus, a bad throttle body will not directly cause some damages to your engine but will most likely affect the engine's performance.


However, you need to be aware that when the engine does not receive the right amount of air, the vehicle will deal with situations where the fuel is not completely burnt, which can make its way to the exhaust system. Unburnt fuel can cause a lot of damage and might affect your vehicle's emission test results. 

Can a bad throttle body cause transmission problem? 

While it might sound that the throttle body is only linked to the engine and doesn't have to do anything with the transmission, that is not the case.

When the throttle body goes bad, affecting the engine's performance and the overall load capacity, automatic transmission can also affect by providing wrong shifting or challenging shifting. Thus, poor idling and reduction in engine power resulted from bad throttle bodies can also affect the transmission performance. 

How long does a throttle body last? 

There's no specific mileage at when you would expect the throttle body to go bad. However, automotive experts suggest that you need to replace or at least clean the throttle body once every 75,000 miles.

Keep in mind that your throttle body's lifespan can be affected by your driving habits, driving environments, vehicle type, and other factors. Thus, it's recommended that you refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual to get an idea about the frequency of maintaining or replacing the throttle body depending on your vehicle's make, model, and year. 

How much does it cost to replace a bad throttle body? 

Depending on your vehicle's type and the location where you get the job done, replacing the throttle body requires between $370 and $1500. Keep in mind that replacing the throttle body is a labor-intensive job which means that you need to consider labor costs ranging from as low as $70 to as high as $600.

Many people think that choosing a small repair shop can save them a lot on labor costs but what they're missing is the experience. When you are replacing an important component life with a throttle body, you want to make sure that it's done what the high-quality and by a professional mechanic.

Thus, do not keep the price as your top priority when it comes to replacing a bad throttle body. If the mechanic does not have the necessary mechanical skill sets, he might introduce some major problems that can cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

Some drivers prefer to learn some mechanical repairs on their own to save on labor costs. That is a great idea of what, unless you're 100% sure that you can do the job right, you don't want to experience in your vehicle, especially if you're driving an expensive car.

One thing to check is your vehicle insurance and see whether replacing the throttle body can be covered under the extended warranty or your insurance policy. 

Is it safe to drive with a bad throttle body?

While about throttle body will not stop your vehicle from driving, automotive experts recommend that you continue driving this car because it affects your engine's performance. Never got your engine's performance is linked directly to safety, especially if you're dealing with some engine stalling issues when driving on the highways. 


The throttle body is one of the very important components in your vehicle responsible for monitoring airflow to the engine. Over time of use, the throttle body will require some maintenance and replacement in some scenarios.

When the throttle body goes bad, you'll notice a significant difference in your vehicle’s overall performance. For instance, you might deal with some engine stalling, engine running rough, and engine having issues idling.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to take a second step and confirmed rather the problem is coming from the throttle body because all of these symptoms can be linked to internal problems.

If you found that fixing the throttle body problems requires very high repair costs, it might be the right time now to sell your car to Cash Cars Buyer and use the payment towards a better vehicle.

Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to buy your car even if it has some major problems in the throttle body or any other major component. Our company pays the top dollars for your vehicle and provides you with free towing no matter where you're living around the United States.

As a 24-hour car removal company, we have plenty of flexible options for you to choose from. For instance, you can pick to get your vehicle removed on weekends, evenings, or the same day if you are interested. 

To learn more about our process and our team, you can reach out to us by giving us a call at 866-924-4608 or visit our home page click on the free instant online offer.

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