Can You Clean a Throttle Position Sensor?

Updated February 21, 2017

A throttle position sensor refers to a sensor that monitors the throttle's position in an internal combustion engine. Throttle position sensors reside within the throttle body, which may require maintenance and cleaning to preserve normal function.


Symptoms of a throttle position sensor in need of maintenance include engine problems, such as stalling, rough idling or poor engine performance. Throttle position sensor issues can be determined via a self-diagnostic check.


Throttle position sensors can clog due to crankcase vapours. These vapours commonly pass through the throttle body when reintroduced into the combustion process and can deposit oily residue on the throttle plate facilitating the accumulation of sludge.


Cleaning the throttle body itself can be done using carburettor fluid and a clean cloth for the removal of light sludge. If heavy sludge build-up is an issue, the throttle body must be removed, cleaned in a solvent and allowed to dry. During this process, the throttle position sensor should not be cleaned due to the possibility of contamination or wire damage. The best way to preserve the sensor is to remove and replace it after cleaning is finished.

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