Induction Service -Is it worthwhile or necessary

Getting my '08 Chev. Silverado 1500 ready for a road trip down South later this spring. I’m taking it into my local Chev. dealership for some minor issues and some routine maintenance {fluid changes,etc}. They recommend the I have there Induction service performed for a cost of 129.00. My question is does the induction system need to be serviced and does it really do any good? The truck has 81000 miles on it and seems to run fine.

Read these:

Short answer: Since your truck is running fine, induction service is unnecessary.

Short answer, not worthwhile and certainly not necessary.

The only thing getting “cleaned” is your wallet.

I respectfully disagree to some extent. Given the age and miles an induction service could be beneficial as to cleaning deposits from the heads of intake valves, cleaning EGR passages, and cleaning of the throttle plate bore and which could even possibly head off problems which might occur 10k miles later, etc.

One afternoon I dropped in to the parts dept. at the local Lincoln dealer and spent a few minutes talking with a friend who worked there as a mechanic. He had the intake off of a Lincoln Town Car that only had about 40k miles on it and was doing some induction cleaning. Logic would dictate that a 40k miles TC should be fairly clean. The reality was that intake was a gunked up mess.
A lot depends upon driving habits, environmental conditions, and so on.

Like your posting ID by the way… :smile:

@ok4450 Just out of curiosity . . .

Did that Lincoln run a lot better after the induction service?

Were the fuel trims out of whack before the induction service, and everything was fine afterwards?

@dilligara pass on it, but don’t accuse them of being thieves

@db4690, I just talked to the guy for a few minutes as I was in a hurry myself after picking up some updated, dealer only parts so I know very little about the car or why the induction work was being done.

I just made a random comment about him looking like he was “knee deep in muck” and his response was “ain’t it the truth; and only about 40k miles on the car which belongs to an elderly lady”.

Then it was a quick how’s the old lady and kids doing and I was out of there.

A combination fuel injection service/intake system cleaning can range from a complete waste of money to an absolute necessity depending on the circumstances. And sometimes the car owner isn’t even aware of the need for it when it is legitimate, and doesn’t notice the improvement afterwards.

Just because the car is running fine at this time doesn’t mean the service isn’t needed. Do you wait to go to the dentist until you have a toothache or do you go in for regular cleaning and service at specified intervals?

+1 for asemaster but the absolute necessity for this service is somewhat rare.

I agree with both ok4450 and asemaster.
Even if a vehicle is–supposedly–running “okay”, loss of power can be something that drivers are not aware of, simply because it can take place gradually–over an extended period of time.

As was stated, there is really no stock answer to the question of “Does my vehicle need this?”.
Some will, some won’t.

Even though I use Top Tier gasoline and I put a bottle of Techron into the tank every 6-8 months, that regimen won’t do anything to clean my throttle body. As a result, I had my mechanic clean it a few months ago, when the odometer was at ~ 48k miles, and–guess what?–the throttle body was pretty dirty-looking.

I have to admit that I didn’t perceive any increase in power after the throttle body cleaning, but I like asemaster’s analogy regarding tooth care. Just as I don’t wait until I have a toothache before I go to the dentist, I try to be proactive with my vehicle maintenance. Others may differ.

The need for these services has gone up and down over the years. I fixed a lot of hydrocarbon smog test failures with nothing more than a Motorvac. I’ve fixed a lot of hard starting complaints over the years with it. Then as fuel and engine systems improved, the need kind of went down. But over the last few years there seems to be an increase in carboned up intakes, poor fuel injector balance, and the need for this service. BMW and Mini seem to be among the top.

There’s really no objective way to determine an answer to the OP’s question, since things like “needed”, “OK”, and “expensive” are all subjective to each person.

A $600 repair estimate can be met with “Is that all?” to “Oh my gosh how am I going to pay the rent?”

I"ll ask someone if they’ve noticed the car running any differently since the engine light came on and they’ll say “No, not really.” Then I’ll drive the car and find it only running on 4 of 6 cylinders.

Sometimes it may actually be running fine with no issues, but the scan tool data shows the idle valve maxed out to keep the engine running when cold, indicating maintenance is needed. Or the fuel trims indicate there may be excessive carbon buildup.

An intake service, done in conjunction with a fuel injector flush/service certainly won’t hurt anything, will more than likely help something, but if $129 is an amount outside of what you can easily afford, then I would skip it it you’re happy with the way the truck starts and runs.

Intake had been removed for cleaning? It’s fairly easy to open butterfly and peer inside. I would like to take a poll of mechanics who agree with service manager to remove intake on 40k mile car to clean? Clean how? With a screwdriver? Heck, why not replace the intake? Certainly easier.

Too many variables for this scenario @Cavell . Lot’s of cars you can’t see inside the intake through the throttle body.

I’ve had to remove intakes to clean to fix a single cylinder misfire. I’ve had to pull intakes to cure EGR codes. I’ve pulled intakes to clean carbon caused by a poor design, a faulty PCV/breather system, or leaking lower gaskets that introduced oil into the intake manifold.

Cleaning is done by a combination of chemical and mechanical processes–meaning a freakin mess all over yourself and everything around you.

A couple of hours to clean is more economical than replacing with new.

I’m sure a 40,000 mile little old lady car would be far more prone to these problems than a 150,000 mile highway cruiser.

I’m a little curious here. I can see how running a powerful solvent through the fuel system can clean out the fuel injectors and improve their spray patterns and I can see how they would clean off the tops of the intake valves, but I don’t see how they clean out the intake manifold or the EGR system.

I have had to clean out the throttle body on several cars that I have owned, mostly on my Saturn as the EGR really gunked up the back side of the throttle body and the throttle plate would stick closed. When I had to replace the intake manifold gasket, the intake was full of gunk and I cleaned it out, but I don’t see how an induction cleaning would have cleaned it. I used brushes and solvents to clean it out.

I only cleaned out the intake because I had it off the engine for the gasket, otherwise I would not have done it. I’m sure it gunked up again but I still drove it 275k miles with only that one cleaning. The engine did generate a lot of soot for some reason, it didn’t burn very much oil, about 1 qt/2k miles and I did have to clean out the EGr passages twice and the secondary AIR passage once due to soot, and the CEL they generated.

So I am still against the induction service unless there is an absolute need for it, not just a random “it should be done”.

My take on induction cleaning is that if it needs to be cleaned, the first thing is to take as much of it apart as practical and clean it on the bench. Then if you like you can continue with the induction cleaning. The dirtiest part of the induction path is often the pcv feedback point. There may be an egr feedback point in the area too. My thinking is you don’t want to start by doing it with everything installed as it will dissolve all that built up gunk that’s been sitting there and accumulating for years and just send it into the engine. Instead, remove as much of that gunk first on the bench.