Throttle body service?

I have a '04 Camry with 65,000 miles and the service department at the dealer recently recommended that I get a Throttle Body Service, along with a A/C Evap Service and Power Steering Fluid Flush for a total of just under 500. Is part of routine maintenance?

I can’t see anything in my manual about these services and the car is running fine.


This is part of the dealers boat payment program. You make the payment on his boat.

Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. 

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.

The throttle body can be inspected visually to determine if it requires cleaning.

Did they explain what an AC Evap service entails? Because the only time an evaporator is serviced is when it starts leaking.

Now on the power steering flush. I believe this service is a benefit. Because like any other fluid used in an automobile, it breaks down over time. And the fluid is what keeps the seals from deteriorating. Right now I have a 2000 Camry in for a rack and pinion assembly replacement because the seals leak. This person has owned the vehicle since new. And I’ve serviced the vehicle since it went out of warranty. Since that time I’ve tried to convince the owner to flush the power steering system. But since the owners manual didn’t reflect a service interval for the power steering system, they declined. So now, they’re looking at an $800.00 repair. And flushing a power steering system isn’t all that hard.

But you don’t have to have these services performed at the dealer. A good independant service center can perform these services. And probably at a much lower cost.


Agree; do only what the manual says. Your car is the best selling car in the US, so many garages are qualified to work on it. The only thing you can do to the evaporator is to blow out any accumlated dirt. Air conditioning systems are best left alone if nothing is wrong; they either cool or they don’t. The focus should be on making sure the compressor drive belt is OK and the compressor in not starting to leak, and any grinding noises would indicate your compressor bearings are going. At 65,000 miles, even in Florida, I would not think any of these things already happening.

Today’s gasolines have agreat deal of detergent in them and it will take a lot longer for your throttle body to get gunked up to where it needs service. Pass up on that one; maybe at 130,000miles.

Power steering flush would only be necessary if the rack or other component was failing (like 80s GM cars) and putting debris in the system. These automotive enemas are wholly unnecessary.

Ah! Gasoline doesn’t enter the throttle body. It’s introduced into the engine at the intake manifold, way down stream of the throttle body. So gasoline isn’t going to clean the throttle body.

The throttle body gets gummed up with varnish and carbon from the PCV and EGR gasses that are introduced into it. That’s why they make aerosol throttle body cleaners.

And once a rack and pinion assembly starts leaking, no amount of flushing is going to stop the leak. The idea here is intervention. To flush the power steering system to get that debris out BEFORE it damages the seals.


Yup. The goal os to get the spray as close to the intake port as feisable, such that little coalescing takes place and the mist is as fine as possible when the cylinder fires. The smaller the droplets, the faster and more completely they burn.

They’ve even developed in the labs direct injection gasoline engines (diesels are direct injection by nature). Those may be coming soon, as CAFE requirements become tighter.

Thanks Tester, I stand corrected on the throttle body! Just looked throug hmy 2007 Toyota manual (all models), and at 60,000 miles it requires the following:

  1. Oil & filter change
  2. Replace air filter element
  3. Inspect belts, etc
  4. Replace coolant
  5. Inspect suspension and drive axles
  6. Inspect and rotate tires
  7. Inspect brakes
  8. Check Valve clearance
  9. Replace cabin air filter
  10. Inspect fuel lines and evaporation system
  11. Replace transmission fluid
  12. Check all fluid Levels

Unfortunately, there is nothing about inspecting/flushing the throttle body, evaporator service, or flushing the steering gear fluid. I agree with all 12 items, and normally would do some of these myself, and let my mechanic do the rest. At what mileage should the throttle body reasonably need cleaning out? My other car has gone 115,000 miles, and still has the original injectors, and the trottle body has not been cleaned to my knowledge.

As Tester said, the pcv valve and the egr valve put gases into the throttle body. The condition and tune of the engine determines how much “dirt”, carried in the gases, gets put into the intake tract. The more blowby of oil and gasoline, the more dirty gases that will be drawn in by the pcv valve. The more an engine misfires, and burns oil, the dirtier the gases the egr valve will let into the intake tract. The dirtier the gases, the more accumulation on the intake tract walls, and throttle body, will take place.

The engine in my other car (Nissan) is in essentially new condition at 115,000. No oil consumption, smooth idle, no hesitation, etc. So I probably do not have much gunk in my throttle body. Had the plugs replaced and various adjustments made last month. I will make a visual inspection and see what is there.

Tester, is flushing the power steering fluid easy to do for a DIYer? Is there a drain plug usually? I don’t remember seeing anything for this in my Haynes manual.

Yes. Flushing a power steering system can be done by any DIY’er. You don’t need a flush machine.

Locate and remove the return or low pressure hose from the power steering pump/reservior. Place a plug over the return hose nipple.

Adapt a longer hose into the end of the return hose, and place the end of the long hose into a catch container.

Fill the power steering fluid reservoir with fresh fluid.

Have someone start the engine and as soon as the reservoir is empty, turn off the engine.

Refill the reservoir and repeat until the fluid that enters the catch container runs clear.

Reattach the return hose and fill the reservoir to the proper level.


you have read from others about finding a REAL INDEPENDENT mechanic.

my advice is to NOT go to the dealer for regular (non warranty) repairs.

this is probably for ALL mechanical work. you will benefit from finding and grooming (oops, i mean trusting) a local mechanic. try the home page of this website, and look for mechanics files.

Sounds pretty straight forward! I will take a look at this soon on my Cutlass, not sure if it’s ever had the PS fluid changed. Thanks for the procedure.