WHAT THE HECK IS A…Throttle Body?

To know what the heck a throttle body IS, we must first explore what the heck a throttle body IS NOT. A throttle body is not: 

  1. An alcoholic drink consisting of mainly whiskey and a double shot of pure gasoline
  2. The worst rhyme for “bottle hockey”
  3. A term for a being that houses a soul before it is thrust into the afterlife
  4. The part of a rocket ship that gives it an extra space-boost during space-travel

Bottle Hockey

So…what the heck is it then? 

The throttle body is part of an engine’s air intake system. It controls the amount of air drawn into the engine’s combustion chamber, which ultimately controls the speed of the vehicle.

How Does It Work?

The throttle body has a flat disc inside called the throttle plate. It is attached to a shaft, which allows it to spin.

When you push the gas pedal, the throttle plate spins open, and allows air to be sucked into the combustion chamber. The harder you push the gas pedal, the more air is allowed in the combustion chamber, and more tiny explosions of ignited air/fuel make the vehicle go faster.

When you lift your foot off the gas pedal, the throttle plate spins closed, and stops the air flow into the combustion chamber.

The amount of air allowed to pass through the throttle body is regulated by a throttle body temperature sensor.

So…the throttle plate is like a bouncer at a hot club, and the throttle body temperature sensor is like…the list of people allowed in based on how hot it is inside? Sure…

Throttle body temperature sensor


If your vehicle is hesitating or stuttering during acceleration, you may have an issue with the throttle body. More often than not, the culprit is either a bad throttle body temperature sensor, an issue with the electrical connection, or the throttle plate has worn a groove in the throttle body, which can mean that there is always some flow of air into the engine’s combustion chamber. As always, if you experience any issues like these or suspect something isn’t quite right, you should take your vehicle to your local mechanic!


So, there you have it. It was short and sweet, but now you know what the heck a throttle body is NOT, what it IS, and possibly got your name on the list to get into the hot new club in town.



Tell me what other automotive parts baffle you. I’ll tell you what the heck they are!

Written by Ben Scharff

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