The Ins and Outs of Throttle Bodies

What is a Throttle Body?

A throttle body is the part of the air intake system that controls the amount of air flowing into the engine, in response to the driver accelerator pedal input. What this means is when the driver pushes the gas pedal, the throttle body opens to allow air to get to the engine. So basically, the more gas you give your car, the more air the throttle body allows to get to the engine.

What is the Difference Between a Mechanical vs. Electric Throttle Body?

There are two different types of throttle bodies that your car can have, mechanical and electric, also know as “drive by wire”. The type of throttle body you have depends on how the automaker made the car. The way a mechanical throttle body works is that the accelerator pedal motion communicates through the throttle cable, which activates the throttle linkages then, moves the throttle plate to allow air into the engine. “Drive by wire” uses an electric motor which controls the throttle linkages, and the accelerator pedal connects to a senor, not the throttle body. The sensor sends the pedal position to the Engine Control Unit (ECU), which determines the throttle opening based on the accelerator position and other engine sensors.

Mechanical Throttle Body

“Drive By Wire” or Electric Throttle Body

Why is it Important to Clean Your Throttle Body?

Over the years of driving your car, gasoline gum build up, dirt and other foreign matter attaches themselves to the throttle body fuel injection (TBI) unit walls and passages. The build up affects the unit’s operation and fuel quality entering the engine. In severe cases, the throttle plate many start to have difficulty opening and closing, and may even get stuck. If the throttle plate gets stuck, the car won’t start so it is very important to clean your throttle body every once in a while.

How to Clean Your Throttle Body?

1. Pop the hood, relieve the fuel system pressure, and disconnect the black negative cable from the battery terminal. Refer to the car’s manual to properly relieve the fuel system pressure on your particular vehicle and locate components if necessary. If you do not have your car’s manual, you can purchase one at most auto parts stores or find one for free at a public library.

2. Take off the air cleaner assembly.

3. Disconnect the cable of cables attached to the throttle lever.

4. Unplug the electrical connectors from sensors, valves, idle control motor unit, and disconnect vacuum hoses attached to the throttle body (if necessary) make a note of the connector you unplug for easier installation.

5. Disconnect the inlet and return fuel lines from the throttle body.

6. Remove the bolts or nuts attaching the TBI unit to the intake manifold using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

7. Lift the throttle body off the intake manifold and remove plastic, rubber, and other electrical parts still attached to the unit. Keep part organized for easier reassembling.

8. Immerse the TBI in carburetor cleaner following the product manufacturer instructions.

9. Replace gaskets, seals, and worn parts as necessary and reassemble the throttle body. If you need the replacement parts, bring old ones to an auto parts store for assistance.

10. Clean the intake manifold mating surface from old gasket material thoroughly, using a scraper, lacquer thinner and a clean rag.

11. Install the throttle body unit on to the intake manifold using a new base plate gasket and tighten the mounting bolts in sequence to the specifications listed in the car’s manual.

12. Connect the inlet and return fuel lines; plug electrical connectors and install vacuum hoses, throttle lever cables, air cleaner assembly, and connect the black negative cable to the battery terminal.

How To: 06 Nissan Altima Temp Control Removal / Installation

In this write up we’ll be showing you how to remove the temperature control from a 2006 Nissan Altima. The temp control is the control panel on your dash that controls the air conditioning, heat and fan speed settings. Our AC controls are manual but this procedure should be the same for the automatic temp control. This is also identical for the 2005 Altima model year.

Tools Needed

Philips head screw driver
Small flat head screw driver or prying tool

Disconnect your Battery – Always remove the negative terminal of your battery before working on your car. This will keep you and your cars electronics safe while you do repairs. Remember that you could potentially have to re-enter your radio code after reconnecting the battery so be sure to have that handy. Radio presets, seat memory, trip computers and info screens may also lose information and presets when you disconnect the battery.


Step One

Using a small flat head screw driver or prying tool, gently pull the trim piece away from the dash. You should feel the clips release as you pull the trim towards you. It’s best to pull the trim out with your hands once you have enough room to get a good grip on it.

When you pull the trim out you’ll see that the passenger air bag warning light is still attached. Using a small screw driver you can release the connector from the air bag light.

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How To: 06 Altima Window Switch Removal / Install

In this write up we’ll be showing you how to remove the master driver’s side window switch. This is a really easy DIY job that doesn’t take long to do. The car we’re working on is a 2006 Nissan Altima but this switch also interchanges with a 2005 Altima. This can be done in minutes with just a screw driver or trim panel removal tool.

Tools Needed

Flat head screw driver or Trim panel removal tool

Disconnect your Battery – Always remove the negative terminal of your battery before working on your car. This will keep you and your cars electronics safe while you do repairs. Remember that you could potentially have to re-enter your radio code after reconnecting the battery so be sure to have that handy. Radio presets, seat memory, trip computers and info screens may also lose information and presets when you disconnect the battery.

Step one

Using a trim panel removal tool or screw driver, gently pry up on the end of the window switch. If you’re using a screw driver, a rubberized one is better but use extra caution with a screw driver. It’s very easy to crack the trim if you use too much force.

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Auto Biz 101 : Make $$ with your Guarantee Policy


Working with both our commercial customers and our retail customers has taught us a lot about people and what they expect from us. In business, trust can be the difference between making money and failing miserably. If our customers can’t trust us and the parts we provide then no one wins. It takes a lot to build trust when we make a sale, the tone of our voice, delivery time, condition of the part and problem resolution all play into what makes our customers trust what we do.

Whether your shop is 30 years old or 30 days old, you’ve probably got something on your wall to build trust with your customers. A diploma, ASE certificate, Better Business Bureau sign, Association acknowledgments, maybe even magazine articles. Whatever it is the purpose is to build trust between you and your customer. Often times when a consumer needs a repair done to their car it can be a stressful and intimidating experience. Our job as parts sellers, mechanics, sales people, or body guys is to lessen the stress and intimidation of having service done.

Look at those signs and certifications you have plastered all over the wall. What are they saying to your customers? Are they doing anything to give the customer piece of mind? Accreditation and acknowledgement of your shops achievements is always important but you may be missing the boat on a huge trust building opportunity. Offer your customer something they can relate to. Create a MONEY BACK policy and display it proudly in your show room.

You’re only as good as your word in business and offering a Money Back Guarantee policy can do wonders to back up the high service level you’re already providing. Use the word MONEY and the dollar sign $$, these are things people can relate to. A satisfaction guarantee is good but a MONEY $$ BACK $$ GUARANTEE is better. Create a policy that makes sense to your business, a policy that you won’t lose your shirt on if you have to deliver on it. Having a money back guarantee will comfort a potential customer and makes it easier for them to trust you with their hard earned cash.

Money Back is a scary phrase for a business owner but it’s a risk worth taking. Remember nothing is permanent and trying out a Money Back Guarantee is well worth the risk. If it doesn’t work for you then you can modify it or stop doing it all together. As technology and social media grows, people are becoming more and more comfortable sharing the experiences they’ve had at local businesses. Concentrating on the total package your offering your customers is more important than ever.

Auto Biz 101 : Facebook

facebook for auto parts business


There aren’t many people left that haven’t logged on their computer and checked out sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. At some point we’ve all come across a social media site or over heard someone talking about it. Facebook in particular has infected our daily lives with links built into new PC’s and apps readily available on just about every mobile device. Facebook has created a great way for us to keep track of old friends and family without having to actually talk to them.

What does that mean to you and your auto parts business? Isn’t Facebook just for cyber stalking old girl friends and posting pictures of my kids? While doing those things can be amusing, there’s more to it now then just that. For business, Facebook offers you a great way to get in front of your customers. As a repair shop or body shop it’s really important for you to be on your customers mind when they have a problem with their car. If you’re selling cars then Facebook can be a great way to advertise what you have on the lot. Brand recognition is key in any form of marketing and Facebook gives you a great way to consistently put your branding in front of a current or potential customer.

Don’t panic though; taking advantage of what Facebook has to offer your business doesn’t take an IT guy. With basic computer and internet skills you can have a business page up and running in no time. All you need is a Facebook account; there are no additional costs for you as a business owner other than your time. Once logged into your Facebook account you can get started by searching for your business. Often Facebook already knows about your business and its address, if it does then go to your business page and click Claim Place at the bottom left of the page. Facebook will then walk you through the process of claiming the page and verifying ownership of the business.

If Facebook doesn’t know about your business yet, then the easiest way to create a page is to go to any other fan page and click on the Create Page link at the lower left of the page. Facebook will again walk you through the steps of starting a page. Once you have the page up and running Facebook does a pretty good job of giving you tutorials and tasks to complete and get you started.

So that’s it, you’ve got the page up and running now you can just forget about it right? Not quite. You’ll need to advertise your Facebook page in your show rooms, waiting area, parts counter, website etc. Anywhere you can think of mentioning your Facebook page, especially in waiting rooms where people are prone to pull out their cell phones to pass the time on social media sites. Once you build up a following you can use Facebook to get the word out on specials your running, new inventory, or just to connect with your customers. The more you get involved the more it’ll pay off.

For more info on getting started just simply go to Facebook and start doing it! If you get stuck, a quick internet search can get you moving again. Don’t give up, you can do this! Your business will thank you.

ECU Programming and you

Why an ECU needs to be re-programmed?

Some ECU’s on cars need to be re-programmed to work with the car because of what’s known as an engine immobilizer. These immobilizers are what make the car not start when someone is trying to steal a car or replacing an ECU. It basically shuts all power down to the car until the original ECU is put back into the car or the correct key is used to start the car. Generally your only way around this is to have the new ECU you buy from Toms, the dealer, or a remanufacturer re-programmed by the dealer. Other cars don’t have an immobilizer and the ECU needs programming to get the car information stored into it.

Getting an ECU re-programmed?

Unfortunately I’m not a guru on this subject and I don’t know exactly which ECU’s need to be programmed. What I do know is the dealer is a pain in the rear when it comes to this. The dealer won’t do it half of the time because you didn’t buy the part from them. Some dealers are easy going and will do this for you at an extra charge. Every time I get asked about this my advice is to call the dealer ahead of time to see if it needs to be re-programmed and if they will do it for you.

What car makes need re-programming?

At this time we really don’t know exactly which ECU’s need re-programming. The few that we do know are: newer Toyotas, Lexus, Mercedes, Volvo, also some Nissans like Sentra. The reason for this is because almost all these cars have immobilizers. This is where the dealer comes in and having to call them for that information. Also the headache of finding out the dealer won’t do it! At that point the search begins for a specialist in your make or just a good all around mechanic that has the hardware to do this for you.

When you’re ordering an ECU

Before you make the call to find one or even start looking you want the part number from your old ECU. Do not supply anyone with the part number from the dealer if they gave you one. The reason for this is because that is a newer number and most of the time we can’t look it up in our systems. We want the number from your old ECU.

So in closing I hope this helps you in your next purchase of an ECU. Also if you ever need help please don’t be afraid to call us or comment here. We are always willing to help!

GUIDE – Buying Used Parts, The Overview

We’ve been selling used parts for about 25 years now. We’ve seen a lot of things, and dealt with some pretty interesting situations. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about our customers strengths and weaknesses along with their wants and needs. This guide will hopefully give you an idea of what to look for and what to expect when buying used parts. Not every “Junk Yard” is created equal and there’s some important tips that can really save you a lot of time and money.

This post assumes you’ve already decided who and where you’ll be having the work done. Check back for a future guide on picking out the right shop and deciding the right thing to do.

When your cars broken, you have a few different options for parts.

  • You can call up the local dealership and get a price on the parts you need. While pricey you’ll be sure you get an OEM part.
  • You can go to the local parts store / website and get a re manufactured or aftermarket part. While this could prove to be a good savings over dealer cost, the parts aren’t always that same quality as OEM
  • You can look online or locally for a Used OEM Part. Buying used gets you a quality OEM part at a huge savings over dealer price. Used parts can also carry better warranties vs the dealer and some parts stores.

It’s not the 70’s anymore. “Junk Yards” have evolved into Auto Recyclers.

Auto Recyclers are yards that uphold higher quality and service standards. Modern day salvage yards belong to associations that ensure the yard is doing everything correctly. From proper handling of waste fluids to proper handling of customer concerns. Using a salvage yard with some credibility will make all the difference in your buying experience.

Look for the Seals that build trust. These aren’t just marketing gimmicks.

Optimum Recycled PartsAutomotive Recyclers AssociationQuality Replacement PartsConnecticut Auto RecyclersARA Gold SealCertified Auto Recycler

These are just a few industry specific seals. Associations such as the ARA, CAR, and the Gold Seal program have strict requirements that must be met yearly. This includes verification of waste oil handling, EPA Standards, hazmat certifications, customer service standards, quality standards, and overall good business practices. Seals such as ORP and QRP show that the yard participates in its regional trading partner group. Trading partner groups are networks of salvage yards that work together to serve body shops and insurance companies with high quality parts.

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