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rob's garage

My Nissan dealer has been very insistent that the throttle body on my 2008 Nissan Frontier with only 35,000 km be cleaned at least every 24,000 km. I find this unusual as this has not been a requirement on any other vehicle I have driven, including other Nissans. When I finally agreed after several strong recommendations from the dealer the cost was $104.00. Is there a particular design flaw on the Nissan throttle system that makes this cleaning necessary?

Stephen, Ancaster, ON

Two things Stephen:

1. $104.00 is cheap to have this service performed.

2. This service is normally not required on a regular basis.

I know, I know, it doesn't make sense but both statements are true.

Here's the rub Stephen: as I've mentioned in past columns, dealers are hungry right now. They are struggling with the reality that business has to be conducted differently today. Vehicles are just not breaking down like they did back in the day so they are looking for anything to get vehicles in the door for service. Combine this with very low margins on new vehicle sales and dealers are quickly learning that the service department is a large piece of the foundation propping up the business.

All right, rant done.

Stephen, when in doubt about any service that has been "suggested" by any repair shop, always refer to your owner's manual. I found a Nissan maintenance schedule manual and nowhere does it mention anything about cleaning throttle bodies.

Typically, the closest any service gets to the throttle body is the periodic replacement of the air filter. Keeping this filter serviced is the best insurance you have to prevent issues with the throttle body. The gasolines today are generally cleaned of contaminants that used to gum up throttle bodies so most of the time, these components are only serviced if there is a problem with them.

There are no design flaws in the Nissan throttle bodies. As a matter of fact, it's likely that the manufacturer of the Nissan part makes throttle bodies for two dozen other car brands.

Stephen, although $104 bucks is cheap for this service, if you don't have any drivability problems, keep your money in your wallet – Christmas is just around the corner.

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