Crystal Lake and Barrington Auto Repair

Throttle body can causes vehicle to lose power

Q. Last winter and the winter before when it was below freezing, my 2006 Chevrolet HHR displayed a "reduced engine power" message, and I couldn't go over about 5 miles per hour. This past winter when I was driving my Bichon to the vet, I had to pull over and stop the car. After a short time, I restarted the engine and had power back. Thank heavens. I didn't want my little dog and me to freeze to death.

I took the car to the Chevy dealer with the Check Engine light on. They said I needed a throttle body assembly. Condensation was found in throttle body assembly and PCV system, with a need to remove and clean the intake ports and valve cover. Estimate cost, $1,154.36.

They must have done something because the Check Engine warning light went out. I'm a senior woman with a really tight budget and no room for this expense. My question is do I really need it? There's no problems in the warm and mild weather. It appears only the intense cold affects the engine. What's going on?


A. Some GM cars have had throttle body problems and the cold does seem to accentuate them. My guess is you may have problems again when we get into the really cold weather, but you could give it a try.

If you do short-trip driving, you may not be getting the engine hot enough long enough to burn off the condensation they are talking about. Even without the cold weather though, we have seen a fair amount of throttle body failures. If it happens again, you should be able to limp the car home under reduced power.

A new throttle body installed should be around $550. I don't know about the condensation issue without seeing the car and there may be another way to address that. I hope this was helpful and good luck.

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