Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Saturn throttle body relearn procedure

How to perform a throttle body relearn procedure on Saturn

After removing and cleaning an electronic throttle body you must perform a throttle body relearn procedure so the computer can set a new base idle speed.

electronic throttle body

The gas pedal sends electronic signals to the PCM which then tells the throttle body how far to open

The procedure varies from one make to another and sometimes even from one engine or model year to another. However, there are some commonalities within each brand.

Most car makers allow you to perform a throttle body relearn procedure with a scan tool or manually. Even if you don’t have a bidirectional scan tool capable of performing the procedure, it’s still a good idea to own a scan tool capable of reading live data.

Which scan tool to buy

This is the manual throttle body relearn procedure for a late 2000 Saturn

WARNING: Before starting the manual throttle body relearn procedure, the check engine light must be out and all trouble codes cleared from memory. You will need a code reader or scan tool to perform this code clearing procedure.

1. Start engine and ensure the engine speed is between 450 to 4,000 RPM.

2. Check that manifold absolute pressure (MAP) is greater than 5 kPa.

3. Check that the mass air flow (MAF) is reading is greater than 2 g/s.

4. Check that the ignition 1 voltage is greater than 10 volts.

5. Idle the engine in PARK for 3 minutes.

6. With a scan tool, monitor desired and actual RPM.

7. The ECM will start to learn the new idle cells and Desired RPM should start to decrease.

8. Shut off the engine and leave it off for 60 seconds.

9. Then restart the engine and let it idle in PARK for 3 more minutes.

10. After the 3 minute run period, the engine should be idling normally.

If you feel the idle speed hasn’t been relearned, drive the vehicle at speeds above 44 mph and perform several decelerations and extended idle periods.

11. After that drive cycle, the engine should be idling normally.

If the engine idle speed still has not been learned, turn shut off the engine for 60 seconds and repeat the relearn procedure again starting with step 6.

12. If you now have a normal idle speed, clear any trouble codes that may have been set during the relearn procedure. DTCs.

Don’t know how to clean an electronic throttle body? Here’s a post on how to perform it on a Ford, but the rules apply to most other brands


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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