Cleaning the idle air control valve (IACV) on your vehicle periodically helps keep carbon and other particles from building up on the valve, which can negatively affect the operation of the car. Products designed to thoroughly clean the idle air control valve can make the difference between a rough or smooth ride. When noises emanate from a vehicle or vehicle performance is inconsistent and unreliable, it’s a sign that it’s time to take a look under the hood.
Cleaning an Idle Air Control Valve
When the idle air control valve becomes clogged, the result is a car idling too fast, running in a jumpy manner while idling, backfiring, or idling so low that it causes the vehicle to stall or to start and then cut off. Cleaning the valve may be all it takes to regulate the idling so the vehicle operates properly.
Cleaning the idle air control valve results in several benefits to vehicle operation:
- Better response time when accelerating.
- Improved fuel economy.
- Improved overall performance with fewer noises emanating from the engine.
- Removal of built-up carbon and other harmful deposits.
Products for Cleaning an Idle Air Control Valve
3M Intake System Cleaner Kit
With the 3M Intake System Cleaner Kit, expect consistent performance by improving the idling process. The kit contains a complete fuel system cleaner, intake system cleaner, and throttle plate and carb cleaner, all designed to support and improve engine performance.
ATP Intake Blast Complete Intake Cleaner
The ATP Complete Intake System Cleaner is recommended for both direct-injected and fuel-injected engines to dissolve deposits, resulting in better idling.
CRC Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner
CRC Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner does the job cleaning harmful deposits and goop from the body of the throttle and the valves. Once cleaned, vehicles start easier and rough idling is eliminated.
Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 Air Intake Cleaner
The Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 Air Intake Cleaner works fast and furiously to remove varnish, gum, and other particles that can be damaging. A little goes a long way as a general metal parts cleaner.
Berryman B-12 Chemtool Fuel Injector Cleaner
Berryman’s B-12 Chemtool cleaner can be used on all parts of the fuel system, including valves. It works fast to remove moisture and fuel residue quickly while remaining to use on the vehicle’s oxygen sensor and catalytic converter.
WD-40 – 300134 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body and Parts Cleaner
With a six-pack of WD-40’s Specialist all-in-one cleaner, you’ll be well-prepared to keep your vehicle idling smoothly. The powerful spray’s dual-action process uses a strong cleaning formula to break up and remove deposits.
How-To Information for Cleaning an Idle Air Control Valve
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
Just a few materials are needed to clean the idle air control valve. These include the cleaning product, a clean cloth, work gloves, a wrench, and a screwdriver. Replacing the old and worn gasket with a new gasket one is recommended.
Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, the location of the idle air control valve and the steps to clean it may vary. Consult the owner’s manual for a diagram showing the location.
Locating the Idle Air Control Valve
The IACV is usually located on the intake manifold near the back of the throttle body. Before starting the cleaning process, be sure the vehicle is not running and that the engine is cool.
Removing the Intake Hose
The intake hose is attached to the throttle body. Detach the hose.
Disconnecting the Battery Cable
Carefully disconnect the cable leading to the battery’s negative terminal by loosening the nut and then carefully pulling the cable away.
Two screws are used to secure the air intake hose. These need to be removed from the clamp that attaches the hose to the throttle. Make sure to use the appropriate screwdriver to avoid stripping the slot.
Disconnecting Electrical Plug
Loosen and remove the electrical plug attached to the IACV. There are three hoses attached to the valve. Detach all three.
Removing Plugs Connected to the IACV
Remove any mounting screws located atop the intake air control valve. Detach the valve and remove the gasket.
Removing the Gasket
This is the one part that may need to be replaced. Once it’s removed and you know you have the appropriate replacement gasket, throw the old gasket away.
At this point, it’s time to remove the dirt and grime that has built up by spraying the carbon cleaning product into the intake air cleaning valve. Remove any excess spray by wiping it away with the clean cloth or towel. Follow the product instructions for the time to let the product soak into the grime. This is typically 10 to 15 minutes. If dirt and grime remain, repeat the application process until there is no longer any evidence of dirt remaining.
Cleaning Intake Passages and Throttle Body
Use the cleaner and a towel or rag to clean the outside of the throttle body and the inside of the idle air control valve passages. Let the area dry for at least 30 minutes.
Remounting the Idle Air Control Valve
Once all surfaces are completely dry, put the idle air control valve in place, using a new gasket, and securely tighten the screws/bolts.
Reconnect the hoses and electrical plug. Carefully reconnect the negative battery cable after all other parts have been properly placed and reattached.
Checking the Process
To check whether the idle air control valve is functioning properly, start the engine and let it run for about 10 to 15 minutes. If the valve is functioning correctly, the engine will sound good and the idle will be steady versus too high, too low, or inconsistent. If idling is still rough, schedule an appointment with a local automotive shop, as a new intake air control valve may be necessary.
Where To Buy Supplies for Cleaning an Idle Air Control Valve
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