How to Clean an Idle Air Control Valve

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The job of an idle air control valve is to regulate the car’s idle based on how much air gets into the engine. This is done through the vehicle’s computer system and then sends the information to the components. If the idle air control valve is malfunctioning, it will cause the engine to idle rough, too low, too high, or irregular. Cleaning the idle air control valve on any car equipped with this valve, is fairly straightforward.

Part 1 of 2: Prepare for the job of cleaning the idle air control valve (IACV)

Materials Needed

intake manifold

Step 1: Locate the IACV. It will be positioned on the intake manifold along the rear by the throttle body.

intake hoses connected to throttle body

Step 2: Remove intake hose. You’ll have to take off the intake hose from the throttle body.

Part 2 of 2: Remove the IACV

person pointing out negative terminal in the battery

Step 1: Disconnect the battery cable. Remove the cable that goes to the negative terminal on the battery.

Step 2: Remove the screws. Take off the two screws that hold the IACV in place.

  • Tip: Some automakers use soft head screws for this part, so you’ll want to be careful not to strip them out. Use the correct size screwdriver for the best fit.

Step 3: Disconnect the electrical plug. You may have to squeeze on it to get it to loosen.

Step 4: Remove all other plugs from the IACV. You may need to use a screwdriver to loosen the clamp on one hose.

Step 5: Take the gasket out. Throw it away after verifying you have a correct replacement gasket.

person spraying carbon cleaner

Step 6: Spray carbon cleaner. Spray the cleaner in the IACV to remove dirt and grime.

Use a clean cloth to carefully wipe away anything that remains.

Repeat the process until no more dirt and grime come out of the IAC.

  • Warning: Make sure to follow all safety precautions for using the carbon cleaner spray.

Step 7: Clean the IACV passages on intake and throttle body. Allow the gasket surface to dry before putting the new gasket on.

Step 8: Connect the hoses. Connect the last two hoses you removed and put the IACV in place.

Step 9: Attach the IACV. Attach it with the two bolts.

Reconnect the plugs and coolant hose. Reattach the negative battery terminal after everything else is in place..

Start the engine and check IAC operation.

  • Tip: Don’t start the engine while the idle air control valve is out.

You should notice your engine runs more smoothly with a steady idle. If you continue to notice rough idling, talk to a trusted mechanic such as one from YourMechanic, to diagnose the problem. YourMechanic has a dedicated team of mobile mechanics who provide convenient service at your home or office.


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Number of Reviews

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Rating Summary
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Brikk

16 years of experience
373 reviews
Brikk
16 years of experience
Toyota Sienna - Car idle is rough - Charlotte, North Carolina
Thank you so much to Brikk for his service! He was honest and professional. I will definitely recommend him to others .
Mercury Mountaineer - Car idle is rough - Charlotte, North Carolina
brikk did a fantastic job he approached the problem positively checked everything he took his time did not rush and had my truck running soo nice I was jumping up and down thank you brikk I went back to work an told 4 people about your mechanic,com and more importantly about BRIKK.

Jim

31 years of experience
60 reviews
Jim
31 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Car idle is rough - Livermore, California
Jim is one of my favorite mechanics. He is knowledgeable, thorough, honest, and passionate about his work. I have an older car that is coming towards the end of its useful life, so I need an honest mechanic to perform an accurate diagnosis and make the appropriate repairs. I can always count on Jim and I really appreciate is transparency. I highly recommend Jim and will definitely hire him again if problems arise (hopefully not too soon).

Richard

19 years of experience
461 reviews
Richard
19 years of experience
BMW 328i - Car idle is rough - Atlanta, Georgia
My initial repair failed due to faulty parts or other reasons unknown to me. Richard came on a warranty repair and corrected my issue. My misfire code is gone and my car runs smoothly.

Brandon

16 years of experience
274 reviews
Brandon
16 years of experience
Nissan Maxima - Car idle is rough - Monroe, Georgia
Great. Brandon is competent and knows his stuff. Very pleasant to interact with and communicate with. Highly recommend.

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