How to Clean an Idle Air Control Valve

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.


Next Step

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Recent Car idle is rough Inspection reviews

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Alejandro

9 years of experience
41 reviews
Alejandro
9 years of experience
Mitsubishi Endeavor V6-3.8L - Car idle is rough - Los Angeles, California
Mechanic was knowledgeable considerate friendly helpful thank you had a great experience I will be doing this again well hope not but I will recommend you two friends and thank you for sending Alejandro
Toyota RAV4 - Car idle is rough - Downey, California
Alejandro went above and beyond to figure out what my car issue is and duplicating the noise I was having issues with. I would recommend him to a friend.

Brian

23 years of experience
558 reviews
Brian
23 years of experience
Toyota Sienna V6-3.0L - Car idle is rough - Jacksonville, Florida
Brian took his time trouble shooting the issue with my car and explained in detail my options. He was very professional and courteous.
Chrysler Town & Country - Car idle is rough - Jacksonville, Florida
Brian was awesome. He was very knowledgeable and explained everything every step of the way. Brian will definitely be my go to mechanic in the future.

AL

12 years of experience
222 reviews
AL
12 years of experience
Chrysler Sebring L4-2.4L - Car idle is rough - Denver, Colorado
At no fault of his own Al installed a defective part on my vehicle. It took two days fighting with corporate bureaucrats to get Al permission to make things right. I would recommend Al but caution people to be aware of the company

Shane

17 years of experience
105 reviews
Shane
17 years of experience
Honda CR-V L4-1.5L Turbo - Car idle is rough - Leander, Texas
Very friendly and professional, came on time and completed diagnosis in a timely manner. Did not upsell or try to give me the run-around.

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