Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How to Clean an Idle Air Control Valve

How to Clean an Idle Air Control Valve

air control valve close up

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How Long Does a Fuel Filler Neck Last?
Getting gas from the pump to your gas tank is the only way to keep a car going. The fuel filler neck is a metal tube that is welded to the...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...


Related questions

Q: Engine making high-pitched noise

Hi, this typically points to an issue with one of your serpentine belts. These belts drive different components on the vehicle such as the water pump, alternator, and A/C compressor. Over time, they will begin to lose their grip which...

Q: Spraying the bottom of the car during car wash

You are just spraying the bottom. The bottom itself doesn't have any delicate stuff under there. Everything under there is sealed so you go ahead and spray under there, especially the area where you get a lot of salt in...

Q: won't start hot cable

Hot electrical cables or connections indicate either excessive current flow, or excessive resistance in a connection. Test the battery first. All battery cable connections should be clean and tight. You should not be able to move cables by hand. ...