How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve

The speed of an engine’s RPMs while at a stop is called idle or idle speed. With the vehicle at a stop and no gas being applied by the driver, the computer must maintain a minimum number of RPMs so that the engine is still on and ready to go at any moment. Your vehicle’s idle speed should remain the same while at a complete stop. This steady pace is mandated by the vehicle’s idle control valve, which is also known as an idle air control valve.

A failing valve can cause the check engine light to come on, rough idling, stalling, and sudden increases or decreases of RPMs while at a stop. These valves can also accumulate carbon buildup which causes issues with the valve and surrounding components.

Sometimes the valve itself needs to be replaced, while other times cleaning the valve and other involved components around it can improve function and communication between the valve and the computer. Newer models are less likely to be serviceable or capable of being cleaned.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing an idle control valve.

Materials Needed

How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve 2

Step 1: Disconnect the battery. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery and set it aside.

How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve 3

Step 2: Locate the valve. The location of the idle control valve will depend on the make and model of your vehicle. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will have information on the exact location. The valve will nearly always be located on the intake manifold.

How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve 4

Step 3: Disconnect the wiring harness. Locate the wiring harness connected to the valve and release the electrical terminal from the valve.

There will be a clip or a tab to disconnect, and it might be easier to gently remove it with a pair of pliers.

How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve 5

Step 4: Remove the old idle control valve. Remove each of the valve’s retaining bolts.

With the bolts and wires now removed, the valve should just pull out of place.

How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve 6

Step 5: Clean the seat. With the seat for the valve exposed, use the throttle body cleaner to clean the area you will attach the new valve to. This assures a clean seal between the valve and its seat.

Step 6: Install the new valve. First, compare the old valve you are replacing with the new valve. Verify that the wiring terminals, retaining bolt pattern, and seat placement are all the same.

Then put the new valve in place and install the retaining bolts, hand tightening them to the seat. Use your socket and ratchet to snug them down gradually one by one.

  • Warning: Do not overtighten the bolts because it may cause a leak or improper function with the system.

Step 7: Reinstall the wiring harness. Reattach the wiring harness to the valve. Ensure the terminal is making a proper connection and the clip is fully engaged to secure this connection.

Step 8: Reconnect the battery. Reattach the negative battery cable to the battery. Tighten down the bolt so that any engine vibration won’t rattle it loose. This will restore power to the vehicle.

Step 9: Test the idle speed. Start the engine and observe idle speed. Depending on your particular vehicle and ambient air temperature, your idle speed should hold steady between 550 RPMs (at the very lowest when it’s hot outside) and 1,000 RPMs (at the highest and at lower temperatures).

Having a properly working idle control valve will make a huge difference in the driveability of your vehicle. Even beginners should be able to replace this valve. However, you can always contact one of the certified technicians from Yourmechanic to replace your idle control valve for you.


Next Step

Schedule Idle Control Valve Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Idle Control Valve Replacement. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Idle Control Valve Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(166)

Rating Summary
159
4
0
0
3
159
4
0
0
3

Matthew

33 years of experience
991 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
Honda Accord - Idle Control Valve - Newport News, Virginia
Truly a professional, but with a down to earth demeanor and an ability to easily explain car parts and problems in a way that any layman can understand. Positive and enjoyable to talk with.
Ford Ranger - Idle Control Valve - Norfolk, Virginia
Matthew was very nice, knowledgable and got the work done in a timely manner. The fact that they come to you was extremely convenient and took some of the stress of having car trouble away. Communication throughout was good as well. I would recommend this service.

Pedro

1 years of experience
26 reviews
Pedro
1 years of experience
Acura TL - Idle Control Valve - Chicago, Illinois
Went beyond the quote time of 1 hour to help me sort out my issue and surprisingly he helped get my car started again

Marco

29 years of experience
129 reviews
Marco
29 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Idle Control Valve - Ontario, California
Let me know about other problems I wasn’t aware of which is great. Finished the requested tune up quickly.

Jason

32 years of experience
335 reviews
Jason
32 years of experience
Lexus ES300 - Idle Control Valve - Dallas, Texas
Jason was not only approachable and friendly but also made the fix of our car problem look easy. Thank you for this experience, and you are definitely on our shortlist going forward.

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

Related articles

How to Buy a Battery for Your Car
Your Your car battery is a storage device for the electrical power you need to start your car and operate your car’s options. If your car battery isn’t working as it should, you may not be able to start your...
How to Replace a Power Seat Switch
The power seat switch in your car lets you adjust your seat to your preferences. If broken, especially for the driver seat, it should be replaced.
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Heater Control Valve
Common signs include the heater not working, coolant leaking from under the engine, and no voltage across the heater control valve.

Related questions

Misfires while idling

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 1986 BMW 635CSi. It sounds like you've checked all of the low hanging fruit. The previous owner may be right - some vehicles (only German ones come to mind) can develop a...

Ticking noise coming from the head, front not receiving oil - 1990 Mazda B2200

Stop! This is an extremely serious issue, and it sounds like your vehicle has a blocked oil passage which will only lead to engine failure. Get this checked as soon as possible to prevent damage. This issue can be dealt...

My car has a evap leak and poor performance

All modern cars are equipped with an Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) system. The EVAP system prevents fuel vapors from the fuel tank from escaping into the atmosphere. The EVAP system collects and temporarily stores the fuel vapors in the charcoal...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com