Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve

How to Replace Your Car Idle Air Control Valve 1

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.

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 to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...


Related questions

Q: What is the function of the auxiliary battery? How is it related to the intelligence servo module?

Hello - these two components are unrelated. The principle function of the secondary battery is as a backup for the primary battery - for the Sensotronic Brake System, which uses electronic pumps for brake pressure to each wheel - not...

Q: After valve cover gasket replacement, compressor broke

Hi there. Thanks for writing in about your 2000 Lexus GS400. Compressors can go bad due to oil saturation. It is likely that the technician spilled additional oil on the compressor when replacing the valve cover. The technician may have...

Q: bent rear passenger side axle.

Hi there. The noise that you are hearing on the front of the vehicle is the control arm bushings are hard and need replaced. If you need further assistance with your control arm bushings, then seek out a professional, such...