5 Easy Steps to Clean the IACV (Idle Air Control Valve)

Mech4cars.com – 5 Easy Steps to Clean the IACV (Idle Air Control Valve) – Often we do not realize that an air control valve is a place of accumulation of carbon and other impurities with high density. In fact, we often don’t even care that carbon and dirt can block the flow of fuel and cause our car engines to work ineffectively. So obviously, it is an obligation for us to clean this small valve regularly to prevent the sound of the car engine from becoming harsh and save money due to efficiency issues. In this article, we will show you how to clean the IACV (Idle Air Control Valve) for your fuel-injected vehicle. Manufacturers make these valves vary, but in general, the process for cleaning them is the same.

What Is an IAC Valve?

An idle air control valve (IACV) is a common part of fuel-injected vehicles. IACV has the function of allowing the car engine to idle to work properly, instead of going off when our car stops. In general, the IAC valve is attached to the throttle body of the car engine. And in simple terms, IACV has the goal of regulating the flow of air entering the combustion chamber so as to help create a smoother idle car engine.


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Steps to Clean the IACV

IACV is in charge of controlling the amount of air that enters the combustion chamber of a car engine cyclically. The trick is to regulate airflow through a bypass circuit around the throttle to increase or decrease idle speed. Increasing the volume of air flowing through the bypass circuit around the throttle valve increases the idle speed.

All of us know that the engine idling speed is the rotational speed of the engine when the driver’s foot does not step on the gas pedal at all. When the throttle is closed, the main intake manifold of the car engine is also closed. So a car engine requires a bypass line to prevent the car engine from shutting down.

We cannot deny that the IAC valve is a very important component in a car engine. Problems with the IAC valve can cause major problems in car engines. To keep this valve always working in good condition, cleaning the idle air control valve is a key factor.

5 Steps to Clean the IACV

Long vehicle use time, results in IAC valves having a buildup of carbon which causes these valves to become clogged or dirty. As a result, the car engine experiences a shortage of air supply entering the car engine. In that condition, we will have 2 choices: replace the air control valve or clean it. However, it all depends on the condition of the ICV valve for us to make the right decision. However, did you know that the IAC valve is one of the most expensive components in your car’s engine system?

Read more: Reasons for Rough Idle When Engine is Hot

So actually, you can actually save a lot of money cleaning the old IAC valve instead of buying a new one. Then, if you want to do this process yourself, it is important that you check your car owner’s manual when you want to clean the IAC valve. Of course, we don’t want to do this work and actually worsen the condition of the car. Therefore, follow the instructions in your car service manual to get the best results.

However, if you can’t find the relevant information, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to handle most vehicles when cleaning the IAC valve. But before starting the process, you need to make sure the engine is off and completely cold or you can remove the negative battery cable first. After that, the following steps will lead you to do this job properly.

Step 1: Locate the IAC valve position

Basically, the IAC valve is very easy for you to find. However, if you have never done so before, it will be a challenging task to identify the exact position of the IAC valve. The IAC valve is usually near the throttle position sensor which is connected somewhere around the throttle body. For beginners it can be a little tricky, you can start by locating the air filter box then you will follow the duct which will pass through the mass flow sensor and onwards to the engine. Here, you can find the throttle body and also the idle air valve. Make sure you find the right IAC valve or you can destroy the whole engine by finding the wrong valve.

Steps to Clean the IACV

The picture above looks from the engine position of a car. For the one I marked with the arrow, that’s where the IAC valve is located and it’s attached to the throttle body.

Step 2: Remove the air intake hose and filter box

In the second step, use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw removing the air filter box. In this step, you will also need to disconnect the power line associated with the MAF sensor if your vehicle is having problems!

Read more: What Should We Do After Replacing the MAF Sensor?

However, be careful with the connector on the MAF sensor. Do not let it break because the wire leading to the harness will come loose. And it will take more time to handle and will be more complicated than cleaning the air valve. Make sure you don’t remove any hoses and wires that aren’t completely blocking the IAC valve. After removing the air hose, you can reach the throttle body.

Step 3: Remove All Clamps On IACV

In this step, we have to remove the clamps on the IACV. Please, remove all clamps holding the IAC valve. Remove the old gasket (no need to worry about damage caused by the metal gasket). In this step, we will find the throttle body and your job is to place the small holes or ducts in it.

Step 4: Clean the IAC valve

You can use a brush to clean the IACV from carbon and other debris on the valve surface. When cleaning the inside of the valve, we need a special detergent such as a carburetor cleaner. Use this cleaner to clean all internal parts of the IAC valve. Spray carburetor cleaner onto the valve ends. Once the IACV is clean, try drying it with compressed air.

After we remove all the carbon, next we install the IACV valve. Don’t forget to replace all the clamps, cable connectors, and all the parts that we previously removed. Make sure everything is installed properly and correctly before testing.

Step 5: Test by Starting the Car

To ensure that the IAC valve cleaning job is successful is to let the engine run for a few minutes. After a few minutes, see if the car sounds stable at idle. If the car’s engine problem really comes from dirt and carbon on the IAC valve, then the car will return smoothly. However, if not, there may be another problem with your car.

FAQ – Easy Steps to Clean IACV

Here are some other frequently asked questions about IACV issues.

How to test the IAC valve?

There are many ways to help us test IACV such as starting your car, testing IAC with a multimeter, OBD scanner, or voltage test light. We think an easy method you can use to test for IACV is to start the car and listen for the engine idling. A fully functional valve will sound even and smooth, and you won’t notice any “bursts” of sound or velocity. In addition, we can use a multimeter, but this method will be a little complicated.

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You have to set the multimeter unit to Ohms, after that, put the red wire on one terminal of the IAC valve, and attach the black wire on the other terminal. If the IAC valve is working properly, the resistance will range from 7 to 25 Ohms, depending on the vehicle. If the value is outside that value, then it’s a warning sign of a bad IAC valve.

What are the symptoms of a bad idle air control valve?

IAC valves are not only subject to problems with carbon and dirt, but they also systematically deteriorate over time. So, it’s important to know the symptoms of the IAC valve when it’s damaged. Some of these are stalling, poor acceleration, increased RPM, or a check engine warning light on the dashboard. If we see any of these signs, we need to immediately test or check our IAC valve for faults.

What happens If you remove the IAC valve?

You can actually unplug the IAC valve and it shouldn’t cause any damage. If you release it while the engine is idling. However, the IAC valve plays an important role in maintaining airflow in the combustion at rest. So there is a risk when removing this valve causes some adverse effects.

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