How to tell if you need to replace your idle air control valve.
Is your car stalling for no reason while you are waiting at red lights? Do you notice a stutter or hesitation when you try to accelerate, or a rapid deceleration when you take your foot off the gas pedal? Even though you may not always be depressing the accelerator, your engine still turns at a minimum amount of revolutions per minute (RPM) to keep it running. Otherwise, you would have to constantly feather the accelerator to keep it on while you were stopped, which would be absolutely terrible for your fuel economy and emissions. If that failed, the engine would turn off and you would have to start it up again. This is the function of the idle air control valve on a fuel-injected engine. It keeps the intake open very slightly so that enough air can mix with the fuel to maintain a consistent and low level of combustion, even when your foot is off the gas. Idle air control valves can become dirty and clogged over time, rendering them useless until they can be cleaned or replaced. Obviously, you don't want to drive around town or go on a long road trim with a faulty idle control valve. It could create problems as you accelerate or decelerate, not to mention ignition knocking and/or backfires.
What does your idle control valve do?
In the times of carbureted engines, there was no idle air control valve. With the throttle closed, a small bleed hole located above the throttle plates would still feed air into the intake port in the bottom of the carburetor. This port could be slightly choked by an adjusting screw, limiting the amount of air that would pass through it into the intake manifold. Another screw would regulate fuel in a similar fashion. Working in conjunction with each other, a constant idle speed could be achieved. So, determining the idle RPM was really up to the driver. While this system worked, it was vulnerable to inefficiencies and required maintenance and monitoring. The idle air control valve is an electronic device that receives data input from the ECU and controls air flow past the throttle body in the most ideal way possible; eliminating the need to manually adjust screws in your throttle body, keeping fuel economy high and emissions low.
D.I.Y. level of difficulty: 1.5 out of 5.
Changing or cleaning an idle air control valve is usually a simple procedure - as long as you can easily reach your throttle body. It is almost always bolted right to the throttle housing, and connected to a wire harness. Consult your vehicle owner's manual for the exact location. Once you find the idle control valve, you should unplug it and unbolt it from its mounting location. At this time, you can clean it and reinstall it to see if that fixes your problem. If it doesn't, then you need a new idle air control valve. You can easily install it, and restart your car. Sometimes an ECU re-learn procedure is required through the OBD-II port. Take it to a mechanic if you cannot do this yourself.
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If a new idle air control valve is what you are looking for, then you've come to the right place. At Car Parts Discount, we carry only the top name brand electronic components that will fix your fuel delivery and emissions problems. On our site, you will find Standard Motor Products and Dorman idle air control valves at prices drastically lower than those of the original equipment manufacturer that you will see at the dealer. However, if your only option is the OEM part, then it's likely we have that too. Don't wait any longer; buy with confidence, and save both time and money.