How to clean the air valve of a car

Carbon can build up on the air valve, causing it to bind. When it sticks, you cannot control the stop of the car – it can make the car stop at very high RPM, or in most cases, stop the car at low RPM. Cleaning an air valve may prevent you from having to purchase a new part, but only certain air idle control valves can be cleaned. The running air valve must have an actuation valve to allow cleaning.

You will need to:

  • Carburetor Cleaner
  • Screwdriver
  • 1/4-inch connector set
  • ¼ inch ratchet

Steps to follow:

One.Locate the engine idle air valve – it is near the inlet on the side of the engine.

Two.Remove the catch on the back of the idle control valve with a screwdriver. Do not break the plastic tab that holds the power cord to the probe – that is what keeps the power cord from vibrating the sensor.

3.Remove the screws or bolts holding the control idle air valve in the block.

4.Keep the valve pointing down, and spray the pointed end of the valve with a carburetor cleaner, and wipe it clean. (Do not allow carburetor cleaning to drip into the box.) Repeat until all carbon is removed.

5.Put the air valve back on and connect the power cord.

6.Start the vehicle to make sure it idles properly, and test the car to make sure the engine doesn’t stall when it’s turning a corner or coming to a stop, especially with the air conditioning running. If it does, you will need to replace the idle control air valve.


  • Do not stop cleaning the carburetor on the electrical connections, try to get as little as possible on the valve body.


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