How To Clean Idle Air Control Valves Without Removing?

You can clean the idle air control valve without removing a large engine block from the vehicle. But, we still have to take some action with the car to deal with the types of dirt that stick to this vital part. The operation process is quite complicated, so you will need to refer to the procedures I will present below carefully.

In addition to instructions on how to clean idle air control valve without removing them, the article also helps us know more about system checking and much other important information. 

Make good use of the knowledge I introduce, and you will be able to operate the idle air control valve most accurately.

What Is An IAC Valve

What Is An IAC Valve? 

The idle air control valve, or IAC valve, is a small part near the throttle area. Although the size is relatively small and the structure is simple, you will have a lot of trouble if the above mechanism works wrong.

What does an IAC valve do?

The idle air control valve functions to distribute and increase the amount of air passing through the throttling area. Thereby, it avoids adverse problems occurring to the system in aerodynamics.

Unlike many other valve sets, IAC only activates when idle. The vehicle will quickly encounter gas stagnation if it stands still while starting the engine. The consequences are severe for the car. It is also why we must always ensure the idle air control valve works correctly.

How does an idle air control valve work?

The idle air control valve is an electronic mechanism of electrical circuits and other semiconductor components. So it is easy to understand when the vehicle’s computer system (ECU) plays a significant role in controlling this part.

By collecting data about the system and how it works through the sensor, the computer will calculate and give a response plan suitable for each condition. This department then sends the execution commands to the IAC for execution.

Can I Clean the Idle Air Control Valve Without Removing it?

You can still clean the idle air control valve without removing a giant engine assembly or other intricate details. But we can still open the bonnet or access the internal mechanisms.

Although a small detail, IAC lies relatively deep among other complex mechanisms. So to perform the cleaning or repair process, idle control valve problems require you to intervene more.

In another aspect, users can still remove all, including the engine, to manipulate the idle air control valve without worrying about affecting other parts. But you will waste much time and effort if you do the work yourself. So let the artisans help us or use the less invasive methods I am about to introduce.

How To Clean Idle Air Control Valve Without Removing It

How To Clean Idle Air Control Valve Without Removing It – Step By Step Guide 

To ensure that the clean idle air control valve goes as smoothly as possible without removing the process, you need to refer to the steps below. 

Although it is a relatively complicated sequence of actions, you can do it more quickly if you carefully consider this information.

Step 1: Prepare for the manipulation process

To avoid any trouble during the cleaning process, you need to prepare both the working space and the necessary tools in advance. It is best to take the car to an open and well-lit place. If the light source cannot be guaranteed, equip an extra flashlight.

In addition, we need to make sure the vehicle is completely cooled. If you have just moved with the car, you must wait about 4 to 5 hours for the system to cool down.

With many components made of metal, it is easy to understand when the car retains heat for a long time. And you will quickly burn yourself if you rush to work while the temperature is still high.

Finally, it would help if you remembered to wear gloves and protective equipment before performing the intervention.

Step 2: Locate the IAC

Once you’ve prepared all the tools and opened the hood, you’ll need to determine where the IAC is in the system. The fastest way to find out where this part is is to study the attachment and follow the air filter housing.

If you search for yourself by locating the filter, you can start from this section and then direct your eyes to the throttle and throttle parts. And there is a high chance that the IAC will be located directly below this area.

If you can’t locate the filter, look for the most significant black plastic block. If this structure connects directly to the throttle, this is the position to operate.

Step 3: Disconnect

Before doing anything, you also need to disconnect the air system for safety.

First, we will proceed to remove the filter clamps and filter cover. After this step, you must find the MAF sensor’s connection mechanism and pull it out. The vacuum tubes will be the mechanism you need to remove by removing the fixings.

Next, you need to position the air ducts in the throttle position to proceed to remove the fixed braces. Finally, move the air duct and see the idle air control valve.

Step 4: Treat the air filter

Although not your main job, you should still review the filter’s condition and clean it when necessary. Because the vehicle will operate efficiently if this part is clean. And the factors mentioned above can also affect many other mechanisms, and of course, IAC is one of them.

Step 5: Find the gas path to the IAC valve

The main problem leading to dirty IAC and other issues with this unit usually comes from the air passage.

During the operation, air from everywhere will move through this mechanism. Usually, the gas mixture has a lot of impurities mixed inside. And after a while, these agents tend to accumulate and cause carbon deposits. It is also a common cause of idle air control valves no longer maintaining operation.

Step 6: Clean and restore the system

Once the IAC and air passages have been determined, the cleaning process can begin with the appropriate solutions. A specialized cleaning solution is still the most suitable choice. However, you can still use WD40 or all-purpose agents if you need access to specialized products.

With too thick dirt, a brush will be a good assistant for us. You can use any nylon but stay away from metal brushes because the possibility of this tool causing scratches is relatively high.

Finally, it would help if you replaced Mass Air Flow Sensor

How Do I Test An Idle Air Control Valve With A Multimeter

How Do I Test An Idle Air Control Valve With A Multimeter? 

If you’re unsure what’s happening with the clean idle air control valve, checking with a multimeter can help you understand the situation.

Follow the steps to test the idle air control valve that I guide below to do this operation.

Step 1: Disconnect the power system

Of course, you always need to disconnect the electrical system before you want to interfere with or measure any information in the control valve. This action is to ensure your safety and the results’ stability.

The operation is also effortless when you must go to the connection wire between the system and the valve and remove it.

Step 2: Turn on the ignition switch

Next, you need to turn on the system by turning the key, but remember to avoid steering or moving silently.

It would help if you connected the wiring harness terminals to check the status of the IAC. Here we will see six wire connectors; the target to look for is the number 2 and 5 terminals. If that is determined, put the probe in and measure the potential difference between these wires. 

Usually, numbers between 11.5 and 12 volts indicate that the system protection is still standard.

Step 3: Check the wires

When you have finished measuring, remember to check the finish of the outer layer of the conductor. Ensure there are no frayed, broken, or burned connections because these problems can bring many unfortunate consequences later.

Step 4: Check the resistance

To do this, you need to turn off the power to the system and remove the valve plug from the old position. Remember to change the number on the tool because the resistance unit will now be Ohm.

This time you will see three connectors on the top and the other three on the bottom for six different connectors. Be careful and connect the red wire on the meter to the middle connector and the black wire to the other terminals on the same line.

Finally, turn on the clock and observe these conductors’ Ohm value.

What Happens If You Unplug The IAC Valve? 

The car can still move if you try to find a way to disconnect the IAC and start the engine without this tool. However, the vehicle will not be able to operate regularly and stably.

The most obvious is that the internal system will operate without control and create an unstable performance. As a result, an increase or decrease in RPM will occur, subjecting the engine to tremendous pressure. In the long run, the car will undoubtedly encounter severe damage.


Why is my car idling weirdly but driving fine?

There are many reasons why vehicles have problems when idling, such as clogged air filters, dirty fuel injectors, or bad spark plugs.

There will be several reasons why the vehicle is unstable even when operating, while the rest only affect when the car is idling.

How long do idle air control valves last?

The IAC will last the same life as your vehicle under ideal conditions. Or, this part will last until the car is damaged if you know how to handle and maintain it properly.

What are the effects of a bad idle control valve?

You may feel the vehicle shake more violently, show signs of bouncing, or not be able to start stably from idle if the idle control valve has any problem.

Why shake while idling?

Often tires and wheels or the road surface will be the leading cause of idling vibration problems. But there are also cases where problems with the new car are the cause.

What sensors can cause rough idle?

The O2 sensor is one of the components most likely to cause system problems when idling. Because of the close involvement of this mechanism with the vehicle, any failure here will have serious consequences.


Through today’s article, you learn how to clean the idle air control valve without removing it and how to check this part. All the above information will help you greatly in the manipulation process. So read and memorize them carefully and follow the instructions step by step.

Thank you for reading!

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