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Idle Air Control Valve Replacement

Modern engines require a valve to control the amount of air and fuel delivered when the engine is sitting idling. The idle control valve keeps the engine ticking over at a set rpm level. This means that all the accessories can be run off the engine and depending on how warm the engine is the idle air control valve keeps it running no matter the conditions.

What is an idle air control valve?

It’s a small valve that will either operate the throttle valve or the air bypass valve. It is sent a signal from the ECU to either open or close the valves more or less. This ensures that there’s always enough airflow to maintain idle.

Why do you need an idle air control valve?

When your car is cold or the engine is doing a lot of work, the required rpm’s to keep it running increase. The idle air valve keeps your engine running and will make sure that it can warm up at the right speed.

How to tell if you need a new idle air control valve

If your engine cuts out while waiting at the lights then it might be the idle air control valve. If your idle stumbles and the engine runs rough when the air conditioning is going then it could be the idle control valve too. Most of the time, you’ll get a nice heads up from a check engine light.

What’s involved in getting an idle air control valve replaced?

The mechanic will locate the IAC valve around the air intake. They will then disconnect the ECU wiring to the valve and if possible, disconnect the valve then and there. Most of the time they will need to remove the air intake to properly access the IAC valve. Once the IAC valve is removed they will check the throttle body and install the new one. Once everything is reconnected they will test the engine idle at various loads and make sure it’s doing its job. 

How much does an idle air control valve replacement cost?

They aren’t prohibitively expensive, and if the air intake can remain on the engine they can cost as little as $120. Generally they will need a bit more labor to replace and the price can go above $450.

How often do I need an idle air control valve replaced?

Not that often, they aren’t a part of regular servicing. Most of the time you’ll notice one of the symptoms cropping up before it becomes desperate.

Is a broken idle air control valve unsafe?

It can lead to annoying situations like stalling and rough idling but it isn’t inherently unsafe to you or your engine. It will need replacing if the need arises though.

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