Do you know what happens when your car’s air control valve gets messed up? For those who don’t know, the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) changes. If you ever encounter a situation where you happen to find out that your car engine is running but the car itself is not moving ahead, know that your engine is idling.
The air control valve manages the speed of an idle engine. It depends upon the amount of current that is being supplied to it but the number of revolutions per minute is controlled by the idle air control valve of the car.
Moreover, the engine control unit (ECU) is present in all the new cars. This unit manages the valve’s functionality. If you look at the throttle body that is present next to the engine’s intake, you can see the air control valve. The speed of the idle changes according to the engine load and temperature of the engine control unit.
The functionality of an idle air control valve
It is important to note that your car’s idle air control valve can manage the RPM of your car. Depending upon the amount of current, the air valve can increase and decrease the RPM of the engine.
Have you ever wondered why your car is getting heat up too quickly? Well, it’s because your air control valve is not functioning properly. When the air control valve is working properly, it keeps the temperature of your car’s engine balanced. If the engine has gone cold, the valve can heat it accordingly and vice versa. Therefore, this valve keeps your engine healthy and in turn, your car’s engine can handle the load.
The ECU is the component that controls the idle air control valve. Whenever there is a temperature change in the engine, it adjusts the idle air control valve and optimizes it for the best results. The idle air control in turn optimizes the RPM of your car.
Indications of a bad idle air control valve
An idle air control valve is a very important component of a car’s engine. It is suggested that you should change the air control valve on priority if you realize that it is malfunctioning.
But, how will you get to know if the idle air control valve of your car has gone bad? Like all the machines, there are some common indications and symptoms that you can guess. Be sure to take your car to a mechanic immediately, because a bad idle air control valve can and will affect your car’s performance.
The idle speed becomes irregular
The first indication that you’ll be able to observe is that your car’s RPM will start to fluctuate. Instead of staying constant, you will notice that the speed of the idle goes up and down randomly. The fluctuation of RPM can be checked via the tachometer that is present right next to the speedometer of your car.
In simple words, the main function of an air control valve is to control the idle speed, right? Hence, having an air control valve that is malfunctioning will cause the engine’s idle speed to fluctuate.
Keep an eye on the check engine warning light
Whenever the check engine warning light turns on, your priority should be to take your car to the nearest mechanic shop.
If your car’s idle air control valve malfunctions for whatever reason, the ECU will enable the check engine warning light. The ECU will first measure the number of revolutions per minute. If the RPM turns out to be fluctuating, it will automatically indicate you with the help of the light.
The idling becomes rough
Suppose, your car is moving. The air is coming into the engine through intake but, you have decided to stop the car at a gas station and it starts to vibrate profusely. This is happening because the air control valve in your car’s engine is not working properly. Normally, what happens is that when the idle air control valve malfunctions, it is not able to sustain a balanced idling. This results in a lot of vibrations. The reason is that less air is flowing through the intake. Otherwise, a good idle air control provides smooth idle to your car.
If you are experiencing abnormal vibrations, while sitting in your car, it’s about time that you visit your nearest mechanic shop and get it checked.
Stalling of the car’s engine
What if you find your car’s engine stalled? It is the last thing anyone wants. Nevertheless, it happens. But you should know that if your car’s engine starts to stall, it might be happening because of an idle air valve not working properly. Engine stalling is bad because your car suddenly comes to a halt.
If your car is moving and the idle air control valve causes the engine to stall, it will happen after every few minutes. Hence, you can slowly keep driving your car to the nearest mechanic shop. Moreover, if your car is parked in the garage for instance, and the engine stalling occurs, sadly you won’t be able to drive your car at all.
Engine load will cause the engine to stall
The idle air control valve helps the engine in balancing the load that is caused when you turn your car’s heater or air conditioner on. If the car’s idle air control valve is not working properly and, you put the load on your car’s engine, it will stall immediately.
Therefore, whenever you go through this type of situation, remember that it might be your car’s idle air control valve causing the problem.
Lastly, if you find out that your car engine’s idle air control valve has gone bad due to whatever reason, you will need to get it changed. You will have to pay for the idle air control valve and the labor cost of the mechanic too.
Roughly your cost of getting the idle air control valve changed could be as low as $120. The parts can be bought for a minimum of $45. If you are having a bad day, the replacement cost can go up to $500 and the parts can cost $400. But it all depends on to what extent your idle air control valve is damaged.
Nevertheless, it is quite necessary to get your idle air control valve changed if it is malfunctioning, as soon as possible.
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