Idle Air Control Valve Working Principle and Replacement Cost


Any vehicle that has an internal combustion engine will have an idle air control valve attached to its throttle body. The purpose of this valve is to regulate the speed of the engine while it remains idle. This would be a time when your engine is turned on and running, but you are not driving it anywhere. The vehicle just remains parked or your foot is on the brake, so it is not moving anywhere. In these situations, your engine is considered to be idle.

Working Principle

Engine speed refers to the number of revolutions it makes per minute. This is commonly referred to as revolutions per minute, or RPM. The current operating conditions of your vehicle will cause the idle air control valve to either increase or decrease the RPM in your engine. For instance, if your vehicle has a heavy load or it is heating up too quickly, then the idle air control valve will adjust the RPM by increasing or decreasing it; respectively. This will allow the engine to handle the heavier load or cool down in each case.

The engine control unit is responsible for managing the idle air control valve. When this central computer receives information about the temperature and load of the engine, it uses this information to make the proper adjustments to the idle air control valve. That way, the valve will regulate the engine RPM properly based on the information relayed from the computer.

Read also: Crankshaft Position Sensor Working Principle and Replacement Cost

Replacement Cost

If the idle air control valve were to go bad, then it will cause a lot of problems for the engine. The biggest problem will be the engine stalling quite frequently. Anytime you have an engine stall, it will make the vehicle undrivable. You should notice the malfunction of the valve immediately after you attempt to start the engine. If it happens while you are driving, get to the nearest mechanic as soon as possible.

The replacement cost of the idle air control valve is going to be anywhere from $125 to $500. It is pretty easy for the mechanic to access this valve, so you shouldn’t expect too much expense as far as labor costs go. The average mechanic will charge between $50 and $100 per hour for their services. They should be able to do this replacement in 1 hour or less. However, the parts cost could be expensive if you have a more luxurious make and model vehicle. Expect the parts to cost between a low $50 and a high $400.


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