The Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or the EGR valve, is known as one of the most important components of the engine’s emission system. The main purpose of the latter is to cool down the exhaust gas, which leads to the reduction of the emission of nitrous oxide. For this reason, it helps in making your car environmentally friendly.
Through time, carbon particles can accumulate in the inlet and can reduce the functionality. To keep it in its peak condition, you need to know how to clean the EGR valve. This is exactly what I will discuss in the rest of this post. I will share with you the easy steps to do it right and some tips that will help in the successful completion of this task.
What You Will Need to Follow this Tutorial
Before you start cleaning the EGR valve, the first thing that you have to do is to prepare these materials:
- Pipe/carburetor cleaner
- Soft-bristled brush
- Clean cloth
- Di-electric grease
- Socket or ratchet
Take a look at this video for tools used and how to clean the EGR valve:
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean EGR Valve
Before I discuss the tips that are involved, watch the short video below for a quick guide to the cleaning of the EGR valve. A more detailed discussion of the steps involved will be tackled in the next section.
The discussion of the steps will be divided into two parts. They are slightly different on the basis of the type of EGR valve that you have in your car.
Cleaning a Mechanical EGR Valve
- Start with the removal of the vacuum hose. Once it is taken out, have a close look to see if there are cracks or any signs of wear. Use a pipe or carburetor cleaner to remove the carbon build-up that could have hardened over time.
- After cleaning the vacuum hose, now is the time to check the EGR valve. Using a ratchet or socket, remove the bolts that connect the valve to the engine. Look at the gasket lining. If there is no visible damage, you can have it cleaned and reused. Otherwise, it will require a replacement. A replacement is also necessary if the carbon build-up seems to be too much for you to deal with.
- Start cleaning the gas entry port and the return tube. To do this, you have to first spray a carburetor cleaner and use a soft-bristled brush to remove the carbon deposits on the surface.
- The next part that you have to clean is the part that connects the valve to your engine. Similar to the step above, this is best done with the use of a carburetor cleaner and soft brush.
- If the carbon deposits prove to be somewhat stubborn, the best thing that you can do is to soak the valve in water with a carburetor cleaner. Leave it overnight. The morning after, use a brush to remove the deposits. Soaking is important as it will make the carbon build-up softer and easier to remove.
- Now that you are done cleaning, use a cloth to thoroughly clean the surface and make sure that no deposits remain. Allow it to dry, and finally, reinstall the EGR valve.
Cleaning an Electronic EGR Valve
- Remove the negative battery cable for your safety. This will prevent short circuits and will make sure that there is no electric current as you start with the task.
- After removing the battery cable, remove the sensor and any other component attached to the valve.
- Loosen the bolts and take out the EGR valve.
- Before cleaning the valve, inspect other parts, such as the gasket and the hose. If they are already significantly damaged, cleaning will not be the solution. Rather, it would be best to have them replaced.
- Next, clean the EGR valve. Do not use just any cleaner for this job. Because there are electrical connections that are involved, you have to use a di-electric grease or a cleaner that is specifically formulated for electronic components.
- Dry the components and reinstall. Reconnect the negative terminal of the battery.
Aside from learning about the proper way of cleaning an EGR valve, it will also be good to know the tips that I will share in this section.
When to Know if the EGR Valve Needs Cleaning
Before you proceed with the cleaning, you have to be aware of the symptoms of a bad or dirty EGR valve to determine if there is already a need to have it cleaned. One of the most common signs is when the engine surges and stalls when you are warming up your vehicle. This is one thing that you might commonly experience in a parking lot.
Another common sign is when the passages of the valves are clogged. Aside from performing a physical inspection, it will be easy to determine this condition when you notice that the engine knocks.
In the case of newer car models, on the other hand, the Check Engine Light will flash when there is a problem with the EGR valve. This is an easy way to be warned that you have to do something before the situation escalates.
Care and Maintenance of EGR Valves
To prevent the need for frequent cleaning or costly replacement, it is important that you exert conscious effort to maintain the peak condition of the EGR valve. Regular inspection is necessary to spot problems early on and have them solved before escalating.
Use only cleaners that are approved for the components. As mentioned above, you have to be more cautious if it is an electronic EGR valve, as you will need a special kind of cleaner. You should never soak these components in water, as doing so will surely damage the electrical components of the EGR valve.
It is not enough that you clean the EGR valve. There are also situations wherein there is a need for you to replace the EGR gasket to ensure optimal performance of the valve.
In sum, knowing how to clean EGR valves is essential knowledge for car owners. You do not need the expertise of an experienced mechanic to do the job. It is an easy task that you can complete on your own with the basic materials that are required. When this is done, you can be assured of the peak performance of the engine and the reduction of its emissions.
Have you tried cleaning an EGR valve before? Are there other things that you would like to share? Feel free to write in the comment section below.