How and When to Clean the EGR Valve

The exhaust gas recirculation or EGR valve plays an important role to keep pollutants out of the environment and maintain the overall health of the engine of your vehicle. This helps to prevent nitrogen oxide gases from forming and this works really hard.

After some time, this valve can collect carbon deposits from the constant exposure to heat as well as other byproducts of detonation that can cause system blockages or make the valve get stuck closed or open.

This is why knowing the proper way of cleaning the valve is basically a useful trick you should learn and is the best fix when your engine suffers from any of the related negative symptoms.

Buildup of NOx Gases

An EGR valve functions by allowing the exhaust gases to return to combustion chamber at suitable levels and times. It helps in keeping the temperatures of combustion lower, inhibiting the accumulation of nitrogen oxide gases. These NOx gases are bad for both human health and the environment as a whole. The high heat and the deposits creating these can even pose serious threats to your engine. If left unchecked, clogged EVR valve may lead to engine knocking that eventually destroys the engine’s inner components that will then require a replacement or overhaul. Just imagine the hassle involved brought about by a tiny component you could have easily replaced or cleaned instead.

When is the Time to Make a Change?

Signs of clogged EGR valve could be misdiagnosed to come from other underlying concerns. This is why it is a good decision to rule these out through direct inspection or with the guidance of a professional. Basically, you will notice poor acceleration, rough idle, and poor performance when the valve has been stuck open. If it is closed, you will notice the smell of gas, poor fuel economy, and engine knock. Whatever the case may be, you will know if something is up through the check engine light. The valve must be replaced or cleaned every 50,000 miles or so. This is a good thing to include to your yearly checkup list.

A Clean Start

The EGR valve is often found on the upper part of the engine close to the air intake or throttle body. Start by checking the connected and outside components for any damage. Do you notice brittleness and cracks on the hose? If there are electronic connections, are they clean and sound? The valve in itself is tiny and often, there are two to four bolts holding this in place. Remove these then carefully separate this from the gasket. When the gasket is in bad condition or breaks, you have to replace it. You will notice deposits of carbon easily if they are present and these are all black, cruddy, and hard. See to it that nothing, such as pieces of gasket or deposits that falls to the engine.

Spray the carburetor cleaner on the deposits, then make sure you carefully and immediately wipe off the spray that gets on electronics or plastic. You can use a pipe cleaner or wire brush for scraping the deposits out. However, ensure that you don’t gouge or damage mating surfaces. Repeat with the spraying and scraping until everything is clean. Wipe away small particles, replace everything, then tighten all the bolts to finish cleaning the EGR valve.

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