Wondering how to clean your vehicle’s purge solenoid valve? You’re in the right place. Purge solenoids are often found in gasoline-powered vehicles and are used to release the fuel pressure when the engine is starting. If your purge solenoid valve becomes clogged, it can cause a variety of problems, such as an inability to start your car or reduced fuel efficiency. In this article, we’ll show you how to clean a purge solenoid valve using simple steps.
What is a Purge Solenoid Valve?
Purge valves stop gasoline vapors from escaping into the air by trapping them when they are produced in your fuel tank. The valve is controlled by a solenoid, which can occasionally fail and leave it trapped open or closed. A purge solenoid valve opens and allows air into the fuel system, which helps start the engine.
What Does a Purge Solenoid Valve Do?
Your car’s Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) closes the fuel system to keep potentially dangerous fuel vapors out of the environment.
The canister purge valve in particular is an emissions control device that enables your engine intake vacuum to draw precisely the right amount of gasoline vapors from the EVAP canister into the engine intake manifold.
The EVAP system may have issues if the purge valve malfunctions, which will have a negative impact on your car’s emission output level.
In newer vehicles, the engine computer controls an electronically driven solenoid that operates the purge valve.
As soon as your engine shuts off, the valve closes. As soon as your engine starts, the computer gradually and continuously opens the purge valve.
By performing this operation, fuel vapor can travel from the vapor canister and ignite in the engine.
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What are the Symptoms of a Faulty Purge Valve?
If your purge solenoid valve needs attention, your check engine light should come on. Aside from that, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you likely need to clean your purge solenoid valve.
- Air coming out of gas tank when opening cap
- Engine stalls or hesitates when starting
- Poor fuel economy
- Cabin air smells sour or vinegar-like
- Engine overheats frequently
How to Clean a Purge Solenoid Valve
If your purge solenoid valve isn’t working properly, it may need to be cleaned. This is a relatively easy task that can be done by anyone with basic repair skills.
Tools You Will Need
The below supplies will make cleaning your purge solenoid valve much easier.
Be sure to use Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner when spraying the inside of your valve. This is the safest and most reliable cleaner for plastic car hardware.
- CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner
- Jtron Alligator Jumper Wires
Disconnect the Solenoid
In order to properly clean your purge valve, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove it from your vehicle. That can be done very easily. Simply follow the three steps shown below.
1. Disconnect the Wire Harness
2. Disconnect the Two Hoses
One hose connects to the charcoal canister, and the other hose goes to the intake manifold.
3. Pull the Solenoid Out
Now that you have the wires and hoses disconnected, you should be able to pull the solenoid out pretty easily.
Cleaning the Purge Solenoid Valve
Once the purge valve is disconnected from your vehicle, it’s time to clean it. This is a really easy process and can be done in five simple steps as outlined below.
1. Spray the Mass Air Flow Cleaner into the Closed Valve
With the valve closed, spray Mass Air Flow Cleaner into the valve to thoroughly rinse it.
2. Open the Valve by Connecting 12v Jumper Wires
3. Spray the Open Valve with Mass Air Flow Cleaner
4. Shake Out Any Remaining Fluid
5. Let the Valve Dry or Air Spray It
Cost for a New Purge Solenoid Valve
A damaged purge valve will often cost between $100 and $200 to fix. The majority of the expense is in the parts, where a new valve can cost up to $100 on average.
Can I Drive With a Faulty Purge Vale?
While you can certainly drive your car with a faulty purge valve, we advise against it.
If your purge valve is not working properly, pollutants and gases can accumulate in the car, which can cause dangerous conditions.
In addition, the longer you drive with a damaged valve, the greater the chance you have of breaking the EVAP system and other components of the car. There is also a chance of squandering fuel and emitting more pollutants than necessary.
If you have to drive with a bad purge valve for a short period of time, you’ll likely be just fine. However, it’s best to clean or replace it as soon as possible.
Purge solenoid valves are one of those parts of your car that you might not think too much about – until they start to cause problems. If you’re having trouble starting your car, or it’s giving weird emissions readings, it might be time to take a look at the purge solenoid valve. In this article, we will teach you how to clean and replace the purge solenoid valve in your car, so that you can get back on the road in good shape.
Jed LehmanJed Lehman is a born gearhead who has been working on cars since he could crawl. He inherited his love for auto from his grandfather who owned a maintenance shop in Carlsbad, California. Jed is the driver behind Gearshift, and started this site to provide straightforward, helpful automobile information. From maintenance tips to product reviews, you can find it all here.
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