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An electronically controlled device, the idle control valve is often used in fuel injected engines, and works in conjunction with the car's ECU (Engine Control Unit) to control the idling of the engine. Idle control valves work by opening the throttle valves directly, regulating the air flow through the throttle body.
The idle control valve is located in the engine, next to the throttle body. It consists of an adjustable, moving pintle attached to a rod and powered by a gear which is connected to an idle speed control stepper motor. The tip of the pintle is shaped like a funnel and enters into an air passage in the throttle. The level of air in the pintle controls the idle speed of the engine.
The idle control valve works to deliver and maintain a regular engine idlling speed. Factors such as a cold engine, using the car radio or the air conditioning can effect the idling speed of the engine, so the idle control valve neutralises these outside factors, and makes sure that the engine is constantly idling at a level speed. Based on data gathered by a variety of engine sensors, the idle control valves manage the volume of air entering the throttle valves by either increasing or reducing the engine's idle speed to maintain a constant speed.
A build-up of oil, dust and dirt can cause the idle control valve to seize up. An engine that stalls when idling or struggles/shuts down when the air conditioning is turned on, for example, could indicate a problem with the idle control valve. The idle control valve assists with engine start up in cold conditions. If the idle control valve is faulty this may prevent a cold engine start. When you need to change the idle control valve, it's vital that the replacement part is compatible with your car. Specifically manufactured for the make and model of your vehicle, the idle control valve is the perfect choice.