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Ford Focus Idle Control Valve

Determining the Causes of Your Ford Focus Idle Control Valve Failure

The idle control valve is more commonly referred to as the idle control solenoid when talking about Ford vehicles. It regulates the airflow in the throttle plate to maintain the RPM and is controlled by the engine control module or ECM, which then transmits signals to the valve. These signals cause the valve to make changes to the idle speed, increasing or decreasing the RPM. However, it is inevitable for this part to fail. When it does, several problems may arise. Here are few tips on what you can do should your Ford Focus idle control valve become defective:


If you hear a loud hum or whine coming from the engine bay, it could be an indication of a dirty idle control valve. To be certain, inspect the valve for dirt or carbon buildup. When you turn the valve, you will notice two chambers. One of which has a spring inside, and the other is the sensor where you will most likely find the dirt. Clean this portion with a carburetor cleaner.

When uninstalling the valve, be careful not to break the plastic tang that secures the wiring harness to the sensor. And in cleaning the valve, hold it downward and spray the cleaner on the pointed end of the valve. Remember that you should not let the cleaner drip into the housing.

Rough idle

You would know that your car has a rough idle when it starts vibrating while it is on but not really in motion. This condition is due to a bad idle control valve, which might be stuck open and therefore causing improper airflow into the engine. The valve needs to be replaced in this case. Also, a new gasket would have to be installed along with a new valve. Make sure to clean the mounting surface of the old gasket as well.


Stalling usually occurs when the vehicle is at idle or at low speed. It could be due to a clogged air control valve, which prevents the correct amount of airflow from entering the intake. If you notice that your car is about to stall, press on the accelerator to increase the RPM and keep the car running. However, there are times when your vehicle would run properly upon accelerating but sputters or stalls when you start decelerating. Also, you can check your idle control valve using an ohmmeter. Connect the positive lead to the vehicle power pin and the negative lead to the idle control valve pin. The reading should be within the 7.0-to-13.0-ohm range.

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  • How to Keep Your Ford Focus Idle Control Valve from Failing

    To avoid problems such as stalling and poor idle quality, better check on your Ford Focus idle control valve regularly. This device is responsible for maintaining a steady RPM by monitoring and adjusting the airflow within the engine. Keep your idle control valve in good condition by following these simple tips:

    Clean off dirt from the valve.

    Carbon or dirt can easily accumulate in your idle control valve. When it remains unclean for a long time, you might find yourself so frustrated with the poor idle quality of your vehicle. It may even lead to stalling, which will obviously hamper the smooth operation of your Ford Focus.

    The solution to this problem is pretty easy-clean the valve with a carburetor cleaner. You need to remove the valve before anything else. Be careful not to break the tang, which holds the sensor and the wiring harness together. Simply spray the cleaner on the pointed end of the valve and make sure it won't drip into the housing. Wipe it clean and repeat the process until the carbon or dirt is completely removed.

    Inspect the valve for a broken vacuum hose.

    If the idle control valve is clean enough, consider looking for a broken vacuum hose. A broken or dilapidated vacuum hose can cause the engine to run roughly and die out all of a sudden. So when you see damage on this part or find that the hose is missing, replace it immediately.

    Check its resistance.

    Before measuring the resistance of the idle control valve, you may try observing changes in the RPM. You would have to turn off your car and unplug the valve. Then, check the RPM if it drops when you restart the engine. If there is no change in the idle speed, it is likely that the valve is defective. To confirm that you have a bad idle control valve, check its resistance with an ohmmeter. If the resistance reading does not fall within 7.0 and 13.0 ohms, replacing the valve would be necessary. The process is pretty simple. You only need to remove the valve from its mounting and wiring harness. Don't forget to include a new gasket in your new idle control valve installation.