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Common Problems of the Jeep Wrangler Idle Air Control Valve

The idle air control valve or the IAC valve is one of the various control devices in the Jeep Wrangler that help ensure that its 4- to 6-cylinder engines work efficiently when idling. Normally the IAC is designed to last as long as the engine itself, although various reasons, such as everyday wear or tear or foreign objects entering the valve for example, can cause the valve to break down. Thankfully, Jeep Wrangler idle air control valve problems are rare, but it still pays to be aware of the various signs that may start to malfunction. In this guide, we'll list down some of the more common problems of Wrangler IAC valve:

The check engine light is on

One of the first signs that may indicate that the Wrangler's idle air control valve is starting to go back is the check engine light. If the check engine light is on, you may be able to use an OBD scanner to identify the code which caused the light to activate. For Wranglers manufactured on or before 2006, codes P505 to P509 indicate a problem with the idle control system (of which the IAC valve is part of. For newer Wrangler models, the code is 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, and 19, and 25.

Stalling and poor idling

IAC valves are highly vulnerable to carbon and coke buildup, and if too much deposit has accumulated on the valve it can cause the engine to stall and poor idle quality. Regular inspection of cleaning of the valve every 40,000 can help prevent clogging and, in turn, stalling of the engine, but if the valve has severely buildup replacement may be a better option to take.

Rough engine operation

A Wrangler engine that runs roughly and dies frequently may be an indication that the idle air control valve is losing pressure. In most cases this loss in pressure is due to a torn or punctured vacuum hose connecting the IAC valve and motor to the intake manifold. Turn off the engine and inspect the vacuum hose as well as all engine accessory lines for tears and other signs of damage and wear. Make sure to replace any compromised lines as soon as possible.

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  • Tips on Maintaining the Jeep Wrangler IAC Valve

    The Jeep Wrangler has many different components that require occasional maintenance, but for many Wrangler owners, the idle air control valve is often the last thing they think about maintaining. Aside from being one of the more obscure parts of the Jeep Wrangler, the idle air control or IAC valve is also designed to be rugged enough to last the entire life of the engine. But despite this, it is still recommended to conduct periodic maintenance of the Jeep Wrangler idle air control valve in order to lessen the effects of everyday wear and tear.

    Clean the IAC valve

    Carbon particles from burnt gasoline tend to accumulate and clog in the idle air control valve, causing stalling and rough engine operation. But with regular cleaning, clogs in the IAC valve are prevented. To clean the valve, remove from its mounting and soak it in gasoline or, more preferably, a methanol solution. Use a screwdriver or a similar tool to move the valve flap back and forth so that it is completely soaked in the solution. After a couple of minutes, take out the valve and blow it with compressed air to remove any excess fluid. Make sure check for any remaining deposits and whether the valve flap can move freely back and forth. Once the valve is clean, replace it back to its mounting, reset the ECU, and monitor the engine RPMs when idling.

    Inspect the valve for damage

    The IAC valve typically shows signs of wear once it reaches 70,000 miles, so it's recommended to inspect the valve once it reaches this mark. First, take a short flathead screwdriver with a robo-grip and, with your body weight on top of the screwdriver, loosen the valve screws. Doing so will break the factory seals without stripping the screw. Once the screws are loosened, unmount the valve and check the flap's movement, grounding, carbon deposits, and signs of external wear or damage. If the valve is severely damaged or worn out, replace it as soon as possible.

    Check for and replace punctured valve hoses

    The hoses that connect the IAC valve and motor to the intake manifold are highly vulnerable to punctures. And once they are punctured, the hose will start to lose rapidly, leading to reduced engine efficiency as well as rough idling. So when you notice any of these symptoms, check the hoses immediately and replace them if necessary.