How to Clean an Idle Air Control Valve in a Honda Accord

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The idle air control (IAC) valve in a Honda Accord controls the idle speed through the throttle body. When the IAC is dirty, the idle speed will suffer. If it's bad enough, the Accord simply won't run. It will have an extremely difficult time just idling. Fortunately, you can clean the idle control valve and put it back on the engine, and have your Accord running again in about 30 minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench
  • 10 mm socket
  • Screwdriver
  • Electronic parts cleaner (non-residue type)
  • Disconnect the cable running to the negative battery terminal. Loosen the nut on the cable clamp attached to the negative terminal, and lift the clamp off the terminal.

  • Open the hood and remove the two screws that hold the idle control valve to the throttle body. The throttle body and the valve are located on the back side of the engine near the firewall. Be careful when removing the screws; it's easy to strip them. Honda uses soft head screws for the IAC valve. You must put your entire body weight on the screw head and turn it slowly to be sure you don't ruin the head of the screw.

  • Remove the electrical plug running to the IAC valve. Squeeze the top and bottom of the plug to remove it.

  • Pull the idle control valve off the throttle body, and turn it over to expose the valve openings.

  • There are two holes on the underside of the valve. In one of the holes, you should see a sensor. It will probably be covered in dust or dirt.

  • Spray the sensor liberally with a non-residue electronic parts cleaner available from most electronics stores. You really need to soak the sensor in the parts cleaner, then allow the cleaner to drain out of the valve openings. Continue to spray the sensor until the fluid runs clear out of the valve opening. The parts cleaner should evaporate completely in a few hours.

  • Reinstall the idle control valve in the reverse of removal.

  • Start the Accord's engine and wait a few minutes while the Accord's computer relearns the air flow and makes adjustments to the IAC.

References

  • Honda Accord Repair Manual 2003-2007; Robert Maddox, John H. Haynes; 2008
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