How to Clean an EGR Pipe


The exhaust gas recirculation system is an emission-control device placed on all new vehicles. The EGR system allows a small amount of exhaust to be recirculated into the combustion chamber. The exhaust will cause a cooler combustion and lower the amount of nitrogen oxide produced. Over time, the EGR pipe can become clogged because of contaminants in the exhaust and can trigger a check engine light or even make the vehicle not run properly. This is fixed by removing the EGR valve and cleaning the EGR pipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Repair manual (Chilton's or Haynes)
  • Ratchet
  • Socket set
  • Flexible, metal-bristled pipe cleaner
  • Carburetor cleaner
  • EGR valve gasket
  • Torque wrench
  • Open your vehicle's hood and remove the EGR valve from the EGR pipe using a ratchet and socket, and pull the vacuum line from the valve. Pull the gasket from the EGR valve. The exact location varies among vehicles, so refer to your repair manual.

  • Spray inside the EGR pipe with a thick coat of carburetor cleaner.

  • Push a flexible, metal-bristled brush into the EGR pipe. Scrub the length of the inside of the pipe using a quick back-and-forth motion.

  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 three or four times, as there is no way to look into the tube to verify its cleanliness.

  • Remove the brush from the EGR pipe.

  • Place a new gasket on the EGR valve and place the valve back on the pipe. Tighten the EGR valve's bolts to the torque specifications found in your repair manual. Reconnect the vacuum line to the EGR valve. Close your vehicle's hood.

  • Start your vehicle and allow it to reach operating temperature, approximately halfway up the temperature gauge. Increase your vehicle's rpm to approximately 3,000 and hold it for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not be alarmed if black or white smoke comes from your tailpipe -- this is the engine burning the debris you cleaned from the pipe.

Tips & Warnings

  • A check engine light with an "EGR Flow Insufficient" code is a telltale sign of a clogged EGR pipe.
  • Only use carburetor cleaner to clean the EGR pipe, as any other solvent may burn too hot and damage the internals of your vehicle's engine.

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