Cleaning Your Dirty EGR Valve

egr valve
Clean or Replace Your EGR Valve at Home.

If your car is running poorly, you may be having problems with your EGR valve. There are no real tests you can perform at home for EGR valve function. If you have removed your EGR valve, often you can shake it and you will be able to hear the diaphragm moving back and forth inside. If you can hear it moving, there is a good chance that your EGR valve is good and needs to be cleaned to return to normal function.

If you don't hear anything, your EGR valve might be stuck. Of course, this is not a reliable test! But if you are into general reckoning rather than definitive testing, this might be a starting point.

If you do need to clean your EGR valve, it's not too difficult. What follows are general steps that apply to most units. Newer EGR valves are electronic and have a wiring harness connected to them. For newer units, it is very important to avoid getting corrosive cleaners on the wiring and connectors.

Cleaning Your EGR Valve

  1. Remove the vacuum line
    Carefully remove the rubber vacuum line that is connected to your EGR valve. If it is brittle, broken, frayed, damaged in any way or otherwise seems tired, replace it. Vacuum problems are the source of all kinds of engine woes.
  2. Disconnect the electrical harness
    If your EGR valve has an electrical connection, carefully disconnect it and lay the wiring aside safely.
  1. Unbolt the EGR valve
    Remove the bolts that attach the EGR valve assembly to the engine. If it doesn't come right off when you have removed the nuts or bolts, it's safe to give a slight tap with a block of wood or a tiny hammer.
  2. Remove the gasket
    If your gasket looks ok (not torn, frayed or disintegrated) you can reuse it. If it's questionable, install a new one. I always install a new gasket with any repair - just saying.'
  1. Soak the EGR valve
    Cleaning the EGR valve assembly is a two-step deal. It really depends on how far you want to go and how much time you have. First, soak the EGR valve in a bowl filled with carb cleaner. Carb cleaner smells horrible and is nasty stuff. so soak it outside or in a very well-ventilated area. Important: If your EGR valve has electronic connections on it, do not submerge the electrical portion in cleaner! Let it soak overnight if you can. If this isn't possible, skip to the next step.
  2. Hand clean the EGR valve
    Once you've let your EGR valve soak in cleaner overnight (if possible) you need to clean its passages, openings. and surfaces with a small brush. Toothbrushes and pipe cleaners are great. The more black crud you get out of there the better your chances of fixing the problem. Important: When hand cleaning, be sure to use chemical resistant gloves and EYE PROTECTION. Carb cleaner is nasty stuff. Basically, you want to clean everything you can reach with your cleaning brushes.
  3. Reinstall the EGR valve
    Now you can reinstall your clean EGR valve. Don't forget to reattach your vacuum hose and your electrical connections if applicable. If this process worked, great! If you are still experiencing problems you feel can be traced to ​the EGR valve, you may have to go ahead and replace it. Many of these are available at a good price on Amazon.

    It is recommended to DIY customers that they clean the EGR valve if possible with their vehicle. There's nothing like turning what could be a very expensive (or at least moderately costly) repair into a home repair victory. The exhaust gas recirculation valve is a great place for this to happen, as it's fairly easy to access, easy to clean as long as you don't mind getting messy, and very satisfying when it returns to proper function after the cleaning.