How to Clean Purge Solenoid Valve (Step by Step)

Do you want to know how to clean purge solenoid valve? If so, then you are on the right page.

Dirt or particles that prevent the purge solenoid valve from working properly can be removed by rinsing the internal parts without opening the solenoid.

In the event that the casing of your purge solenoid valve breaks or the solenoid becomes faulty, there is nothing you can do but replace it.

However, you can clean the valve if the housing is not damaged after testing the solenoid’s coil. In most cases, it starts working after cleaning it, saving you money that would have been spent on repair or replacement.

A Purge solenoid valve is not a complicated device, and it has three basic parts:

  1. A plunger (flap) and an internal solenoid that allows fumes to pass through depending on the state of the solenoid (either disengaged or engaged).
  2. An electrical plug used for the control of the solenoid.
  3. A casing with 2 connectors for the inflow and the emission of fumes.

The three major problems a purge solenoid valve will likely have, include:

  1. There could be a crack in the casing (including the outlet and inlet pipes), which allows fuel gases to be released; it often leads to a vacuum leak.
  2. The flap or plunger can be prevented from moving properly if the solenoid’s coil is damaged or cut.
  3. The purge solenoid valve can be prevented from opening and closing fully if the electromechanical inner part sticks due to carbon or debris build-up. Most times, it’s stuck in one position without moving at all.

There are two ways of cleaning the purge solenoid valve; you could clean it without opening it and deep clean it by opening it. Here are the steps

How to Clean Purge Solenoid Valve by Opening It

How to Clean Purge Solenoid Valve Without Opening It

How to clean the valve without opening it:

Step 1: Spray Carb or Maf Cleaner

Spray MAF cleaner or carb cleaner into the two tubes of the valve.

Step 2: Shake and Wait

Place your fingers on both ends and shake properly. Keep the ends covered, wait some minutes and allow the cleaner to act on the particles.

Step 3: Drain the Liquid

Open the tubes and drain out the liquid. The drained liquid should have signs of debris, charcoal, and dirt.

Repeat the first and second steps until the liquid from the valve becomes clean.

If, on the very first attempt, the liquid comes out clean, it means there was no clogging in the valve, and the problem may not be caused by dirt.

Carrying out these steps does not cause harm to the valve, so you can keep doing it till the liquid that comes out becomes clear.

Step 4: Spray Contact Cleaner

Contact cleaner should be sprayed on your car’s switch and valve’s connector.

Step 5: Let It Dry

Allow everything to dry.

Also Read: Purge Valve (Functions, Symptoms, Replacement, & Testing)

How to Clean Purge Solenoid Valve by Opening It

The purge solenoid valve is not designed to be opened. You will have to use a sharp knife or a screwdriver with a flat blade to open the case forcefully.

Step 1: Remove the Glue From the Valve

Most purge solenoid valves, such as the Bosch type, found in many vehicle models, have their halves joined together with glue. Try removing the glue with the aid of the flat screwdriver.

Split the two halves of the casing carefully but firmly after taking the glue off.

Step 2: Open the Valve

After splitting the two halves, you will have a little round piece shaped as a cap. Electrical connectors of the valve, the solenoid, and working parts, are all contained in the other half.

At this point, you can take out the valve from the case.

Step 3: Check Parts and Replace

Examine the state of the rubber parts and the o-rings. The parts are sold together, so little or nothing can be done about that rather than buying a new purge solenoid valve.

Using silicone grease, carefully lubricate them if they are together. The parts that are a bit tricky are the top O-ring and upper rubbers.

O-rings in the lower parts are equally important; they ensure proper sealing. It is not a difficult part to get when it needs a replacement.

The electrical part of the valve may work properly, even if there is a leakage due to a faulty o-ring. After reassembling the valve, it is very crucial to seal everything properly.

Step 4: Spray With Carb or Maf Cleaner

The solenoid’s inner part should be sprayed using MAF or carb cleaner. Then, use a dry cloth to rub the openings for deep and effective cleaning.

Step 5: Put It Back Together

After cleaning and sealing, assemble everything. Then, use an RTV rubber or Epoxy glue to seal the case.

Once the valve has been sealed with this glue, opening it can be so difficult. Ensure everything is in place before the two parts are glued together.

Press the valve firmly after applying the glue. Place the assembled valve in a holder while the RTV or glue dries. Ensure to follow the glue’s instructions.

Step 6: Put the Purge Solenoid Valve Back

Place the valve back into your vehicle, and reconnect the electrical plug and vacuum lines.

Step 7: Clear the Fault Codes

Having a scanner that erases the error codes in the vehicle’s computer and switches off “check engine” lights on the dashboard will be ideal.

Without a scanner, the “check engine light” stays on, but once the issue is rectified, it will go off after driving around for a while.

At this point, you should be convinced that your vehicle is running properly, and when the engine is warm or idling, you should hear the solenoid’s open and close clicking sounds.

If your valve is repaired while closed, you can decide to try out the “Opening and deep cleaning” steps.

Check out this video for more tips on how to clean purge solenoid valve

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Purge Valve?

1. Spark Plugs Damage

Failure of fuel vapors to be redirected to the car’s engine cylinder for combustion due to a faulty purge valve will lead to excess fuel gases. And this also leads to an odd mixture of air and fuel.

This abnormality causes excess heat production, which subsequently wears spark plugs. Driving with a faulty purge valve makes your vehicle’s spark plugs wear out sooner than expected.

The purge solenoid valve should be replaced or repaired immediately once this symptom is discovered.

2. Difficulty Starting the Car

Difficulty starting your vehicle is another common sign of a bad purge valve. There could be an inflow of unrestricted air through a vacuum leak caused by a bad purge valve, which could eventually lead to an uneven fuel-air ratio. This defect causes difficulty in starting.

Contact a mechanic to identify the problem and rectify it accordingly.

Also Read: Car Hesitates to Start (10 Causes & Solutions)

3. Rough Idle

At lower RPM, the engine performance can be affected due to vacuum leaks. This is because the outcome of a vacuum drip or leak on the purge valve will be rougher than the usual idle.

However, the leak size would determine how significant the issue will be.

4. Poor Engine Performance

The system will have more air inflow than the car expects once the purge valve is stuck open. Each time you press the throttle, the amount of fuel your vehicle drops in the engine won’t be enough.

These effect affects performance at all RPMs, though they are easily noticed at a lower speed.

5. Check Engine Light

An unexpected check engine light is a common symptom of a faulty purge valve. The signs can change depending on whether the valve is stuck closed or open.

6. Increased Emissions

Whenever the purge valve remains closed instead of open, the fuel gases won’t be pushed back by the purge valve into the engine.

Rather, they will be emitted through the exhaust pipes, and this will cause a higher level of emissions. You may not notice this until you run an emission test on your vehicle.

7. Poor Fuel Economy

Your car can have poor fuel mileage due to a faulty purge solenoid valve. This can happen when EVAP is venting fuel gases that were supposed to be burned by the engine.

The engine becomes less fuel-efficient because the fuel escapes to the environment rather than being used up in the engine.

How to Clean Purge Solenoid Valve

Frequently Asked Questions – How to Clean Purge Solenoid Valve

Can a Purge Solenoid Be Cleaned?

The purge solenoid valve can be cleaned easily. The valve is the tiny part that connects to an engine’s airflow and prevents the escape of hot air. Once the valve becomes clogged, it ceases to function.

Can You Fix a Purge Valve Yourself?

You can easily replace the valve yourself, and this can save you some cash.

How Do I Know if My Purge Valve Is Stuck Open?

If your valve is not completely closed or stuck open, there will be a little vacuum leak. This leads to poor acceleration and high or rough idle. A stuck opened valve can lead to an EVAP leak code.

What Causes a Purge Valve to Stick Open?

EVAP leaks are the reason the vehicle’s computer says the valve is stuck open. Examine the signal and wiring that leads to the valve if it’s a new purge valve to ensure it is not kept open.

How Long Does a Purge Valve Last?

Purge solenoid valves normally last as long as the car. It can only wear out occasionally. The check engine light will turn on if the purge solenoid valve goes out, and your vehicle won’t pass the emission tests.

How Do I Know if My Charcoal Canister Is Clogged?

You will notice a sharp fuel odor, and the check engine light will come on if the EVAP canister is clogged. This symptom can equally mean a total collapse or fuel tank leakage. This should be examined as soon as possible.

Does a Purge Valve Affect Gas Mileage?

The gas mileage may be adversely affected if the canister purge valve does not open as it should. The EVAP canister vents out the vapors your vehicle used for combustion into the atmosphere.

Can You Clean the Purge Valve?

Yes, you can clean the purge valve. To do this, Find the valve; disconnect the electrical connectors and vacuum lines. Take the purge solenoid valve out of the vehicle. Clean the valve without opening and dry it. If it does not work, try opening the valve and cleaning it deeply; ensure you have technical knowledge.

Conclusion – How to Clean Purge Solenoid Valve

The purge valve is a vital part of the EVAP emission control system. However, as a result of durability limitations on moving machines, there is a reduction in the valve’s performance over time because it is used frequently.

Analyze and examine the primary source of the issue with the information given above, and depending on the outcome, you may either choose to get a new valve or get the purge valve cleaned.

Examining the Purge valve very often is important so that when you experience some issues, you can amend it yourself before going for the replacement option.

Irrespective of how cheap the purge valve is if cleaning it can amend some of the vehicle’s issues or turn off the check engine light, then do it.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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