The EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve is a vital component in your vehicle’s exhaust circulation system. Without a working EGR valve your vehicle won’t perform up to par and can cause engine problems. This is a part which has been incorporated into vehicles for nearly half a century (originally to minimize pollution) and is basically the heart of the exhaust circulation system. It’s important to know how to test your EGR valve, and replace it, to prevent serious issues with your car.
What Happens if your EGR Valve Doesn’t Work?
A non-working EGR valve can easily lead to engine problems. Your engine could start to perform poorly and signs of this could include a knock in the engine or the engine feeling rough when idling. There are ways to check if your EGR valve is working or not but if you notice an engine knock or rough idling then it’s likely a sign of a bad EGR valve that needs replaced.
What Does the EGR Valve Do?
The EGR valve sends exhaust to the combustion chamber so it can be used over again. This will help keep the combustion chamber at an ideal temperature. The combustion chamber sends out hot air through the exhaust so it needs to continue to be heated. Without the EGR valve, it would be the engine’s responsibility, but that puts too much stress on the engine.
The EGR valve is also responsible for lowering the amount of pollution your vehicle causes. The EGR valve will minimize the amount of nitrogen oxides that is sent out the exhaust. Nitrogen oxide is what partially causes smog to form, so reducing its existence is crucial to keep pollution to a minimum.
EGR Valve Design
Many EGR valves are designed to operate only when necessary. This means that the valve will open to send exhaust into the combustion chamber but it will close by itself when there’s no exhaust to transfer. Certain EGR valves are designed to only open when there’s a suitable amount of back pressure so the valve won’t open while your vehicle is idling or getting warmed up.
Since the EGR valve doesn’t always stay open it will prevent certain issues that could lead to major problems with your vehicle. If the EGR valve stayed open, a vacuum leak would occur. This will cause the combustion process to malfunction and can cause your vehicle to be rough when idling and possibly stall at times.
Inspecting the EGR Valve
If you have reason to believe that the EGR valve may be open, you should check it. Have someone press down on the brake when your vehicle is idling in park. You can inspect the plunger shaft in order to see if the EGR valve is stuck open or not. If the valve is stuck open then try to fix it, if you can’t, you’ll have to replace it.
If you find that the EGR valve is actually stuck closed when you inspect it then you’ll still need to fix it. An EGR valve that is stuck closed will cause nitrogen oxide to build up and it can lead to an engine knock. You will have to inspect the EGR valve when the vehicle is already warmed up to see if it’s really stuck in place. However, if it’s determined that the EGR valve is stuck closed (or open), you’ll have to fix it or replace it with a new one, as it can lead to serious engine problems.
Repairing the EGR Valve
You should be able to fix the EGR valve by yourself. Sometimes it will be in bad condition and will need to be replaced, but usually the EGR valve can be repaired. If the EGR valve is clogged you should be able to just clean it out and bring it back to a functional state. However, if it’s an electrical issue that’s causing the EGR valve to not work properly, it’s usually more convenient to replace the valve itself.
An EGR valve can cost $100-200 depending on your vehicle. It’s important that you don’t let your EGR valve get damaged and keep an eye on it if you think there might be an issue with its performance. If you do discover that the EGR valve needs repaired, you should speak with a licensed mechanic for advice on whether to repair it or replace it.
Not only is it important to replace the EGR valve so there are no mechanical issues but if you want to pass an emissions test it will have to be working. Many areas require you to put your vehicle through an emissions testing (smog test) and a vehicle with a bad EGR valve likely wouldn’t pass the inspection.