The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve plays a crucial role in your vehicle’s emission control system. It helps reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by recirculating a portion of exhaust gasses into the engine’s combustion chamber.
However, EGR valve failure can lead to various issues, such as decreased fuel efficiency, increased emissions, and reduced engine performance. Here we will discuss how to prevent EGR valve failure through proper maintenance and driving habits.
What is an EGR Valve?
Car engines burn atmospheric nitrogen in extreme heat and convert it into a more reactive form- nitric oxide (NOx). This toxic NOx is then eliminated through the exhaust pipe back into the environment, which contributes to greenhouse gasses.
Over the years, people have come up with so many solutions but not all of them were good enough. However, EGR or Exhaust Gas Recirculation is a highly effective way to control NOx. As a result, modern vehicles are equipped with an EGR valve now.
The primary purpose of the valve is to cycle the surplus NOx back to the engine for reuse. This mechanism helps reduce air pollution. Additionally, this transformed NOx cools the temperature of the combustion chamber in the engine for a lesser amount of NOx production.
EGR valve has another reputation by the way. It fails too often. You can see why that would be a disaster.
Many owners overlook this problem. But that’s even more harmful. A faulty EGR valve damages the car engine by warming it up beyond control. This results in more NOx and the environment becomes more toxic as a result.
Causes of EGR
If you notice excessive smoke coming out of your diesel engine or a rough idle (fluctuation in speed of your vehicle even when it’s at standstill) or feel that your vehicle performance has deteriorated over time or even hear engine knocks (knocking sounds coming from under the hood), it’s likely that your EGR valve has gone defective.
1. Damaged Temperature Sensor
As mentioned above, the EGF valve plays a crucial role in controlling the temperature inside the engine. When temperature rises, the valve opens and cools the engine off and when temperature lowers down, the valve closes. This entire operation is controlled by a temperature sensor. So, if the sensor misreads the actual temperature due to a fault, the EGF valve loses its functionality.
2. Jammed EGR Pipe
You already know the EGR valve retains toxic gasses and transfers them to the engine. But how does it do that? Well, with the help of the EGR pipe.
The extremely heated NOx moves through the pipe back to the engine. Remember, all those exhaust gasses contain carbon and other impure substances. When the gasses continuously flow through the EGR pipe, they leave traces of those elements on the wall. This accumulation can disrupt the natural flow rate of gasses and eventually damage the valve.
3. Sticky EGR Valve
Carbon can also affect the EGR valve directly. This leaves the valve stuck in a position where it’s neither open nor closed. A partly open valve will allow the exhaust gas to pass through continuously while the consequence will be poor fuel economy.
On the other hand, a partially closed valve will block NOx from being recycled. As a result, the engine will heat up extensively.
Sometimes, a bad EGR valve can also be completely stuck open. In that case, exhaust gas will condense around the engine that can lead to a possible engine misfire.
4. Manufacturing Defects
Apart from the common reasons mentioned above, the valve failure can be attributed to manufacturing faults as well. But this is a rare phenomenon.
5. Extreme Conditions
If the engine is exposed to extreme operating conditions, such as hot temperature, excessive amount of dust, and longer duration of heavy loads, the EGR valve can wear out fast. This constant stress almost always leads to premature valve failure.
6. Lack of Maintenance
If you ignore your maintenance job for too long, the carbon impurities are going to pile up on the valve and eventually cause your car to perform poorly.
How to Prevent EGR Valve Failure?
Prevention is always better than cure. Focus on preventing any possible accident rather than waiting for something to happen.
Many users neglect repairing the EGR valve even after it has gone defunct.
You should be careful of the consequences a damaged EGR valve can bring about and take proper steps to counter them.
1. Maintenance Schedule
Keep in regular contact with your manufacturer. Follow their guidelines and always keep your EGR system components in check. Do routine inspection of the entire mechanics of your car.
2. Pure Fuel
Use high-quality diesel fuels and gasoline. The better the fuel, the lesser the carbon deposit on the system, including the EGR.
3. Fuel Filter
Try to minimize any impurities caused by carbon and other toxic substances present in the fuel. One of the methods to achieve that is using high-quality fuel filters.
4. Vacuum System
Check on the vacuum lines and hoses for any leaks or cracks. Pay attention to the electrical lines as well. If you notice even a slight damage in any one of the materials, don’t delay to replace them.
5. Temperature Sensor
As mentioned earlier, the temperature sensor controls the opening and closing of the EGR valve. If the sensor is somehow broken or disrupted, promptly repair or replace it.
6. Fuel Additives
Some commercial fuel additives help in reducing carbon deposit. Use additives in your fuel occasionally to clean out the impurities from the EGR pipe and valve. But ask for advice from the manufacturer before adding them on.
7. Driving Speed
If you’re used to driving aggressively, you are more likely to raise a very high temperature in the engine, which ultimately builds more carbon residues that damage your EGR system. So, drive safely. Maintain a decent acceleration to avoid any such troubles.
However, don’t forget to drive at your regular optimum temperature in the engine at least once a week on an open highway. Speeding over 50mph is recommended to allow the valves to go through a self-cleaning process.
8. Reduction in Idling
Don’t let your vehicle idle too much. Excessive idling can also deposit carbon in the EGR system.
9. Environmental Conditions
Environmental stress can prove to be detrimental to your car. So, if you live in extreme temperatures – whether hot or cold – you should take extra care of your motor.
10. PCV System
Positive Crankcase Ventilation or PCV system is an effective system to eliminate any type of contaminants or sludge from the engine and EGR. If defected, replace your PCV system or install a new functional one.
Wrapping It Up
Here we have shared how to prevent EGR valve failure in your car in detail.
It’s important to manage the EGR system in any type of vehicle. The reason being, it’s integral in controlling engine temperature and safeguarding the environment at the same time.
Since EGR valves are prone to malfunction very easily, you should always be cautious in handling them. Take accurate measures to develop resistance against EGR valve failure in future. Hopefully, you’ll find our suggestions helpful.
But if you find clear signs that the EGR valve has been damaged already, you might want to contact your manufacturer for a thorough repair.
1. What causes the EGR valve to fail?
Ans. Many reasons can account for an EGR valve failure. For example, a faulty temperature sensor, a blocked EGR pipe, a sticky EGR valve, impure fuels, and lack of maintenance.
2. How do I prevent EGR failure?
Ans. Preventing EGR failure requires taking proactive measures. Ensuring regular maintenance mostly solves any future EGR problems. Additionally, you can use fuel filters, fuel additives, PCV system etc to further increase your chances in avoiding any EGR issues. You should also take into account your surrounding environment, fuel quality, driving habits, vacuum systems and temperature sensors.
3. Will cleaning the EGR valve help?
Ans. Yes, cleaning can help the EGR valve operate smoother. Because of cleaning, deposited carbon is cleared out from the valve increasing its efficiency.
4. Is a failed EGR a serious condition?
Ans. A failed EGR system usually means higher engine temperature, increased carbon deposits and exhaust gas emissions. So, yes, failed EGR is serious for both the vehicle and the environment.
5. Will a long drive clean the EGR valve?
Ans. Yes, it is recommended to go on long drives with carS to keep the EGR valve clean. When you keep driving at an optimal temperature of the engine, EGR valves go through a self-cleaning process. However, if your EGR valve is blocked, long drives are discouraged.
6. How do you prevent carbon buildup in an EGR valve?
Ans. To prevent carbon buildup in the EGR valve, you can use many techniques. For example, you can use fuel additives or a fuel filter, reduce idling, drive less aggressively, and add a PCV system.
7. How long should an EGR valve last?
Ans. An EGR valve should usually last for about 10 years or 50,000 miles. However, their longevity depends largely on how the users of the vehicle treat its mechanics.