Have you ever stopped to think how amazing it is that auto makers have been able to consistently build more powerful engines in vehicles that get better fuel economy while at the same time meeting increasing environmental standards. One of the little miracles that helps make this happen is the Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve or EGR Valve.
The EGR valve routes some exhaust back into the air intake system in both gasoline and diesel engines. The exhaust gas takes up some space in the engine cylinders, replacing some of the oxygen-rich air that would otherwise be in there. This means that the fuel burning event is cooler. Cooler combustion means fewer harmful nitrous oxides are produced.
Your EGR valve can get gummed up, messing up the timing and the amount of exhaust that is supposed to be recirculated in the engine. Symptoms of EGR valve problems are a rough idle and poor engine performance. Performance can be restored by cleaning or replacing the EGR valve, depending on how dirty it is.
EGR valves in diesel engines are particularly susceptible to becoming clogged because of the high soot content in diesel exhaust. ( The soot is ultimately filtered out of the exhaust further down the exhaust system, but not before it passes through the EGR valve).
There are a couple of things you can do to lengthen the life of the EGR valve in your diesel engine. First, extended idling allows for more soot buildup because the engine operating temperature is reduced as it idles; the valve is not opening and closing, allowing particulates to accumulate in the valve. Next is fuel quality. Diesel fuel has a cetane rating: the higher the rating, the better the combustion. Unfortunately, the cetane rating is rarely posted on the pump and can vary from location to location. Adding a cetane booster to the fuel tank can help with this problem.
So, if you’re experiencing rough idling or poor performance in your gas or diesel vehicle, have one of our Express Car Care technicians diagnose the problem. They can set things right and restore your vehicle’s performance.