Identifying a Bad Gas Recirculation Valve: A Guide for Students in Auto Mechanic Careers

car exhaust pipe
A vital component of a vehicle’s emissions system, a gas recirculation valve is responsible for controlling the movement and recirculation of exhaust gases. Within most emissions systems, exhaust gases expelled during combustion are recirculated back into the vehicle’s intake. This happens in order to keep cylinder temperatures at a safe level and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. The gas recirculation valve opens and closes to determine the movement of exhaust gases, maintaining the performance of the emissions system. However, when this component isn’t working correctly, it leads to problems not only for the emissions system, but also for the vehicle’s overall performance. If you’re seeking a career in the auto industry, read on to discover some common indicators that the gas recirculation valve isn’t working properly.

Professionals in Auto Mechanic Careers Should Check the Gas Recirculation Valve if There’s Engine Trouble

When the gas recirculation valve is acting up, the engine’s performance is often one of the first things to be affected. If the gas recirculation valve is either clogged or not working properly, this can lead to the delivery of the incorrect air-fuel ratio to the engine. With the wrong air-fuel ratio, the engine won’t be able to properly carry out combustion, leading to problems with the engine’s performance. Professionals in auto mechanic careers might suspect a gas recirculation valve issue when a vehicle has trouble accelerating, is experiencing a loss in power, or is shaking significantly when idling. 

A bad gas recirculation valve can cause engine trouble
A bad gas recirculation valve can cause engine trouble

Frequent Stalling Is a Sign of Gas Recirculation Valve Problems

When the gas recirculation valve fails to close and shut regularly, exhaust gases are able to pass freely into the emissions system. This will cause a vehicle to stall whenever the engine idles, likely accompanied by a strong smell of fuel coming from the tailpipe. Not only is this frustrating for drivers, but it also means that a higher amount of hydrocarbon gases than normal are being emitted into the atmosphere.

Is the Check Engine Light On?

As automotive school students know, an illuminated Check Engine light can mean many things, and one of the causes might be a malfunctioning gas recirculation valve. When a vehicle’s computer system identifies a problem with the gas recirculation valve’s position or circuit, the Check Engine Light may be illuminated. During your mechanic career, check the condition of the gas recirculation valve if a vehicle’s Check Engine light is on and the driver has noted problems with engine performance.

If the Check Engine light is on, examine the gas recirculation valve
If the Check Engine light is on, examine the gas recirculation valve

Increased Fuel Consumption Is a Sign of a Failing Gas Recirculation Valve

When a vehicle is consuming fuel at a higher rate than normal, this could be a sign that the gas recirculation valve isn’t working properly. If the engine isn’t receiving the correct air-fuel mixture, a problem that correlates with a faulty gas recirculation valve, it could be using more fuel than necessary. Additionally, if the valve is constantly open, this means that the fuel won’t burn at the right temperature, resulting in a less efficient fuel consumption.
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