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Hagerty Employee

A simple fix on a modern car? Yes, it's possible

Many car lovers often bemoan modern cars' multitude of sensors and electric motors for their ability to vastly complicate diagnostics and repair. However, it's not all so bad. In fact, a component that sounds complex—the idle air control valve, for instance—may be simpler to fix than you think.


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Community Manager

I was hooked on EFI systems when I cleaned my first IAC valve in the late-1990s.  What a difference a few minutes, a few sprays of WD-40 (all I had at the time) and a leftover toothbrush made to the performance of my car! 


A similar problem cropped up on my '95 BMW 318ti.  A couple of sprays of carb cleaner, some working it around, and everything was good again.  The only problem?  The ICV is buried between the two halves of the intake manifold, and it takes an hour or so of disassembly to get to it.  Nice compact packaging job in design, but what a **bleep** for the repair mechanic.  Those efficient Germans.


I was driving my '08 Hemi Ram (with 130K miles) home one day and it stalled and wouldn't start. I thought I'd just pop the hood and look around and see if I saw anything. I moved the engine harness around a little and it started. I then moved it around while running and it stalled again. The crank sensor 5V feed had worn through on the edge of the block. Easy fix once I got home. Sometimes, if you try, you get lucky.


I had a problem with the throttle bodies (there are two) in my Ferrari 360. The list price for to replace them (Ferrari demands that we replace in pairs) is $1750 EACH and I need two. Instead of just buying the new ones, I spent a lot of time figuring out exactly how these marvels work, how they fail and how they can be tested. In the process, I developed a Bosch Throttle Body testing system that can accurately determine if one of these gadgets has degraded or failed. I used it to successfully find the bad unit and bought a couple of used ones from eBay and was able to qualify one that matched the performance of my good throttle body.


Here's a video showing an early version of the tester in action.


The tester records the results on an SD card for later analysis.


Here's an example of two old vs. a new throttle body showing the lag in performance as a curve.


The two "old" throttle bodies used in this test ultimately ended up in my car and are working just right.


All electronic gadget used in our cars are degrading. Some degrade gracefully, others, catastrophically. It's up to us to figure out how to keep these gadgets performing so our cars stay running in top shape. 

Intermediate Driver

I hate to break this to you, Kyle, but a 99 Silverado is not a modern car! 

Community Manager

You got a point.  That's a tough line to walk when you write for Hagerty and your focus generally is vehicles much older than a '99 Silverado.