An important component in a vehicle’s Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) system, the canister purge valve restricts the fuel vapors that are made in your fuel tank from getting out in the atmosphere by trapping and holding them in a charcoal canister. When your vehicle’s motor starts running at a regular speed, the EVAP system allows these vapors to be released into the motor where they are burned just like regular fuel. Vapor flow is controlled by the canister purge valve in your vehicle, determining when and the amount of vapor that enters your vehicle’s motor. Electrically operated, the canister purge valve is considered a solenoid. The most common problems with a purge valve involve the valve being stuck closed or stuck open, or it failing to open when it should.

Warning Signs Of A Malfunctioning Canister Purge Valve

There are several symptoms of a malfunctioning canister purge valve. Here are some warning signs that you should take notice of with your vehicle.

The Check Engine Light

If the canister purge valve is malfunctioning or failing, your car’s check engine light might come on. Your car’s computer controls the canister purge valve, so it can monitor its performance. If your car’s computer senses a higher or lower level purging from the valve, the check engine light will come on. Common error codes resulting from a malfunctioning canister purge valve include P0441 or P0446 or other EVAP codes. If you notice the check engine light on your car, take your car to a qualified repair facility for proper diagnosis.

Decreased Gas Mileage

When a canister purge valve doesn’t open as it should, your gas mileage might be negatively affected. The vapors in your car used in combustion will go to the EVAP canister then get vented out into the environment, causing you to use some of the fuel that your car would usually use for burning.

Engine Problems

If the canister purge valve is stuck open, a vacuum leak forms and your car’s engine can be adversely impacted. Air will get in the engine in an unpredictable quantity, so your car’s computer will react. The car’s air to fuel ratio will be changed, which leads to rough idling and difficult starts. If both these issues occur together, there is most likely failure of the canister purge valve or some part of the EVAP system.

Repairing The Canister Purge Valve

Having a canister purge valve repaired is usually inexpensive. The price, of course, depends on the make and model of vehicle. If your vehicle is experiencing one or more of the problems mentioned above, you should schedule an appointment with a qualified auto repair facility to have the problem properly diagnosed by a qualified mechanic. Your canister purge valve replacement can be done rather quickly, so you don’t have to worry about your car being out of service for a long time. Using an engine diagnostics tool, the mechanic will assess the situation and get a reading that reveals any codes that will reveal any problems plaguing your vehicle.

Auto Mechanic

Routine Maintenance Checks

An effective vehicle maintenance routine involves the testing of your vehicle’s purge valve. The purge valve should be tested regularly. While the specific process varies and is based on the vehicle make and model, it might involve using voltage from a battery on the purge valve to determine how much voltage is generated. A vacuum pump should be used to check the purge valve to see if it closes as it should. If the battery voltage causes a clicking noise and the pump immediately drops, the valve is working as it should. If the valve does not work, then you should take it for immediate repair to avoid further problems. It is an inexpensive fix, and it could save you from facing more expensive costs, such as increased fuel expenses and other mechanical issues.

If you suspect a problem with your vehicle’s canister purge valve, call Cerrone’s European in Redwood City, CA, at (650) 365-4145 to schedule an appointment for service. Since 1976, our family-owned auto repair facility has specialized in repairing and servicing European vehicles, such as Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, MINI, BMW, and Volvo vehicles.