Erratic idle on 1996 dodge avenger



My 1996 dodge avenger started idleing erraticly and stalling sometimes if I dident maintain the idle with the gas pedel. I did some research and thought it might be the idle air control valve. I took out IACV and cleaned it and the problem was solved for a couple of days before it started doing it again. I then replaced the PCV valve and again the problem was solved for a couple of days before it started back up again. The next thing I want to do is replace the IACV but don’t want to spend the 75$ before im sure thats the problem. Does anyone have any idea what the problem is? Thank you for the help.


Check for vacuum leaks as wellaround the intake, vacuum lines, etc. Is the check engine light on? If so, have you had the codes pulled?


The check engine light has never turned on. How would I check for vacuum leaks? With soap and water?? Thanks for the help.


The next time it idles erratically, tap on the IAC valve with the handle of a screwdriver. If doing this effects the idle replace the IAC valve.



I usually use WD40. Just spray lightly onto vacuum connections and around intake gasket(s). If the idle drops at a certain spot, there is a leak.

Just be careful not to spray any electrical components or plug wires/coil packs. don’t want to start a fire


Do not use soap and water. The vacuum - as vacuums do - sucks stuff in. If you do that and have a leak you’ll be sucking soap & water in. Lots of people use carb cleaner or something like it. WD-40 is fine. I use an unlit propane torch. A good and wise mechanic will find out whether or not to bother with a vacuum gauge.

My guess, however, is that you’ll get farther giving the IAC a whack as Tester suggested below. In addition to actually whacking the thing, also jiggle its electrical connector to see if anything happens. If it shows definite signs of being involved I would put a multimeter on it first to make sure the power supply is right (i.e. first verify that you don’t have a wiring problem. Autozone’s website has online repair manuals that should give you the voltage specs. Go there, register, plug in the cars info & find the repair info section.