Some issues with your idle speed control actuator don't always necessitate replacement. In some cases, all it takes is a little bit of cleaning to get rid of carbon build up that can cause the actuator to stick and eventually fail in regulating the vehicle's idle. Cleaning the actuator is important as it can keep you from purchasing a new one. However, not all types of actuators can be cleaned.
If your manual says that your ride's spring-loaded actuator can be maintained by cleaning, here are the steps on how to pull off the task properly:
Difficulty level: Easy
What you'll need:
Set of 1/4-inch sockets
Vehicle service manual
Step 1: Prop the hood up and disconnect the negative battery cable.
Step 2: Find the electrical connector or wiring harness of the idle speed control actuator. It is usually situated on or near your throttle body. You can consult your manual to know the connector's exact location.
Step 3: Detach the electrical connector from the actuator. You can use a screwdriver, but be careful not to break the plastic tang that secures the wiring harness to the actuator. Reconnect the battery's negative cable.
Step 4: Unscrew the retaining screws or bolts that hold the actuator to the engine block.
Step 5: Hold the actuator and point it downward. Spray carburetor cleaner into its pointed end. Get a rag and wipe it clean. Make sure no amount of carburetor cleaner will get into the housing. If there are still carbon residues, spray carburetor cleaner and wipe it off again until the actuator is clean and all the carbon has been removed.
Step 6: Put the idle speed control actuator back in place and connect the electrical connector or wiring harness.
Step 7: Test the performance of the newly cleaned actuator by starting your ride and checking if it idles properly. You can also take your ride out for a drive to see if the engine won't shut off while you're turning a corner or coming to a halt, particularly with your car's a/c turned on. If the engine shuts off, then you should consider replacing your idle speed control actuator.
Cleaning the actuator won't take an hour. It's the test-driving that may take a little while since you will need to turn on corners and come to a stop for several times to gauge the actuator's performance.