How to Test Purge Valve with Multimeter


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How to Test Purge Valve with Multimeter

When it comes to the proper functioning of your vehicle’s evaporative emissions system, the purge valve plays a vital role. The purge valve assumes the crucial role of controlling the passage of fuel vapors from the charcoal canister to the engine, enabling their efficient combustion. However, over time, the purge valve may develop faults, leading to various issues. In this article, we will guide you on how to test purge valve with multimeter.

Understanding the Purge Valve

What is a Purge Valve?

The purge valve is a crucial component of the evaporative emissions system in a vehicle. It controls the flow of fuel vapors from the charcoal canister to the engine intake manifold. By opening and closing as necessary, the purge valve prevents the accumulation of harmful fuel vapors in the environment and ensures efficient fuel combustion.

Importance of the Purge Valve

The proper functioning of the purge valve is essential for maintaining the overall performance of your vehicle. A faulty purge valve can lead to increased emissions, rough idling, decreased fuel efficiency, and even trigger the check engine light. Testing the purge valve with a multimeter can help diagnose any potential issues.

Signs of a Faulty Purge Valve

Before proceeding with the testing process, it is essential to identify the signs of a faulty purge valve. Here are some common indicators:

1. Check the Engine Light

If the purge valve is malfunctioning, it can trigger the check engine light on your vehicle’s dashboard. This warning sign indicates a potential issue with the emissions system.

2. Rough Idling

A faulty purge valve can cause irregular engine idle speed. You may notice your engine idling roughly or experiencing fluctuations in RPM (revolutions per minute).

3. Fuel Vapor Smell

When the purge valve fails to regulate the fuel vapors properly, you might detect a strong smell of fuel vapor, especially near the vehicle’s fuel tank area.

Tools and Equipment Required

Before you begin the testing process, gather the following tools and equipment:

  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Screwdriver (if required for accessing the purge valve)
  • Multimeter (preferably digital)

Step-by-Step: How to Test Purge Valve with Multimeter

1. Preparation

Ensure your vehicle is parked on a flat surface and the engine is turned off. Put on your safety gloves and goggles to protect yourself during the testing process.

2. Locating the Purge Valve

Refer to your vehicle’s service manual to locate the purge valve. In most cases, the purge valve is situated near the charcoal canister or the intake manifold. You may need to remove some components or panels to access it.

3. Disconnecting the Purge Valve

Once you have located the purge valve, carefully disconnect the electrical connector and any hoses connected to it. Take note of the hoses’ positions to ensure proper reconnection later.

4. Testing with a Multimeter

Set your multimeter to the resistance (ohms) mode. Touch the multimeter probes to the electrical terminals on the purge valve. The positive probe should be connected to the valve’s terminal and the negative probe to a good ground, such as the vehicle’s chassis.

5. Interpreting the Multimeter Readings

As you measure the resistance, the multimeter will display a reading. Here are the different readings and their interpretations:

Normal Reading

A normal purge valve should show a low resistance reading, typically between 20 and 30 ohms. This indicates that the electrical circuit is functioning correctly.

No Reading

If the multimeter shows no reading or an infinite resistance (OL), it indicates an open circuit. This suggests that the purge valve is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Abnormal Reading

An abnormally high or erratic resistance reading could indicate a short circuit or internal damage within the purge valve. In such cases, replacing the valve is recommended.

Troubleshooting a Faulty Purge Valve

If you determine that your purge valve is faulty, here are a few troubleshooting steps you can take:

Cleaning or Replacing the Purge Valve

In some cases, the purge valve may be clogged or dirty, affecting its performance. Try cleaning it using an appropriate cleaner and retest it. If the problem persists, it’s advisable to replace the valve with a new one.

Reconnecting the Purge Valve

After cleaning or replacing the purge valve, reconnect the electrical connector and hoses, ensuring they are properly secured. Double-check the service manual or reference guides to ensure correct hose connections.


Testing the purge valve with a multimeter is a straightforward process that can help diagnose potential issues. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can determine whether your purge valve is faulty and take appropriate actions to rectify the problem. Regular maintenance and testing of the purge valve contribute to the overall performance and efficiency of your vehicle’s evaporative emissions system.


Can I test the purge valve without a multimeter?

  1. It’s recommended to use a multimeter for accurate testing of the purge valve. However, if a multimeter is not available, a visual inspection for any physical damage or clogging can provide some indications of a faulty valve.

Is it necessary to disconnect the battery before testing the purge valve?

  1. Disconnecting the battery is not necessary for testing the purge valve. However, it’s advisable to ensure the engine is turned off, and taking necessary safety precautions is advisable.

Can a faulty purge valve cause a decrease in fuel efficiency?

  1. Yes, a faulty purge valve can lead to decreased fuel efficiency as it affects the proper regulation of fuel vapors, resulting in inefficient combustion.

Can a faulty purge valve cause an engine stall?

  1. While a faulty purge valve may contribute to rough idling, it is less likely to cause engine stalling on its own. However, if the purge valve is severely malfunctioning, it can affect the overall performance of the engine.

Can I clean the purge valve, or should I seek professional help?

  1. Cleaning the purge valve can be done by an experienced DIY enthusiast. However, if you are uncertain or uncomfortable performing the task, it is recommended to consult a professional mechanic.

Is it possible to temporarily bypass a faulty purge valve?

  1. It is not advisable to bypass a faulty purge valve. The purge valve plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the evaporative emissions system, and bypassing it can lead to further complications and increased emissions.

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