What is a purge control valve?

Written by justin chacos
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What is a purge control valve?
The evaporative emissions system prevents the escape of fuel vapour into the atmosphere. (gas pump image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com)

All vehicles have a purge control valve as part of the evaporative emissions system. Depending on vehicle manufacturer, it may be called a purge valve, purge solenoid valve or simply purge solenoid.


The Environmental Protection Agency was given the power to regulate automobile pollutants with the 1970 Clean Air Act. This authority and subsequent regulation led to the development of automobile evaporative emissions systems.


The fuel in a car's tank continuously evaporates, converting to a combustible vapour. To prevent its escape, the evaporative emissions system stores the vapour in a charcoal canister until the engine is started. Once started, the engine will siphon it from the canister so that it may be burnt during normal engine operation.


The purge control valve closes to prevent the vapour from reaching the engine when it is turned off. When the engine is started and is ready to receive the canister's contents, the purge control valve opens to allow the vapour flow.

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