In modern emissions control systems, there is a secondary air injection system which delivers air to the exhaust system, while at the same time preventing exhaust fumes from escaping into the atmosphere. This not only reduces pollution; it improves gas mileage. The air pump check valve is typically located near the top of the engine, on the passenger side, and it is what regulates the process.

Although this component is used every time that you drive, here is no specific life expectancy for an air pump check valve, but like most electronic components in your vehicle, it can fail – it could become deteriorated or corroded, or damaged due to heat from the engine. The air pump check valve could conceivably last the life of your vehicle, or it could go bad and need to be replaced.

Signs that your air pump check valve needs to be replaced include:

  • Check Engine Light is on
  • Vehicle does not pass emissions testing

You will not notice anything significant in the way of vehicle performance, and you can continue to drive with a bad air pump check valve. However, you will be delivering pollutants into the atmosphere, so if you think that your air pump check valve may need to be diagnosed, we urge you to visit a qualified mechanic and have the air pump check valve replaced.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Air Pump Check Valve Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


Share This Photo X