How To Test The EGR Valve (1996 2.2L Buick Century And Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera)

The linear EGR valve on the 1996 2.2L Buick Century and 2.2L Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera is an electronic EGR valve.

The cool thing is you can easily test it to determine if it's good or bad without a scan tool.

In this tutorial, I'll explain how to test the EGR valve with a multimeter in a few easy tests.

You'll quickly and easily determine if the electronic EGR valve is good or bad.

In Spanish You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar La Válvula EGR (1996 2.2L Buick Century, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera) (at:

APPLIES TO: This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:

  • 2.2L Buick Century: 1996.
  • 2.2L Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera: 1996.

Symptoms Of A Bad EGR Valve

Depending on the type of failure the EGR system suffers, you'll notice an engine performance problem or nothing other than the check engine light indicating an EGR valve trouble code stored in the computer's memory.

You'll see one or more of the following EGR valve diagnostic trouble codes:

  • P0401 EGR System Flow Insufficient.
  • P1406 EGR Valve Pintle Position.

You'll also see one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Rough idle.
  • Really bad gas mileage.
  • Lack of power as you accelerate the vehicle down the road.
  • Vehicle seems to run OK above 30 miles and hour but once you come to an idle, the engine barely stays running.
  • Vehicle runs great, just the annoying check engine light is on with one of the above diagnostic trouble codes stored in the PCM's memory.

EGR Valve Connector Circuits

The EGR valve connector has five wires sticking out of it. To successfully diagnose the EGR valve, we need to know what each one does.

The following table has a brief description of each:

Wire Color Description
A Grey (GRY) EGR Valve Control
B Black (BLK) Sensor Ground
C Brown (BRN) EGR Pintle Position Signal
D Grey (GRY) 5 Volts
E Pink (PNK) 12 Volts

Where To Buy The EGR Valve And Save

The following links will help you to comparison shop for the linear EGR valve of known automotive brands (no knock-off EGR valves):

Not sure if the above EGR valve fits your particular vehicle? Don't worry, once you get to the site they'll make sure it fits by asking you the specifics of your particular vehicle. If it doesn't fit, they'll find you the right one.

TEST 1: EGR Pintle Position Signal Test

EGR Pintle Position Signal Test. How To Test The EGR Valve (1996 2.2L Buick Century And Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera)

The EGR valve has a pintle position sensor that keeps track of the pintle's position as it moves up or down.

You and I can access the pintle position voltage signal with a multimeter to check its output value.

For our first test, we'll check that the pintle position voltage signal is within a specified range with the key in the ON position but with the engine OFF.

IMPORTANT: To perform this test, the EGR valve must remain connected to its pigtail connector. To access the signal within the wire, you'll need to back probe the connector or use a wiring piercing probe on the wire. You can see an example of this tool here: Wire Piercing Probe.

These are the test steps:

  1. 1

    Place your multimeter in Volts DC mode.

  2. 2

    Connect the red multimeter test lead to the brown (BRN) wire.

    The BRN wire connects to the terminal with the letter C.

    NOTE: The EGR valve must remain connected to its pigtail connector to read the pintle position voltage signal.

  3. 3

    Connect the black multimeter test lead to battery negative (-) terminal.

  4. 4

    Turn the key to the ON position but don't crank or start the engine.

  5. 5

    Your multimeter should display a voltage reading between 0.6 to 0.9 Volts DC.

Let's interpret your test results:

CASE 1: The multimeter registered 0.6 to 0.9 Volts DC. This is the correct and expected test result and it tells you that the EGR valve pintle is in the correct position (not stuck open).

Your next step is to go to: TEST 2: EGR Pintle Position Sensor Performance Test.

CASE 2: The multimeter displayed a DC voltage above 0.9 Volts. This test result usually indicates the pintle is stuck open.

To investigate this further, go to: TEST 7: Checking For Carbon Build Up.

CASE 3: The multimeter DID NOT display any voltage or a very low voltage. This test result usually indicates that the EGR valve is bad.

To investigate this further, your next step is check the EGR valve pintle position sensor's performance. For this test go to: TEST 2: EGR Pintle Position Sensor Performance Test.

Buick Vehicles:

  • Century 2.2L
    • 1996

Oldsmobile Vehicles:

  • Cutlass Ciera 2.2L
    • 1996