How to Clean a Mass Airflow Sensor

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A dirty mass airflow (MAF) sensor has a direct impact on engine operation and fuel efficiency. Contamination of the sensor keeps the sensor from telling your car computer the amount of air entering the intake system. Consequently, your engine's computer is unable to determine the proper amount of air and fuel at any given time. However, you can fix the problem by following this guide to get your MAF sensor back in operating condition in a few minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard screwdriver Phillips screwdriver Ratchet and socket set Electrical component cleaner or MAF sensor cleaner
  • Move your car to a secure flat area. Lift the hood and disconnect the black, negative battery cable.

  • Find the mass airflow sensor on the air cleaner assembly. You should see a wire connector coming out of the back of the sensor, close to the air filter box. Unplug the sensor electrical connector by pressing the lock tab and separate the connector from the harness. Then remove the two mounting screws holding the MAF sensor to the air cleaner assembly.

  • Remove the air cleaner assembly if you are unable to pull the sensor free from the assembly. You may need to remove the clamps and mounting screws that connect the system to the engine and engine compartment depending on your particular vehicle model. Use a screwdriver or ratchet and socket.

  • Separate the sensor from the air cleaner assembly.

  • Place the sensor on a clean shop towel. Use electronic parts cleaner or Mass Air Flow sensor cleaner to spray the sensing elements and use a soft brush to remove dirt and other contaminants until the sensor is completely clean. Be very careful not to damage the MAF sensing elements. Let it air dry for a few minutes.

  • Install the sensor on the air cleaner assembly and install the assembly. Plug the MAF sensor electrical connector and connect the black, negative battery cable.

Tips & Warnings

  • To identify or locate components, consult your owner's manual or vehicle service manual. You can buy one at most auto parts stores or consult one for free at most public libraries. You can buy electrical component cleaner at any electronic parts stores. Most auto parts stores carry mass airflow sensor cleaner as well.

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  • Photo Credit Photo courtesy of Jeff3205 at Wikipedia.org.
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