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MAF sensor clean

What is a MAF sensor clean?

A Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF sensor) is an important device used on fuel injected vehicles. It’s a sensor that reads the air volume entering the engine. The MAF sensor sends data to the ECU so it can calculate how much fuel to deliver, making sure the correct air-fuel mixture is maintained for best combustion.

The MAF sensor is situated between the air filter and the intake manifold and typically uses wires to determine how much air is flowing. It does this by reading how much energy is required to keep one of the wires hot, as air passes. When the engine is idling there is less airflow so less energy is needed to keep the wire hot and when there is high airflow, more energy is used to maintain heat in the wire.

As you can imagine, when the MAF sensor gets dirty it usually shows signs that it needs to be cleaned, however, sometimes the problem isn’t always obvious, so a scan tool check is a great way to isolate a MAF sensor issue.

How to tell if you need a MAF sensor clean

  • Scan tool identifies a MAF sensor issue
  • Stalling
  • Changes in automatic transmission shifting
  • Car won’t start
  • Check engine light comes on
  • Loss of power
  • Overall poor driveability

How important is it to get a MAF sensor clean done?

If the MAF sensor fails and it can’t measure the airflow correctly, the incorrect amount of fuel will be delivered to the injectors. As shown above, this can impact the drivability of the vehicle and over the long term can cause engine damage. Engines don’t like to run lean or rich. It’s good practice to have the MAF sensor cleaned as part of regular maintenance or when issues arise, for reliability, performance and engine longevity.

MAF sensor clean

How is a MAF sensor clean carried out

A qualified mechanic is trained in how to clean a MAF sensor and is recommended to do this job. The mechanic will locate the MAF sensor, unscrew/unclip from place and remove it. They will apply a mass airflow sensor cleaner to the sensor, let it sit and then refit into place. 

MAF sensors are fragile as they have delicate wires that can be easily damaged. If it breaks the MAF sensor it will need to be replaced. Using the correct cleaner is also important so the dirt is removed without causing any damage to the sensor.

How much does a MAF sensor clean cost?

The cost to clean a MAF sensor will depend on the location of the sensor in the car and how long the job takes, it might cost around $40 - $100 and if the sensor is damaged or faulty you will need to get it replaced, which will be an additional cost.

Where can you get a MAF sensor clean?

Any qualified mechanic can carry out this task at a service centre or a mobile mechanic might be more convenient if the car isn’t driving well. AutoGuru has local mechanics available to compare and book for a MAF sensor clean or to get a scan tool check.