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HOW TO CLEAN The MASS AIR FLOW SENSOR (MAF sensor)

In simple terms, the Mass air flow sensor measures air flow.  It tells your cars computer how much fuel to add based on the air flowing into your throttle body.

This sensor is CRUCIAL in your engine's performance so keeping it clean is a MUST.

 
For technical savvy people, I've listed the pins on the MAF sensor if you need to test yours to see if it's faulty. 

Basically you can run power to this little guy, blow air into it, and measure the resistance change by the MAF signal line with the sensor out of the car.

The way it works is there's a "hot wire" inside the sensor.  As air blows over this hot wire it cools it down.  The change in temperature changes the resistance.  This change in resistance is the information the computer reads which converts that data into AIR FLOW.

To clean your MAF sensor, take off the battery cover and battery vent.  Hopefull you can get past this because if you can't then I don't think you should be handling an expensive and fragile MAF sensor...
Two screws hold it into place.  First disconnect it from the wiring harness by pushing in PIN #1 and pulling on the connector.

The #1 reason for CAI problems is that the MAF sensor wires don't have enough slack and the connector gets damaged.  Don't put any stress on the wires that go into the connector!

Remove the rubber O-ring so you don't get any cleaning solution on it to dry it out.  Make sure you lube it up with some light oil or (rubber safe grease) before re-installing it in the MAF.  This will ensure an air tight seal.  Without an airtight seal, you may have a leak at the MAF and throw a CEL.

Choose your cleaner.  I use CRC Mass Air Flow sensor Cleaner!!  How convenient is that!!  You may also use brake parts cleaner.

Brake parts cleaner leaves no residue which means it's safe to use on your MAF.  You wouldn't want any oil or residue on your brakes now would you?

Here is the money shot.  You can GOOGLE search for days and not find a better shot of the hot wire and thermistor.

These TINY little guys are the part to be cleaned.

BLAST THEM.  Let the parts cleaner do the work. DO NOT SHOVE A Q-TIP in there or try to touch it with ANYTHING.

That little tear drop piece is NOT the MAF sensor.  If I remember it might be the intake air "pressure" sensor.

After giving it a good and thorough cleaning, rather than shake the MAF sensor vigorously, I gently move it up and down to let the cleaning fluid drip out.  Then I let the MAF sensor AIR dry.  If you impatient, then a hair dryer on low heat or a fan can speed things up.

Re-install the MAF sensor and make sure you put the O-ring back in.  WHen re-installing it is crucial that you seat the O-ring properly so it's not twisted or crooked.  I like to give the MAF sensor a twist and wiggle to make sure it's fully seated.

Then tighten the screw snug.  Don't torque them down or your strip the tiny threads.

Time to enjoy the better air/fuel ratio and increased fuel economy!!!

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Last modified: 03/24/10