How to Replace a Mass Air Flow Sensor on Your Car
Cars that have an electronic fuel injection system will have a device called Mass Airflow Sensor. It feeds the car’s...
Cars that have an electronic fuel injection system will have a device called Mass Airflow Sensor. It feeds the car’s computer with information so that only the right amounts of air will get mixed with the fuel. Problems with the MAF sensor can bring about a number of performance-related issues like stalling and difficulty starting. A permanent solution to fix these issues is by replacing the device itself. You’ll be glad to know that replacing this device is easy. Here’s how to replace mass air flow sensor.
The Importance of the MAF Sensor
Let us first try to understand why replacing the MAF sensor will bring good to your car. This sensor keeps track of the mass or amount of air that flows from the air box and into the engine. Most sensors employ a hot wire anemometer inside the device. The car’s electrical system heats up this element. The air that flows through it cools the element down. To compensate, the car will keep delivering electric current to maintain the temperature of the anemometer.
The amount of electric current is proportional to the amount of air that flows over a given period of time. This allows the car’s powertrain control module to have an idea of how much air is flowing. This also allows it to regulate the amount of fuel that gets injected into the combustion chambers.
Problems with the air flow sensor can lead to issues in engine performance. There can be stalling or difficulty starting the engine. You can also experience hesitation and lack of power. In most cases, there is very poor fuel economy.
The MAF sensor is important because it tells the engine’s computer the amount of air entering. This allows the computer to make very fine adjustments in the delivery of fuel to achieve the correct ratio of fuel and air.
How to Replace the MAF Sensor
Replacing the MAF sensor is a straightforward process. Here are the steps:
- Determine the location of the MAF sensor
Most vehicles will have this device located between the air filter and the engine. As such, you can follow the large hose that connects the air filter to your engine. You will notice a PVC tube-like fitting right before the throttle body. This is the housing for the air flow sensor. You will also see several electric wires that connect to a plug in the housing. To be sure, you can check the owner’s manual.
- Get ready with the materials
Mass air flow sensor replacement requires that you have a new sensor already at hand. Make sure that it is the correct device for the make, model, and trim of your vehicle. If you’re on a budget, you can look for a reconditioned MAF sensor for about $50 to $80. Brand new parts will sell for about $100 to $400. The price depends on the make of your car. Expect high-end, luxury cars to have more expensive MAF sensors than your run-of-the-mill Japanese compacts. You will also need a wrench, a pair of work gloves, and a screwdriver.
- Prepare to remove the mass airflow sensor
Always start with the mass air flow sensor replacement by disconnecting the car’s electrical system. You can do this by removing the electrical harness from the negative post of the battery.
Check the electric harness on the side of the device. You should see a small tab on the side of the connector. Grab the connector and squeeze the tab. Pull the connector from its socket. Do not pull the wires as they can break. It would be ideal to use a pair of gloves that have rubberized coating. This will help provide a firmer grip on the connector.
- Remove the MAF sensor
Look at the clamp that secures the sensor to the air filter and the intake pipe. You should see a screw that fastens the clamp. Use a screwdriver to loosen the clamp, allowing you to remove the mass air flow sensor.
Do take note that different MAF sensors have different ways in which they are secured. There are vehicles that use an adapter plate. This connects to the air box. The plate often has a set of screws that you need to unfasten. There are also sensors that have clamps that secure the device to the intake pipe.
You can also double-check the service manual of your car. You should see instructions on how to remove and how to replace mass air flow sensor.
Once removed, compare the device to the one that you are going to replace it with. The connections should be similar. Otherwise, you will have problems securing the new air flow sensor into your car.
- Connect the new MAF sensor
Make sure to follow the instructions on how to replace mass air flow sensor. Keep in mind that the device will have two important sides. One will face the engine and the other will connect to the air box. Slide the device into the intake pipe of your vehicle. Secure it by fastening the clamp.
Connect the other side of the sensor to the hose that comes from the air box. You may have to clamp it or secure the plate with the appropriate bolts. Everything depends on the type of vehicle that you have.
When connecting the new mass air flow sensor, be very careful not to touch the sensor element. It is a very delicate piece of technology. So, be very cautious when handling the sensor.
- Reconnect the electrical system
You can reconnect the electrical system of your car once you have secured the new sensor in place. Get the female connector of the electrical harness. Slide it into the male connector in the MAF sensor. Push it firmly. Listen for a ‘click’. This will indicate that the connector is already locked into its correct position.
Reconnect the electrical harness on the negative terminal of the battery. Double check everything. This completes your mass air flow sensor replacement.
Mass air flow sensor replacement is very easy to accomplish. One only needs the correct tools and materials for the job. If all goes well, you can have a new MAF sensor in under 15 minutes.