Buying Guide: Mass Air Flow Sensor


Mass Flow Sensor also termed as Mass Airflow  sensor, airflow, or a MAF.MAF systems are a crucial component of the fuel injection system. It lies between the intake manifold and the air filter. These systems play a critical role in checking the amount of air entering within the system. You would come across several types of MAF sensors in the market, among which the hot wire sensor is commonly installed in present-day systems.

How Exactly Does a MAF Sensor Work?

MAF sensors measure the airflow within the engine since a lot of air flows through them. Surprisingly,9000 liters of air can pass for every fuel used by the vehicle. This means a huge quantity of air passes through them and also brings a lot of contaminants with them. Accumulation of dirt and debris is the leading cause of MAF sensor failure.

This contamination occurs even after driving the vehicle after the vehicle has covered 18000-25000 miles. The small vehicles clog quite often as they are located in small engine areas. In such cases, the car undergoes long drain vehicle service and service style repair.

Symptoms of Bad MAF Sensor


Just like other car parts, an MAF sensor undergoes wear and tear. If you suspect the following symptoms, know that your Mass Air Flow sensor has gone bad, and it’s time to buy a MAF sensor:

Check Engine Light On

The computer will reveal issues with the mass airflow sensors, also known as Powertrain Control Module(PCM). These systems inspect the check engine light and store a code(Diagnostic Trouble Code) in their memory. These codes are generally P100 and P0103. These powertrain control modules also reveal other code information, such as air is to fuel imbalance or an engine misfire.

Roughly Moving and Misfiring

The inability to receive an accurate signal won’t give the MAF sensor the idea of the amount of fuel to be given to the engine. This makes the engine fuel-rich or deficit. As an outcome, the combustion process will still remain incomplete. As a consequence, the engine starts running rough and misfires. It is vital to get the MAF sensor inspected and get an idea of the mass airflow sensor cost before making the buying decision.

Lacking Acceleration, Hesitation, and Stalling

A bad Mass Airflow Sensor would demand more fuel from the PCM of the vehicle. When such things take place, there might be issues while accelerating the vehicle. A faulty MAF leads to hesitation and stalling.

Minimized Fuel Economy

A faulty MAF would hamper the engine’s performance resulting in a reduction in the efficiency of the fuel.

How to Detect a Problematic MAF Sensor?


Testing and inspecting a MAF sensor would be the best course of action. However, know the mass airflow sensor cost in case of serious issues and buy a new one. Below are the ways to detect the problematic MAF sensor:

Have a Glance at Diagnostic Trouble Codes

If the check engine light is on, determine the diagnostic trouble codes using a scan tool or code reader. You can invest in an inexpensive trouble code reader.

Note: At times, checking the codes in older vehicles OBD-1 becomes difficult.

Get a Visual Inspection

Visual inspection is the next thing one must plan during the diagnosis. The main thing to be checked here is the damaged wires and poor connections. Ensure that a clean and tight electrical connection is established between MAF sensors. Fixing the issues is a better approach and try clearing the DTCs if the problem comes back.

Testing of the MAF Sensor

The testing process of the MAF sensor involves several tricks. The hot wire sensors generate analog signals during the testing phase while the hot film ones give a square wave digital frequency pattern.

The data pattern is generally calibrated as gms per second. The testing is performed as follows:

  • Start finding the airflow parameter(PID) on the scan tool.
  • Turn on the engine and set it to optimum temperature and leave it the way it is. As the engine works, check the PID.
  • In the idle stage, the airflow rate should have the same value as the size of the engine. For instance, if the airflow rate of the engineer is calibrated as 1.8 L, the size must be 1.8 gms.

Testing Using Oscilloscope

Testing is performed using a digital multimeter, oscilloscope, or by incorporating frequency setting. You can see the direct signal via an oscilloscope. You need a back probe test lead and connect it to the MAF signal wire. Connect the positive one to the MAF sensor signal wire while the negative one with the ground. Check the manual wire to determine which one is the MAF signal wire.

Turn the scope on and perform some settings, start the engine and note the results at idle.

Can you Drive with a Bad MAF Sensor?


In some cases, you’ll still be able to drive with a bad MAF sensor. It is better to address the issues in a worst-case scenario, determine the MAF sensor cost & replace it. A problematic MAF sensor would damage other parts, such as a catalytic converter. Cars won’t operate in case of a failed MAF sensor, and at times the engine would function but poorly, thereby making driving difficult.

How to Replace a Bad MAF Sensor?

The process of replacement is performed as per the vehicle.It is usually carried out in the following ways:

  • Before starting the process, put on your safety glasses.
  • Start finding the MAF sensor lying between the air filter assembly and the throttle’s body.
  • Disable the electrical connection of the MAF sensor.
  • With the help of a screwdriver, try to lose the clamps of air intake ducts.
  • Compare the old part with new to ensure that they are similar.
  • Install new MAF into the air intake duct.
  • Tighten the clamps of the air intake duct using a screwdriver.
  • Reconnect the parts using MAF electrical connector.

Where to Buy Quality MAF Sensor From?

Automobile stores are flooded with several MAF sensor options. Choosing an appropriate MAF sensor based on your vehicle is a hassle for many. Go for the ones offering durable and inexpensive MAF sensors to you.’ The Auto Parts Shop is the only store that brings the best airflow sensor and other car parts & accessories to you.

Wrapping Up

If the MAF sensor has gone bad, identify the root cause and replace it with a new one.

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