You may have heard of a “MAF sensor” before, but do you know what it is? No, it’s not a small calculator in your engine that will let you do quick maths while you drive – it’s actually an important component for your engine to run properly.
The mass airflow sensor is a round tunnel made of plastic with a sensor attached inside. All vehicles take air from the outside and pass it into the engine through the air filter. The mass airflow sensor is responsible for measuring the quantity of air entering the engine. For an engine to perform properly, it needs a specific ratio of air-fuel mixture. The computer in the car reads the amount of air coming into the engine from the mass airflow sensor, and then calculates the correct amount of fuel needed for proper engine performance. If the sensor goes bad, the engine will not know the right amount of fuel to add, causing problems such as poor gas mileage, lack of power, and more.
It is common for the mass airflow sensor to get dirty, especially if the air filter is dirty, and lose the ability to read the amount of air coming into the engine. If vacuum hoses are leaking, your check engine light will most likely give the same error code as mass airflow sensor failure.
When doing this job, the mechanic may recommend changing the electrical connector that connects the mass airflow sensor to the car’s computer system. It is possible for the wires in the connector to break, causing the mass airflow sensor to not work.
Routinely changing your air filter can improve the lifespan of your mass airflow sensor. Often mass airflow sensors stop working because of bad connectors or wiring harnesses. Anytime the mass airflow sensor is replaced, the air duct between the sensor and the intake manifold should be inspected. Changing the air filter on a regular basis will ensure that the car is getting cleaner air and hence performing optimally. A mechanic should always inspect the vacuum hoses and snorkel attached to the mass airflow sensor when replacing it. It is possible for these items to have leaks. Replacing the sensor without fixing the leaks will not solve the problem.
Here are some common symptoms that indicate that your mass airflow sensor may need replacement:
Check engine light is on.
Car is lacking power.
Diminished fuel economy
Car may not start.
In order to run optimally, your vehicle needs to have the correct fuel-to-air ratio. As the vehicle is moving, an uncontrollable amount of air enters the throttle body and the intake manifold. As such, the fuel has to be adjusted to be optimal for the amount of air. The mass airflow sensor measures the amount air that is entering the vehicle, and sends the information to the car’s computer. This system then controls the amount of fuel that is injected into the cylinders, so that the ideal fuel-to-air ratio is achieved. When the mass airflow sensor stops working, the computer cannot receive information on the air intake, and the fuel-to-air ratio will be wrong. This will cause your engine to run poorly, and sometimes not at all. It will also reduce your gas mileage.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a faulty MAF sensor, bring your car in today to Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach, CA.