How to tell your mass air flow sensor has gone bad.
So there's a check engine light on your instrument panel, and you don't know how it got there. At least, you didn't at first. You may have noticed your car running lean or rich, vastly impacting your gas mileage and lowering performance. A very likely explanation for this is a failed mass air flow (MAF) sensor. When this part goes, it could lead to other more serious issues than just bad gas mileage. Your engine could stall or develop a knock (early detonation). Obviously, this is not desirable. So, if your check engine light is on, get it checked by an OBD-II reader so you can determine if your air mass meter needs to be replaced. Sometimes it just needs to be cleaned with special contact cleaner. If that is the case, it will be significantly easier and less expensive than getting a new one. But if that is not an option for you, then you will definitely need to get a replacement MAF sensor as soon as possible. If not for the sake of your engine, do it at least so you will pass your next emissions test.
Why does your engine need a MAF sensor?
As fuel-injection became more and more popular, so grew the necessity to finely tune and deliver an optimum amount of air to the throttle body so it could mix with the liquid fuel and provide reliable combustion. And, since automakers knew that the mass, volume, and density of air that flowed through the intake would vary, the on-board computers needed a reliable way to measure those variations and deliver a complementary amount of fuel through the injectors. This new device would be an air mass meter. There are two major types: vane and hot wire. A vane sensor measures the speed and volume of air as it passes through a flapper and variable resistor. It uses drag to determine the mass of intake air. A hot wire air flow sensor relies on the intake air flow to cool a heated coil. As the coil cools, the electrical resistance drops. Your car's ECU uses a calculation to determine the passing air mass by the change in the current passing through that particular circuit.
Very simple D.I.Y. instructions.
Changing your faulty air flow sensor is super easy. Depending on the type of sensor (hot wire and vane are most common) it could be slightly tricky, but almost anyone with simple mechanical skills can do the job. The first step is determining its location. Check near the front of your engine bay for the intake resonator box. The air mass meter will usually be screwed into a solid plastic tube connected to the throttle body by a rubber boot. Sometimes the sensor can be removed by itself, sometimes it takes removing the entire tube. Either way, a screwdriver or pair of pliers can usually get it off. Remember to unplug the wire harness connector first. Once you have removed the mass air flow sensor, you can simply replace it with a new one. If the element (either a coil or flap) is exposed, do not to touch it. Lastly, a re-learn procedure may be required in order for your ECU to identify the new sensor and clear your check engine light. That may need to be done at a special shop that can read the OBD-II port.
Top quality parts, bottom basement prices.
When it comes to replacement mass air flow sensors, it is absolutely critical that you use quality parts. Only the best brands and top manufacturers should be trusted to help manage your air/fuel delivery, because these parts need to last. We carry new and rebuilt mass air flow sensors for most fuel-injected cars, and can ship your order the same or the next day. Not only is our shipping quick, but our prices are super low as well. That means if you have to replace your air mass meter, you're not looking down the barrel of a long, expensive job. Just great parts, fast delivery, and low prices.