How to Clean a Mass Air Flow Sensor

mass air flow sensor clean service maf

A mass air flow sensor (MAF) is used to measure the air flow that enters the engine at any given RPM range and is monitored by the vehicle's computer to make adjustments to the fuel delivery and ignition timing.

What goes wrong?

When the MAF is in operation intake air from the engine passes through it which has impurities which are not removed by the air filter such as heavy air practical's. Over time these impurities cause a condition called "coking" which develops on the sensor "hotwire" which inhibits the sensor's ability to send accurate feedback data to the computer which can cause low power, low idle, hesitation and even stalling.

How much does it cost?

To have a cleaning service performed at a local repair garage or dealer the cost can range from $80.00 and $240.00 depending on manufacturer and the sensor location. If you were to do the service yourself using simple tools a shop towel and a can of MAF cleaner from your local parts store it would run about $15.00 which is all that is needed. The job usually takes about 20 minutes. (Note: do not use carburetor cleaner or any other cleaner due to the residue that is left behind).

Let's get started!

Open the vehicles hood to locate the engine's mass air flow sensor which is located either at the air filter housing or somewhere in the intake tube.
mass air flow sensor

 Release the wiring connector to the sensor by pressing down on the safety and pulling the connector away from the sensor.
remove maf connector

Loosen and remove the mounting screws or clamps.
removing maf mounting screws

Carefully lift the sensor from the housing while taking note of the sensor's orientation.
mass air flow sensor removed

Locate the sensor element
mass air flow element

Watch the Video!

Please watch this video of the job being done, then continue down the guide to glean additional helpful information.

Use MAF cleaner to thoroughly clean the element and allow to dry while using a shop towel to wipe away any remaining residue. (Note: do not touch the element)
cleaning mass air flow element

Gently reinstall the sensor back into the air intake tube or air filter housing.
reinstalling mass air flow sensor

Reinsert mounting screws and tighten to specification (usually hand tight).
installing mass air flow mounting screws

Reinsert the sensor electrical connector to complete the job. Start the engine and allow the computer to recalculate the new feedback data and make necessary adjustments. This service should be performed within an engine tune up.
reconnecting mass air flow electrical connector


Our certified technicians are ready to answer mass air flow cleaning questions for free. We hope you saved money and learned from this guide. We are creating a full set of car repair guides. Please subscribe to our 2CarPros YouTube channel and check back often for new videos which are uploaded regularly.

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