4 Tips for Cleaning a Mass Air Flow Sensor

Cleaning amass air flow (MAF) sensor tips can help to improve the performance of your engine. The MAF is a key component in vehicles that use an electronic fuel injection system. It measures the flow of air into the engine. The engine uses this information to determine the correct amount of fuel required by the cylinders to enable optimum combustion and low emissions. When the air filter is damaged or not properly set in place, it results in a dirty air flow sensor. You may spot some dirt or grime on the sensor. This affects the performance of your vehicle. There may be a decline in power or the ride may not be as smooth as you’re accustomed to. Lower gas mileage is also possible. Below are 4 tips to help you get your air flow sensor clean.

1. Disassembling and Reassembling

Be sure to turn off the ignition before you remove the sensor. This will prevent a trouble code from being stored in the engine computer. In some vehicles, it may take quite a while before this code clears. The sensor model varies from vehicle to vehicle. However, it helps if you mark the various attachment areas on the sensor as you remove. This will help you to reassemble faster and in the right order.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

This is a simple yet effective solution that will get your air flow sensor clean. Fill a zip lock bag with 70/30 isopropyl alcohol. Place the sensor in the bag and zip. Shake the bag thoroughly to allow the alcohol to reach all parts of the sensor. Leave the sensor in the bag for about 30 minutes to facilitate effective removal of dirt and grime. Remove from the bag and place on a towel in a dry area. Allow 1 hour or longer for the sensor to air dry before you reinstall. Be sure it dries completely otherwise the fluid can damage your engine.

3. MAF Sensor Cleaning Sprays

Obtain a special MAF cleaner or electrical component cleaner from an auto parts or electronics store. Lay a clean towel on a work surface and place the sensor on the towel. Spray the cleaner all round the sensor. It is best to hold the spray 2 feet away from the sensor when you spray. This helps to prevent damage to the delicate wires. Be sure to spray the crevices and other restricted areas. Allow the sensor adequate time to dry completely before you reinstall.

4. Cleaning Products to Avoid

If not handled carefully, your MAF sensor can easily get damaged. Certain solvents leave a residue on the delicate air flow sensor wires. This can damage the sensor’s electronic components. Do not use gasoline or cleaning sprays meant for the brakes or carburetor. If the rubbing alcohol or special MAF cleaner doesn’t remove all the dirt, try compressed air. Spray directly on the dirt to clear the build-up. Do not use brushes and cotton swabs to clear the dirt.