Warning! Pay Attention to These Bad MAF Sensor Symptoms

What’s the function of the mass airflow (MAF) sensor in a car? Well, it plays a vital role in helping an automobile to maintain its fuel-air ratio. It gauges the volume of air entering the engine and sends that information to the Engine Control Unit (ECU). Based on that piece of information, the ECU determines the amount of gas that fuel injectors need to send to each of the cylinders. You should be careful about bad MAF sensor symptoms because a little malfunction in this device leads to poor engine performance.

3 Most Common Bad MAF Sensor Symptoms

A MAF sensor needs to run properly because the ECU needs information about the amount of air in the engine. Fortunately, detecting bad MAF sensor symptoms is not rocket science. Just be alert for these common symptoms:

1. The car runs rich at idling or lean when running

Hot-wire MAF sensor is the most commonly used sensor. A contamination of the wire will insulate it and will not allow it work properly; hence, it will send inaccurate information to the car’s computer. As a result, the engine will run rich at idle and lean when it is running. A change in fuel economy is the only way to detect that there are some problems with the hot wire.

symptom of bad mass air flow sensor
You have to clean the MAF if it’s dirty.

If the wire is just dirty, caused by dirt from the oil or spider webs, cleaning it will solve the issue.

2. Engine continuously runs rich or lean

It’s another common symptom of bad mass airflow sensor and it happens when the wire is deformed or there is a damage to the device’s electrical components. The engine runs rich or lean because the sensor frequently sends reports that are either higher or lower than the actual airflow. There is no solution for a damaged sensor but to replace it. The same glitch can be the outcome of an issue with the engine control system. So, diagnose it if the MAF sensor turns out to be fine.

In fact, it is hard to detect this symptom of bad mass airflow sensor when the control system runs smoothly. You have to look into a change in the mileage to spot this issue.

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3. Engine idles roughly or halts

These are the bad MAF sensor symptoms that indicate that the sensor is completely out of order. In that case, the car’s computer cannot control the fuel-to-air ratio because the sensor does not send any information to it. As a result, the engine either halts or idles roughly. Replacing the MAF sensor is the only solution to this complication.

bad maf sensor symptoms
The engine will stop when the sensor fails. Source: Shutterstock

How to tell if your Mass Air Flow Sensor is bad? Let’s check out the video below:

How to Clean a MAF Sensor?

When the sensor is just dirty, cleaning it up will bring order into a disruptive engine system. You can do it yourself by opening the car’s airbox and removing the sensor. Clean it with rubbing alcohol MAF sensor cleaner. Put it back into its place when it is completely dry. Be careful not to damage the wires when removing and reinstalling the sensor.

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