How to Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor with Alcohol

Car owners all acknowledge that their cars have various types of sensors. However, the type of sensor we are talking about today is the mass airflow sensor. It is quite difficult to tell exactly what to do, yet we can briefly inform you. The mass airflow sensor measures the amount of air coming into the engine. Along with that, the information is calculated how much gas is sent into the engine. Therefore car owners can have the proper air and gas ratio. 

In order to find the car part, the mass airflow sensor is installed under the hood. However, this position means the sensor can get dirty over time. And this leads to many consequences. One of them causes car owners to not control their vehicles the right way. Nevertheless, it can easily be fixed by cleaning the mass airflow sensor. This part can be clean many times and drivers don’t have to worry about buying a new one. But how can we do it?

In order to answer the question of how to clean mass air flow sensor with alcohol, our car experts will guide you all the necessary steps car owners need. After reading this 101 guideline, drivers can surely be able to clean your mass airflow sensor by themselves. 

The Tools and Supplies

The first thing we need in order to answer the question of how to clean mass air flow sensor with alcohol is, of course, alcohol. For that reason, choosing the right alcohol is by far one of the most crucial steps, if not the most important one. Car owners do not need to prepare any fancy stuff. In fact, it is actually quite easy if you follow this guideline closely.

There are many different combinations, however, our list of tools and supplies will be: 

  1. Isopropyl Alcohol
  2. A shop rag (or paper towel is fine as well)
  3. A clean spray bottle
  4. A tool to remove the sensor (whatever you want)
  5. A stick (to hold the car’s hood)
  6. A manual book of your vehicle

In this list, you might want to keep an eye on the alcohol and the bottle. We want the alcohol use for cleaning is exactly isopropyl, no other type allowed. The main reason why we cannot use other types of cleaning alcohol is that they either cannot clean the sensor from grim and build up or might damage them instead.

Along with that, it needs to be a clean squirt bottle. Our explanation for this is that an old, dirty bottle could have dirt and impurities inside. And if you are using it, you are most likely adding more dirt inside the sensor instead of cleaning it. Not to mention, 

And that is it, now you are ready to clean the mass air flow sensor. 

The Guideline of How to Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor with Alcohol

Locate the Sensor

First and foremost, we cannot answer the question of how to clean mass air flow sensor with alcohol, without being able to find where the sensor is. So after having all the supplies and tools together, locating the mass air flow sensor is the next crucial step. Most of the time, the sensor is under the hood of your vehicle. Car owners might need to pop the hood first, then you can manage to find the lever, which is located under the dash area, to do the cleaning. 

The hood is the part that we need to keep opened so it cannot fall and smash our fingers. So grab your stick that we mentioned above to put up the hood. Now car owners can locate the mass air flow sensor in peace. 

If your car can hold the hood by itself, then the stick is unnecessary (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Normally, car owners can find the sensor around the air filter area. However, if you cannot find it, it is time to take a look at the automobile’s manual. The manual is the best friend of every car owner, since they will tell exactly where the car part is.   

One more thing, when checking your sensor, we need to notice the sensor and car battery. These two are essential components of your vehicle and we need to recharge the car for them to work properly. 

Take The Sensor Off

Alright, you must have found the air flow sensor by now. The following step is to remove the sensor. Without a doubt, you can clean it when it is inside. However, the job will be much easier if car owners remove it from the vehicle. In order to take the sensor off, the driver can gently unplug the connections or cords, then slowly pull it out.  

In various automobiles, you will need a special tool in order to take the sensor off. So if you cannot remove it by hand, you might need to check the car manual book. It will tell car owners how to remove the air flow sensor, and if there is a special tool to perform this task, it will also be mentioned there.

Clean the Sensor

Another step when taking the air flow sensor out is to clean it, and the process is actually simple. However, before beginning the cleaning task, car owners are recommended to cover all the wires and cords coming from the sensor. We don’t want any unfortunate things to occur, and getting the wires or cords wet is one of them. If they do, the alcohol might damage the sensor, as well as short them out. 


So after covering them carefully, car owners can now spray the sensor by using the Isopropyl Alcohol. Drivers should use the bottle to avoid touching the sensor by any other things. Any unintentional touch can give false readings and damage. And of course you don’t need to rub off the sensors since the alcohol will remove the grim by itself. Be sure to get the isopropyl alcohol into the grannies as well as the nooks on the air flow sensor. These are the parts that need to be cleaned the most.

Dry the Sensor

Once car owners are sure that the sensor is totally clean, it is time to let it dry. Many new drivers use the air blower to speed up the process. However, this might destroy the sensor. Instead, we want the sensor to be air dry naturally, and the shop rag or paper towel is needed.

Car owners should leave the clean mass air flow sensor somewhere that it will not get blown away or knocked down. Also, it needs to be a clean place so the sensor does not get dirt or debris on it. Our recommendation is to put a plastic container over it. Doing this will protect the sensor from debris and other kinds of dirt.

The sensor is actually essential for automobile (Photo Source: Pixabay)

This step needs patience, since you want it to completely dry naturally. If car owners try to reconnect the mass air flow sensor while it is wet, it causes harm to your car’s engine. Not only it gives false readings, it also damages the sensor as well as the whole car. So we suggest letting it dry for about one hour or more. 

Re-install the Sensor

Last but certainly not least, we need to reconnect the mass air flow sensor. Once car owners make sure the sensor is completely dry, the re-installing process is active. This is by far the most easy step since you already know the location of the sensor. Remember that if you use a special tool to remove the sensor, you need to use that exact tool with the purpose of plugging it back in.  

In Conclusion

After reading this article, car owners now understand how to clean mass air flow sensor with alcohol. Along with that, you also have the knowledge to find and remove the sensor before cleaning, as well as the method of cleaning using isopropyl alcohol. 

Cleaning the sensor is actually the task that we can perform at home. Not only does it save drivers a lot of money, it also avoids damaging the engine.