National average cost of a Mass Air Flow Sensor Replacement for popular vehicles:
Avg. cost $327
Avg. cost $233
Avg. cost $127
What is a mass air flow sensor and how does it work?
A mass air flow sensor (MAF) is an electronic device installed in your engine’s air intake system. This sensor monitors the volume of air that goes into your engine across various operating conditions. On some vehicles, the mass air flow sensor also detects the incoming air temperature and pressure as well. The information from these readings is sent to the main engine computer, the Engine Control Module (ECM), where it is used to control factors such as the amount of fuel injected into the engine cylinders, the ignition and camshaft timing, and more, all to help your engine run as efficiently as possible.
How do I know if my vehicle needs the mass air flow sensor replaced?
When a mass air sensor fails, the performance of your vehicle can suffer. Under certain conditions, it can also cause engine damage. Reduced fuel economy is likely as well. Your mass air flow sensor might be bad if you notice one or more of the following signs:
A reduction in fuel efficiency
A drop in engine power
Your engine stalls
Hesitation on acceleration
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The mass air flow sensor is mounted in the air intake ducts that lead to the throttle body on top of your engine. It is often necessary for a technician to remove engine covers, shields, ducts, and other components for access to this component. The technician will also disconnect the negative terminal on your battery, taking care to preserve the vehicle computer memory. From there, the technician will take the following general steps:
Disconnect the electrical connecter attached to the mass air flow sensor
Remove the fasteners that attach the sensor to the ducts in which it is mounted
Dislodge the sensor and remove it from the ducts
Insert and fasten the new mass air flow sensor
Reconnect the wiring harness plug
Reinstall all components that were removed for access and the battery cable
Clear any diagnostic trouble codes (if necessary)
Test drive your vehicle to allow the sensor to reset itself (and to verify the repair)
Other questions customers ask
Is it better to clean or replace a mass air flow sensor?
Whether to clean or replace the mass air flow sensor is a decision best left to a qualified technician. Mass air flow sensors can show incorrect readings due to failure of the sensor itself, as well as the sensor simply being dirty. A technician may attempt to clean the sensor first and then recheck the sensor feedback with a scan tool, or the technician may recommend replacing the sensor if it is clear that the existing sensor is damaged or has internal issues.
How many miles does a mass air flow sensor last?
A mass air flow sensor may last anywhere from 80K-200K miles. However, this depends greatly on how well the engine air filter is maintained and in what type of environment the vehicle is driven. A vehicle used primarily in dusty or off-road environments may require cleaning and/or replacement of the mass air flow sensor more frequently.
What happens when a mass air flow sensor goes out?
If your mass air flow sensor goes bad, the Engine Control Module (ECM) will be unable to determine how much fuel is needed at any given time for your engine. That means your engine can run rich (too much fuel) or too lean (too little fuel). Both are detrimental to your engine. But if it runs lean for too long, serious engine damage can occur.
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