Driving with a bad sensor is very dangerous for you, as well as the vehicle. So it is very important to keep alert on the sensors of your vehicle without letting them perform poor, by repairing, cleaning, or replacing them regularly.
The mass air flow sensor is also one of those sensors that play a big role in a vehicle (especially in vehicle ignition). So when the MAF sensor is not working well you will need to reset or replace the sensor as soon as possible.
In this article, you’ll find how to reset the mass air flow sensor will all the relevant information you need to know, with relevant videos and images also. So stick around until the end to find out what you’ve been looking for.
What does a MAF sensor really do?
Two sensing wires make up a MAF. Unlike the other, the first is heated by an electrical current. The heated wire becomes cooler as air passes over it. The MAF sensor automatically adjusts the current to the heated wire when the difference in temperature between the two sensing wires changes.
There are two types of MAF Sensors in today’s vehicles.
01. Wire sensors.
A very small amount of air flows around the hot wire when the engine is idling, so a very small electric current is required to maintain the wire’s heat.
The throttle opens when the gas pedal is depressed, allowing more air to pass over the hot wire. The wire is cooled by the air passing by.
The amount of electrical current required to keep the wire hot increases as more air passes over it. The amount of airflow is inversely correlated with the electric current.
The airflow sensor contains a small electronic chip that converts the electric current into a digital signal and transmits it to the engine computer (PCM). The PCM determines how much fuel to inject based on the airflow signal. Maintaining the ideal air/fuel ratio is the objective.
02. Hot film sensors.
The most advanced type of air mass sensor is a hot-film sensor. They have a sensor plate on which a thin film of resistance is applied. This makes it possible to measure any changes quickly and precisely.
Depending on the vehicle, the sensor is heated to a constant temperature of between 120 and 180 degrees. The hot-film sensor is cooled by the intake air passing by.
The air mass ingested can then be calculated from the heating current necessary to bring the sensor back up to temperature.
Why Do MAF Sensors Fail?
One of the main causes of MAF sensors needing to be replaced is contamination. The sensor’s component parts contaminate and break down as air, dirt, and other debris enter the device.
Sluggish performance, rough idling, poor acceleration, or even stalling are common complaints from drivers. Also possible is a more frequent requirement for refuelling.
Depending on the vehicle model, contamination could happen as soon as every 18,000 to 25,000 miles.
Because the MAF sensor is located in a more vulnerable location in the engine bay of small or compact cars, it can clog more quickly in these vehicles (oil vapour flows and combustion debris). In this situation, a replacement essentially turns into a long-drain oil service, resembling a service-style repair.
How to reset the mass air flow sensor?
There are a few ways of resetting the mass air flow sensor and it depends on the type of vehicle. Here we discuss some common methods which will apply to almost all types of vehicles. So what are those steps?
- Access the engine compartment.
- Discover where your mass air flow sensor is.
- Verify each wire that is attached to the mass airflow sensor. The little black box will have an air intake attached, as you can see.
- The air intake must be disconnected from the tiny black box. The mass air flow sensor should reset at this point.
Alternative methods of resetting the MAF sensor.
Engine idling method.
- Start the engine and warm the temperature to the desired operating level.
- Switch the ignition off.
- Disconnect the connector on the mass air flow sensor harness.
- Restart the engine and give it at least five seconds to idle.
- Reconnect the mass air flow sensor harness connector after stopping the engine.
- Ensure that DTC P0102 is visible.
- Wipe out the DTC memory.
Engine idling method 02.
- You must first turn off the engine of your car in order to allow it to cool. If you just used the car, this is crucial.
- You can go to the mass air flow sensor location and unplug the connector from the sensor’s harness once the engine has cooled.
- The MAF must now be removed for cleaning. The use of manufactured goods like CRC cleaner is highly advised. Simply reinstall a new sensor if you want to replace the old one.
- Then, you would want to turn on the engine and give its machinery a brief period of time to run. It should work in about 5 to 6 seconds.
- The sensor must then be connected to its harness after the engine has been turned off.
- You’ll then see the engine code P0102 appear on your dashboard.
- Now all you have to do is start the car and clean the memory. Basically, this is how a mass air flow sensor is programmed.
By disconnecting the battery.
- Start by taking out your outdated sensor. It is the flow measurement component, which resembles a throttle in some ways. You can either change it, clean it up, try to fix it, and then put it back. However, how are MAF sensors changed? Simply insert a new one.
- Disconnecting the battery from the ground cable is the next sensible action to take. The sensor’s harness can then be attached at that point.
- You must allow them to remain disconnected for the following ten minutes.
- Reset the system in your car after that.
- You must now connect the sensor. After that, you can start the engine.
What are the symptoms of a mass air flow sensor?
There is no reason to replace or reset the MAF sensor if you don’t see any symptoms of a failing sensor. So the following are some of the common problems of a failing MAF sensor, which will help you start diagnosing the MAF sensor.
The primary factor in determining the proper amount of fuel to inject into the intake/manifold or combustion chamber is the MAF signal (direct injection).
- The “check engine” light should illuminate, and one or more Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) will have been “set” by this point.
- The MAF’s actual failure mode, which can cause the engine to run rich or lean, determines the symptoms.
- Hard Starts.
- Poor Gas Economy.
- Rough Idle.
- Trouble Accelerating.
You can purchase a scanner to read your own codes (the $40 Bosch OBD-1000 is a basic tool for do-it-yourselfers).
A knowledgeable technician can quickly diagnose this, but for those who like to take on challenges, a backyard mechanic can likely fix it. A lean mixture and unmetered air are the results of leaks downstream of the MAF in addition to the MAF itself.
Why does my car run better when I disconnect the MAF sensor?
It is possible to disconnect a MAF sensor as a diagnostic technique to help identify the root of a driveability issue. However, disconnecting this sensor should not be done in lieu of properly repairing the vehicle.
With the sensor connected, the engine should naturally function properly. When you remove the sensor, the computer detects an open circuit and, in order to keep you from having to stop driving, it substitutes another value—typically a fixed value that is situated halfway between rich and lean—and keeps it there. The vehicle may appear to be back to normal with the value at the midpoint, but this is untrue.
The only way to know for sure if the sensor is bad is to look at the live data values for the mass air flow sensor with scan tools under various conditions, including idle, cruise, and full-throttle acceleration.
Can a car run without a mass air flow sensor?
You should not run the car without a MAF sensor, and here is the reason. The powertrain control module (PCM), which controls the engine, transmission, and other systems in your car, won’t be able to determine how much fuel the engine needs if it doesn’t receive a proper signal from the mass air flow sensor. This may result in the engine running too lean (with insufficient fuel) or too rich (too much fuel).
Is it better to clean or replace a mass air flow sensor?
MAF sensors can be harmed, but more frequently, they simply become too dirty to function properly. In this situation, they can be cleaned; however, if the problem is mechanical or electrical, they need to be replaced.