Blog Car Care Advice How to Perform a Mass Airflow Sensor Replacement (+Costs)
Car Care Advice

How to Perform a Mass Airflow Sensor Replacement (+Costs)

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Do you keep seeing black smoke coming from your car’s exhaust?
That could signal a failing MAF sensor.

MAF, or mass air flow sensor, checks the precise amount of air mass that enters your car’s fuel-injected engine. The sensor’s data is essential for the ECM (Engine Control Module) to maintain a healthy air-fuel ratio. 

But if it fails to maintain the right amount, it may need repair. 

But how is a mass airflow replacement done?
And how much will it cost?

Read on to discover every little detail about the mass airflow sensor replacement.

This Article Contains:

Mass Airflow Sensor Replacement: A Step-by-Step Guide

The mass air flow sensor is one of the important sensors in your car. So, when it stops working, some potential issues you’ll notice are poor gas mileage, problems during acceleration, and more.

You can try cleaning the sensor’s wires to make it work temporarily. But if you still face difficulty, it’s time for a replacement. 

Let’s check how a professional mechanic will replace the mass air flow sensor. 

The mechanic will first plug a code reader into the OBD2 port to check for any DTC codes related to the MAF sensor. 

Codes P0101, P0102, and P1101 indicate an issue with your car’s MAF sensor. 

Step 2: Disconnect the Battery and Identify the MAF Sensor

Once confirmed, they’ll disconnect the battery to avoid any electrical hazards. Now, they’ll locate the mass airflow sensor in your car. Usually, this sensor is located between the air filter housing and the throttle body

Sometimes it’s placed between the air filter housing and the intake manifold. The mechanic may refer to your car’s manual for reference if necessary. 

Step 3: Unplug the Connections and Detach the Old Sensor

Next, they’ll use a screwdriver to release the clips and disconnect the wiring harness (electrical connector) of the sensor. Then, they’ll remove the clamps or screws that keep the sensor in place. This step could differ based on your car’s setup. 

Step 4: Install the New Sensor and Reconnect the Electrical Connections

The mechanic will use screws or clamps to secure the new sensor in place. Then, they’ll carefully connect the wiring harness to the new sensor.

Step 5: Reconnect the Battery 

After connecting the sensor, they’ll reconnect the battery. 

Step 6: Test the New Sensor 

To check whether your new mass airflow sensor works, they’ll start the car and check if any error code comes up on the scanner.

If no fault code pops up and the check engine light is not illuminated, the replacement process is complete.

Note: In some cases, the new mass airflow sensor can malfunction

Step 7: Calibrate the New Sensor

Sometimes, the new sensor may need calibration.

However, the exact calibration procedure can vary depending on the specific MAF sensor and the diagnostic equipment available. A professional mechanic may connect specialized diagnostic tools to the vehicle’s onboard computer system for this process.

Curious how much this replacement will cost you?
Let’s have a look.

How Much Does a Mass Airflow Sensor Replacement Cost?

Replacing a mass air flow sensor can cost between $230 and $350. The charges include: 

  1. Cost of parts: $200 and $300
  2. Cost of labor: $30 and $50 

Want to know more about mass airflow sensors? 
We’ve got you covered.  

4 FAQs on MAF Sensors 

Here are some questions on mass air flow sensors that may interest you:  

1. How Long Does a Mass Airflow Sensor Last? 

Mass airflow sensors can last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles. However, you can prolong its lifespan with routine maintenance. 

2. What Are the Signs of a Failing Mass Airflow Sensor? 

Telltale problems of a failing MAF sensor are:

  1. The check engine light turns on when the ECM (car’s computer) detects a faulty sensor.
  1. The failing sensor pushes the car to consume more fuel, giving your car a poor fuel economy.
  1. The tachometer readings of your car fluctuate due to sensor malfunction, accompanied by rough idling.
  1. Your car stalls or struggles during acceleration because the ECM fails to regulate the correct amount of the air-fuel ratio due to a bad sensor.
  1. Your car runs too rich or too lean, which leads to black smoke emitting from the exhaust (more fuel than air intake) or less power to start the car (air mass is more than fuel).

3. Can I Drive With a Bad Mass Airflow Sensor?

No. Whether you drive a Hyundai sedan or a Land Rover truck, it’s not advisable to drive with a faulty mass air flow sensor. A malfunctioning sensor can reduce the overall power of your fuel-injected engine car and result in poor gas mileage. 

But that’s not all.

A faulty sensor can damage your car’s catalytic converter, which is responsible for emission control. A damaged converter can affect the engine cooling and fail to control the correct amount of emissions. You can potentially face heavy engine repair costs and a penalty for your car’s emissions

So, it’s best to replace it if you notice any difficulty or potential issues with the sensor. 

4. What Causes an MAF Sensor to Malfunction After Replacement?

Reasons your new mass air flow sensor is underperforming in your car or truck are:

  1. An incompatible mass air flow sensor piece has been installed.
  1. An underlying problem with the car’s air intake system or electrical connections.  
  1. Not resetting the car’s computer (ECM) has resulted in unsynchronized data after replacement. 
  1. The new MAF sensor has not been installed properly between the air filter housing and engine intake (the intake manifold).   

Resolve MAF Sensor Issue with AutoNation Mobile Service 

A mass air flow sensor is one of the important sensors that help the ECM maintain the right amount of air and fuel required to run your car. But if it malfunctions, you’ll notice potential issues like less engine cooling, poor gas mileage, reduced overall power, or difficulty during acceleration.

When you notice these, don’t delay the repair until it’s too late. 

And if you’re facing difficulty driving to a repair shop, don’t worry! 
Our mechanics from AutoNation Mobile Service will come to you. 

We’re a mobile auto repair and maintenance solution that can fix car troubles right from your driveway. We offer convenient online bookings, upfront pricing, and a 12-month | 12-000 mile warranty on all repairs, including brake repair and engine repair. 

Contact us to get an error-free auto repair for any common problem.