What Is a Mass Airflow Sensor?

//What Is a Mass Airflow Sensor?

What Is a Mass Airflow Sensor?

The MAF (mass airflow sensor) is a key part of the electronic fuel injection system in a vehicle. It’s located right between the engine’s intake manifold and the air filter. In some vehicles,  the IAT (intake air temperature) sensor is built into the MAF. However, there are different types of airflow sensors and they all require different kinds of maintenance. Digital sensors send a frequency output while the MAF produces a voltage output. Both of these outputs are then sent to the engine control module to help regulate the air-fuel mixture in the vehicle’s automatic transmission system.

mass airflow sensor

What Does The Mass Air Flow Sensor Do?

What mass airflow sensors do is measure the air mass that flows into the engine intake. This is crucial for calculating the amount of fuel needed to achieve the proper AFR (air-fuel ratio). A mass airflow sensor that is faulty can make it hard or almost impossible for the ECM (engine control module) to correctly calculate fuel injection. This can cause a number of problems for your car.

Signs of Mass Air Flow Sensor Failure

With time, the mass airflow sensor can waste and be prone to failure. This is because it is constantly exposed to moving air full of debris, dust, and exhaust fumes. Even getting too dirty can cause it to fail and stop working. This is why it is important to have a trusted auto body repair technician take a look if you see any of the following signs in your car’s performance. In many cars, especially Toyota cars, flow sensors are built into the compressor and tend to have a high rate of failure. 

Check Engine Light

The clearest sign of mass airflow sensor failure is a check engine light that is lit up. Regardless of other signs of an issue, you should get your vehicle checked if the light comes on. It could signal a faulty or damaged MAF.

Hesitation and/or Jerking

If you are noticing sudden jolts of power that are not normal or unusual hesitation, this can be a sign of MAF sensor issues. This can happen while you’re speeding on the highway or driving at regular speed down a street. Driving a car this way is very dangerous. This is why it’s important to have an expert take a look at it as quickly as possible.

Rough Running/Misfiring

When there is not a signal from the mass airflow sensor, the PCM (powertrain control module) that manages the transmission, the engine, and other car systems, won’t know how much fuel is needed by the engine. This can cause the engine to run on too little fuel or on too much fuel. This results in incomplete combustion that can lead to misfiring or rough engine running.

Lean Idling

If your car is stalling a lot of struggling for power, it may be getting way too much air in the engine and little fuel.  This can cause a failed combustion process, which can be affected by dirt on the wires in the MAF. A local car maintenance expert can get the wires back in working condition.

Black Exhaust Smoke

The exhaust smoke coming from your car is a symptom that something is wrong. It can be the result of different issues, but it could mean you have a damaged mass airflow sensor. This can cause the engine control to calculate fuel injection, causing black smoke.

Difficulty Turning the Engine Over/Starting

If your car is having trouble getting the engine to turn over or starting, the air-fuel mixture could be off-balance. All cars are sensitive to the proper air-fuel mixture and may have a hard time starting if it’s thrown off by a faulty mass airflow sensor. If your car is experiencing this, you should bring your car to Sudden Impact Auto as soon as possible.

Poor Fuel Economy

If you’ve seen the car needs more fuel than usual, this could be a symptom of a serious issue. A faulty mass airflow sensor might be giving inaccurate information to the PCM, which can cause the car to burn through fuel way quicker than it should.

Contact Us Today!

If your car is showing signs of a faulty mass airflow sensor in Las Vegas, contact Sudden Impact Auto today. We can give you auto mechanic maintenance services in the Las Vegas area. Call us at 702-457-3002 today!