Symptoms of a Faulty Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor
Modern cars are fitted with advanced electronic engine controls that estimate the right amount of fuel to be used in any situation. To achieve that, several sensors are assembled including fuel injectors, camshaft position sensors and mass air fuel sensors or MAF. However, with time and usage, these sensors might degrade. There are a few symptoms to identify a bad MAF sensor and replace it in time.
What is a MAF Sensor?
A mass air flow (MAF) sensor is a car part that measures the quantity of air mass flow into an engine’s inlet. This measurement is important to estimate how much fuel is required for the ideal air-fuel ratio (AFR).
In the case of a bad mass air flow sensor, the fuel injection is not correctly calculated by the engine control model or ECM. This can result in critical car problems.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A BAD MASS AIR FLOW SENSOR?
There are quite a few bad MAF sensor symptoms. You need to know these and study your vehicle carefully to know when it is time to replace the faulty mass air flow sensor of your vehicle.
1. Check Engine Light On
A bad MAF sensor can lead to illuminated check engine light, one of the warning lights on car dashboard. This could be due to circuit diagnostic trouble codes. However, misfire codes and fuel trim may also lead to a mass air flow sensor damage. You can find out the codes from OBD scanner and if it is P0101- Mass Air Flow Sensor Circuit Range/Performance, there may be a dirty MAF sensor.
2. Acceleration Trouble
One of the dirty MAF sensor symptoms occur with accelerating especially when onto the highway. This can be limited injection by the ECM may be limiting injection because of a faulty MAF sensor problem.
3. Rough Idling
Smooth idle is only possible with the right quantity of fuel. Therefore, one of the faulty MAF sensor symptoms will directly result in rough idling due to the wrong amount of fuel.
4. Poor Fuel Efficiency
A faulty ECM may result in addition of excess fuel than required, which will lead to greater fuel consumption. This makes a decrease in fuel efficiency one of the symptoms of a bad MAF sensor.
5. Dark Exhaust Smoke
Sometimes a bad ECM can cause black smoke to come out of the vehicle’s exhaust system. A symptom of a bad MAF sensor is that it may overload the catalytic converter as well.
6. Surging or Hesitation
Another of the major mass air flow sensor symptoms occur when the mass air flow sensors are not working properly is abnormal power surging or lacking during cruising or acceleration.
7. Hard Starting
A difficulty in starting can be a symptom of a bad MAF sensor. Starting an engine requires a greater quantity of fuel than idling. However, a dysfunctional mass air flow sensor would mean the ECM may not provide enough fuel injection for prompt engine starting. It is often observed when a car starts then sputters and shuts off.
While these are some of the most common signs of a bad mass air flow sensor, these can happen due to other issues as well. For example, restricted exhaust, clogged air filter, a broken intake tube or a vacuum leak are likely to show similar effects. Therefore, you should inspect the intake system to ensure these issues are not causing the symptoms.
How to fix a bad mass air flow sensor
If you have ruled out any issue with the intake system of your car engine and still facing symptoms, it is time to try the following options to fix the ass air flow sensor:
- Opt for a MAF sensor specific cleaner and clean it as this might take care of the symptoms if the problem is some contamination in the system
- To avoid the dust from blocking the system, install a new air filter after blowing the intake tubing
- If nothing works, replace the mass air flow sensor of your car.
These are all the symptoms of a bad MAF sensor. If replacing the sensor alone does not address the symptoms, there is likely to be other issues with your vehicle. In case your car doesn’t recover its performance despite frequent maintenance and repairing, it is time to check out these used cars for sale in the UAE.
For more information on different types of car sensors, stay tuned to the UAE’s top auto blog.