How to clean your Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)

by Editorial Team
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If your mass air flow (MAF) is dirty on your car, you can lose power, mpg, and throw an error code which can cause you to fail smog checks!

Step 1

You will know your MAF (mass air flow) is dirty from either noticing a decrease in gas mileage, power, or just an overall "less smooth" ride in your car. You may notice an occasional "hiccup" where it feels like the car missed a beat. You will also usually be able to see dirt or grime on the MAF just from opening your hood and looking at it. You may also be able to feel it.

Step 2

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First step is to locate your MAF under your hood. The picture is from a Volkswagen Jetta and should look very similar to most MAF's. If will be connected to your air intake (usually an enclosed black plastic box) on the side of your engine.

Step 3

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Simply pull the MAF off the car and place in a zip-lock baggie along with a full bottle of 70-30 isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

Step 4

Swish the baggie around so the alcohol can get into every part of the MAF. Leave the MAF in the baggie for about 20 minutes or so to make sure it really cleans all the dirt and debris out of the critical components.

Step 5

Pull the MAF out of the bag and place in a dry area on a towel for at least 45 minutes. It is critical that the MAF be completely dry before you reinstall. A wet MAF can cause water and/or the alcohol to get directly into your engine and can cause major damage.

Step 6

Reinstall the MAF on your car, put everything back together, and enjoy the regained gas mileage and power! This is a great and easy way to save the $50-$100 that a new MAF will cost you.

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