Q: How to know MAF sensor is working

asked by on August 15, 2017

How can I know if my MAF sensor is working or not, so that I don't waste time and money cleaning it if it doesn't work? I've heard from some that a quick way to know is with the car running if you unplug the sensor the car will turn off..some have said the opposite and that the car will not turn off. About a month ago a mechanic unplugged it and the car turned off..I tried it a couple of days ago but it did not turn off..so I'm confused right now. I want to know how besides using an ohmmeter . thank you

The best way to know if the MAF is working is to look at a data page on a scanner to see if the MAF is sending correct signal to the computer. Some MAF sensors have the inlet air temperature sensor or IAT sensor built into it and these types may make the engine run rough and stall when disconnected. Regular cleaning of MAF is considered maintenance and only takes a few minutes. This cleans off dirt and oils that accumulate on the sensor that can cause inaccurate readings. If you are getting codes to the MAF is another way to know it is not working correctly. When you disconnect the MAF on most cars the computer is designed and programmed to use other sensors to compensate to have the engine run as good as it can without the MAF sensor operation. It will also store a code and turn on the check engine light and may cause computer to go into failure management mode and cause loss of power and limit rpms and transmission shift function.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

What value should the MAF signal be at idle?

Here is a breakdown of the wiring color codes, and the associated voltages on each, for engine running and ignition on. The signal from the mass airflow sensor should steadily sweep from 1.9 to 5 volts as you press and...

My car is jerking and hesitating when accelerating

This may be a sign of a dirty or failing mass air flow sensor. The mass air flow sensor reads the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the motor. When this fails, this...

How Often Does the Mass Air Flow Sensor Need to Be Replaced?

Mass airflow sensors (MAF) have no expiration date. They are not included on the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance list of things to replace based on mileage, like spark plugs or filters. They can remain in service indefinitely as long as they...

Related articles

Can a Bad Sensor Prevent a Car From Starting?
If your car isn't starting or has a hard time starting, a faulty sensor may be to blame. Car sensors monitor data to keep your car running smoothly.
How Do Sensors Get Dirty or Damaged?
Car sensors measure and relay vital information to the ECU. Some sensors can get dirty from normal use, or fail if the car overheats or has a problem.
What Happens to Sensors if They are Dirty?
Car sensors can get dirty with normal use. Symptoms of dirty sensors include reduced engine power, worse gas mileage, or an engine that hesitates.