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Signs Your Car’s Mass Airflow Sensor Is Dirty or Bad

The mass airflow (MAF) sensor is located in your engine in the air duct. You will find it in the duct between the throttle body and your air filter box. This sensor detects the amount of air flowing into the engine and reports the quantity to your engine control module (ECM). Using this data, the ECM adjusts the amount of air and fuel in the combustion chamber to ensure your engine detonation is efficient at all times. Advantage Auto Service lists the signs of a bad or dirty MAF below.

Acceleration Trouble

Your car, truck, or utility vehicle needs air and fuel in order to accelerate. If the MAF is reporting incorrect numbers, or if it has died altogether, the ECM may make adjustments to the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber that causes your vehicle to lag when you attempt to accelerate.

Bad Gas Mileage

The efficiency of how the air and fuel are burned in the combustion chamber can also affect your gas mileage. It doesn’t matter if there is too much air or not enough air. Your engine will work too hard because the mixture is off and you will find yourself visiting the service station more often than normal.

Black Tailpipe Exhaust

If the MAF triggers the engine control module to release excess fuel into the combustion chamber, your engine will have no choice but to burn off that unnecessary gasoline or diesel fuel. The consequence is you’ll notice black exhaust flowing out of your tailpipes.

Check Engine Light

The ECM may also turn on the check engine light because your engine isn’t running efficiently. Sensors throughout the engine will detect that there is too much or too little air and they will send an error code to the ECM. Because the MAF doesn’t have a light of its own, you’ll get a check engine warning.

Engine Hesitation or Surging

Too much or not enough fuel can also make your engine hesitate or surge while you are driving along. Hesitation indicates that there is too much air and your engine needs more gasoline. Surging indicates that there’s too much gasoline and this excess fuel is increasing your power in spurts.

Rough Idling

You may also notice that your vehicle is idling roughly. This is because there is an uneven amount of air and fuel in the combustion chamber and your engine is struggling to prevent stalling. Again, a dirty or bad MAF can cause this problem with inaccurate readings to the ECM.

Call Advantage Auto Service in Marietta, GA, if you suspect that your mass airflow sensor is dirty or going bad. We’ll inspect the sensor and clean or replace it if necessary.

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