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7 Friendly Tips to Help Prevent Damage to Your MAF Sensor


If you’re not completely certain what a mass air flow sensor is designed to do, you might want to read up on the basics before you start worrying about what can cause damage to this crucial component. Once you’ve got that figured out, we can address the latter concern. Go ahead, we’ll give you all the time you need.

Ready to go? Great. Still itching with concern? Don’t be. Because contrary to what you may have heard through the gearhead grapevine, a replacement cold air intake (which you’re also interested in) won’t take a negative toll on your MAF sensor. The reason why it won’t is simple — as your engine sucks in fresh air, it needs to flow through the MAF’s bore and over a heated sensing wire or resistor. When this happens, the MAF’s sensing element gets colder. Naturally, right? Turns out, this affects how much voltage can flow through it, which your vehicle’s onboard computer reads and uses to instruct fuel injectors to add more or less fuel accordingly.

That’s not to say that your MAF is impervious to every threat. Read on to discover seven friendly tips to prevent damage to your mass air flow sensor from AutoAnything.

  1. Whatever you do, don’t run an intake without an air filter. The MAF won’t be able to send an accurate signal through the screen of filth that may build up over time, so keep that filter on. It won’t restrict the flow as badly as you might think.
  1. Don’t spray any old injector or brake cleaner directly onto the air filter or MAF sensing wire. There are specific cleaning sprays for the sensor in your possession, so don’t confuse it with the others.
  1. Don’t touch the MAF’s sensing element with your bare hand, as the oils and acids in your skin will contaminate it.
  1. Don’t neglect to clean your intake filter. Over time, this will cause the deterioration of the filter element. Accumulated oil residue, debris, bugs and other pollutants are not to be taken lightly.
  1. Be sure to tighten your battery’s terminal connections after installing an air intake. Every time the battery’s cables make adequate contact with the terminals, it may result in harmful voltage spikes. In the absolute worst cases, this could totally fry your mass air flow sensor.
  1. We know it’s fun, but try to avoid driving through rain puddles when you’re running a low-slung cold air intake. If you can spring for it, add a durable, water-resistant hydro-shield to the filter.
  1. Lastly, do not over-oil your air filter when cleaning. All you need to do is discolor the filter with oil for it to work correctly. If you’re going through an entire bottle of oil with every cleaning, you’re wasting money and causing creeping damage in the long haul.