MAF sensor| Can You Drive With a Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor + 8 symptoms of bad mass air flow sensor

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We get this query “Can You drive with a bad mass air flow sensor”? a lot and so we decided to respond to it in this article. MAF sensor (Mass Air Flow) is one necessary component to keep in check in your car. A bad mass air flow sensor can cause serious damage to your vehicle engine and so you have to be fully informed of the signs and symptoms of bad mass air flow sensor to avoid costly repair cost that might result from not fixing or resolving your car MAF sensor issue early enough from when it went bad.

So this post is my full guide for you on all you need to know about MAF sensor, symptoms, fix/repair, replacement, cost and direct response to common frequent you might have about a Bad mass air flow sensor symptom. 

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MAF sensor| Can You drive with a bad mass air flow sensor + 8 symptoms of bad mass air flow sensor

So before getting right into it, here is a breakdown of all the areas we will discuss in the post:

Let’s get started with the meaning of MAF sensor. 

Meaning of MAF sensor

First, the acronyms “MAF” here stands for (Mass Air Flow) so when mention MAF sensor we simply mean Mass Air Flow sensor.

The MAF sensor of a car is the component that determines the amount of air mass which passes through the air tube of a vehicle. With the aid of the PCM, MAF sensor performs this calculation by a simple multiplication of the air volume by the air density. 

The air mass information produced by MAF sensor is required for the vehicle engine control unit the (ECU) to be balanced. A Balanced ECU helps deliver the appropriate fuel mass to the engine, this brings about optimal functionality to the vehicle.

Now that you know the meaning of MAF sensor and what it does let move on various types of MAF sensors. 

Read also: How to fix Trac-off and check engine light Toyota corolla

Types of MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor

There are several types of MAF sensor found on vehicles. They include the Vane also known as an air flow meter, the cold wire, hot wire and the Karmen Vortex  MAF sensors.

#1. Vane MAF sensor

Vane MAF sensor otherwise called airflow meter operates using a potentiometer to transfer a variable. It also in some occasion can use a changing Voltage signal to the PCM as a measure of the air volume. 

#2. Cold Wire MAF Sensor

Cold wire MAF sensor on its own utilizes a thin metallic strip which vibrates’ as the air is passing through.

The vibration usually changes in its rate or frequency as does the signal that is sent to ECM (Engine Control Module).

#3. Hot Wire MAF Sensor

The type of MAF sensor is the Hotwire MAF sensor, which has a heated filament like a toaster. It is the hot wire mass airflow sensor regulates the mass air flowing into the car engine’s air intake system.

 Usually, the hot wire mass air sensor resistance will increase or decreases as cold air pass through the filament, creating an increased current to maintain the sensors heat which later transformed to a current signal and then sent to PCM (power-train control module) for the adjustment of the air-fuel ratio.

#4.  Karmen Vortex MAF Sensors.

The next and final type of MAF sensor is the Karmen Vortex MAF sensors. This sensor functional just like the rest but it additionally forms a vortex which sensed by a mirror and a photocoupler.

The signal for this sensor is converted to power to be sent and deduced by the power-train control module.

Dangers Of A Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor On Your Car – P0100 P0104 P0171 P0172 P0174

Cleaning MAF sensor

This filament of your car MAF sensor can get dirty and will make it go bad, so it’s important that a regular cleaning schedule is maintained to keep the MAF (mass air flow) Sensor running at it optimal state.

Using a CRC mass air flow sensor cleaner, you just have to remove the sensor and open the CRC spray head then Spray the filament till it is dirt free and clean, then you now have to re-install or couple back the MAF sensor. You can also read this article for more MAF sensor cleaning options.

There lots of product recommended for the cleaning of the MAF sensor. The one I prefer is shown below and it could be found on Amazon.

I)       CRC 05110 Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner – 11 Wt Oz

Common Symptoms of a Dirty MAF Sensor

Some common symptoms of a dirty MAF sensor comprise of:

  • Power loss
  • Poor gas Mileage
  • Hesitation and stumble.

This is what happens when your car MAF sensor becomes dirty. Your car MAF sensor will signal the PCM (power-train control module) of the shortage of air flow causing an extreme positive Long Term Fuel Trim no.

The PCM then thinks that the air fuel ratio is too thin and will keep adding fuel to compensate to make up for the imaginary shortfall.

On the other hand, an excessive positive Long Term Fuel Trim (LTFT) (+ 10%) is an indication of a persistent lean fuel condition.

This then prompt the PCM to trigger the car check engine light when fuel trim exceeds 25% in either direction.

This clearly give you  the answers to the question “ is check engine light one of the symptoms of bad MAF sensor”

So if you ever wonder if check engine light is one of the symptoms of bad MAF sensor

Yes, is the answer to this query and we will look at some symptoms of bad mass air flow sensor below.

8 Symptoms of Bad Mass air Flow Sensor |Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor Symptoms To Look Out for

The common symptoms of bad mass air flow sensor includes but are not limited to these:

  1. Display of Check Engine Light
  2. A decreased fuel economy
  3. Car Engine starting Difficulty
  4. Stalling shortly after starting
  5. Rough Engine idling
  6. Jerking motion during acceleration
  7. Gas smell from the exhaust pipe
  8. Engine hesitation under load

If your car check engine light comes on while your vehicle is exhibiting any of the symptoms above, you need to check the MAF sensor of your car.

You can do this with an OBD-II code reader which you can get for cheap on Amazon if you don’t already have.

See this one here on Amazon

The Code P0101 is a simple indication that the signal from the MAF sensor is way above the normal range, meaning that you need to replace or get a new MAF sensor.

 But before you get a new MAF sensor, I will recommend you first try cleaning your MAF sensor to be sure that the issue is not coming from a dirty MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor.

Please refer to above mass air flow sensor cleaner recommendation.

Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor no Check Engine Light

If you noticed from the above symptoms of bad mass air flow sensor check engine light is the number 1 symptoms and that is because it is the foremost indicator of a bad MAF sensor. However, in some scenarios, you might still be having a bad mass air flow sensor, yet no check engine light will.

So if you notice any more than one of the above symptoms on your car, place check your MAF sensor too.

They are all indicators of a bad mass air flow sensor.

Can You Drive with a Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor

Our Response to this query is yes. You can drive your vehicle with a bad mass air flow sensor for a while, but it is not advisable to continue doing so for a long time even if your car can still run and that is because, Ignoring your car MAF sensor problem can escalate beyond just the Mass air flow sensor problem to a more severe engine problem that might even require getting a new engine.

Am sure you know how expensive the cost of buying a new engine is if you don’t know, here it is:

The average cost of a new engine is around $7500 whereas replacing or repairing your MAF sensor problem will cost you nothing more than $200.

So be wise, the difference is clear. Here is what will happen if you didn’t change your bad mass air flow sensor of your vehicle.

What would happen if you didn’t change a bad mass airflow sensor on your vehicle?

When your car MAF sensor is bad, it makes the car engine computer to miscalculate the right amount of fuel to be injected which leads the computer to leave a trouble code and then the check engine light will come on.

Your car might still be running with this problem code but it will not allow the engine to work very well because the car computer is doing a guesswork.

And because the data the car computer is been working with not exactly accurate, this could lead off to more serious issues on the engine.

Conclusion on MAF sensor with 8 Bad mass air flow sensor symptoms

I hope I have been able to give you a satisfactory answer to the query “Can you drive with a bad mass air flow sensor”

The key to ensuring that your car engine does not severely get damaged is to look out for Bad mass air flow sensor symptoms which are otherwise abbreviated as MAF sensor symptoms.

In this post, we have covered the meaning of MAF sensor, the types of MAF sensor and even discussed the reason why you might be having a bad mass air flow sensor no check engine light.

We also discussed what would happen if you didn’t change a bad mass airflow sensor on your vehicle. The dangers of a bad mass air flow sensor on your car.

Please feel free to share this post if it was helpful to you.

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