What Should We Do After Replacing the MAF Sensor? – If your car is running poorly and sometimes black smoke comes out of the exhaust, it could be from a bad airflow sensor in your engine. And of course, it’s time for you to replace the MAF sensor with a new one. Usually, all drivers think that replacement is just enough for your car to function properly, but most of us don’t know that there are some important notes after this replacement process. What to do after replacing the mass air flow sensor? In this article, we will provide you with all the before and after steps, you need to pay attention to replace the MAF sensor.
Read more: How to Check MAF (Mass air flow) sensor
What Should We Do After Replacing the MAF Sensor?
The MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor is located in the engine intake manifold. This part includes the ECU controller, resistors, and hot wires. The MAF sensor has the main task of measuring how much air enters the engine intake manifold. It is very important to control the air mass to calculate how much fuel the system must add to achieve the proper air-fuel ratio (AFR). The Engine Control Unit (ECU) will analyze and then control the intake airflow to be sufficient, helping the engine operate at the highest efficiency. We need to understand the importance of these sensors. So if there is even small damage to the mass air flow sensor it will also affect the engine performance. What’s more, a problem with the MAF sensor can also result in a lot of fuel and seriously affect the driving journey.
What Causes a Damaged MAF Sensor?
MAF sensor failure can stem from a variety of causes. In particular, the MAF sensor gets stuck with too much dirt or oil which is the main reason that causes the ECU to misinterpret input signals. High engine temperature for a long time affects the MAF sensor due to its position which also easily causes an inlet airflow analysis error.
Read more: ECM vs PCM vs ECU what are the differences?
In addition, we never maintain and replace the air filter regularly so a lot of dirt gets in, which will directly affects the quality of the air intake into the engine. The best solution if you don’t want to replace the MAF sensor, you should regularly check and maintain the air filter. And also maintain and inspect the MAF sensor at reputable repair shops to quickly detect faults and have timely solutions.
Quick Steps to Replace the MAF Sensor
If the MAF sensor is badly damaged, you must perform the replacement steps in the order below;
Step 1: Open the hood and turn off the ignition of your car.
Step 2: You must disconnect the negative (red) battery cable to avoid a hazard during implementation. Locate the MAF sensor in the intake. The location of the MAF sensor is usually in the air duct between the intake manifold assembly and the air filter housing.
Step 3: Take the wiring harness that connects the MAF sensor, and the engine compartment power unit and pull it off the sensor. Next, you will carefully remove the electrical connector and hose clip that secures the mass air flow sensor to your vehicle’s air intake.
Step 4: Replace with new mass air flow sensor: Compare the new sensor with the old one to make sure you have the right sensor for your car. All connections and holes must match on both halves. After careful inspection, install the new mass air flow sensor into your vehicle and then reverse the removal process to connect the cables and hose clamps.
Step 5: Replace the sensor, and battery connection and turn on the ignition. And clean the ECU memory with an OBD code reader and try to start the car again.
Do you think step 5 is the last step of this process? Not yet! When you replace any part in your vehicle, sometimes, you would expect some unwanted side effects and the MAF sensor is no exception. You may experience some problems with the MAF sensor even after you replace it with a new one.
Possible Problems After Replacing the MAF Sensor
Sometimes we receive lots of feedback from customers that their vehicle still doesn’t work properly even with a new MAF valve. And there are common problems that you may experience after replacing the MAF sensor as follows.
Read more: Reasons for Rough Idle When Engine is Hot
The “Check Engine” light is still on
The check engine light will frustrate you after replacing the MAF sensor. You already know the MAF sensor may be responsible for the performance and circuit trouble codes. However, trim codes and fuel misfires can also be related to the check engine light. That is, once the MAF sensor is damaged, other sensors on the engine will immediately detect and send a warning to the central control unit (ECU).
Unable to Accelerate
When you complete the replacement of the MAF sensor, if you are still having trouble accelerating in highway traffic or while passing, it means that your ECM may be restricting injection due to a problem with the new MAF sensor.
Rough Engine Sound
It’s not uncommon to see your engine not idling properly or running a little rough after replacing a new MAF sensor. The reason is maybe your new MAF sensor has some problem. Without the right amount of fuel, it’s hard to get a smooth idle. At this time, the amount of air going to the engine room is unstable, causing the mixture to burn in the cylinders in excess and deficiency. And it directly affects engine performance. Your engine may not start smoothly If the MAF sensor is not working properly, especially at idle.
Why Does the Problem Still Appear After Replacing the Old MAF Sensor?
These problems worry drivers because they don’t even know what the reason is. This issue occurs due to several possible causes as follows.
Incorrect installation is one of the most common reasons why your vehicle may not work properly after replacing a new MAF sensor. As we know the MAF sensor replacement process is quite complicated. So when we do this process at home, we will often experience some errors in the replacement process such as missing steps or doing the wrong process. And the result is that the new MAF sensor will lose its function.
Forgot to reset the ECU
Not resetting your car’s computer is the second thing you can easily forget when replacing a MAF sensor. As we know, the MAF sensor will collect related information to select the right amount of fuel and then transfer this data to the ECU. The ECU operates and provides the engine with the correct amount of fuel. If you don’t reset the ECU, the codes from the sensors will not match the current computer. The code will help mechanics diagnose problems with the MAF sensor. Therefore, when some codes are out of sync with ECU, you will see some problems like the engine light on, or your car not running smoothly.
Bought Wrong New MAF Sensor
Incorrectly buying a sensor is the most common reason for many drivers when replacing a sensor on a vehicle. The MAF sensor sends a signal to the ECU about how much air is getting into your engine. Actually, there are several types of sensors that have the same function as MAP or airflow sensors that use moving flaps (older models). This is the reason why you can’t simply change the type of your old sensor to another brand or from one manufacturer with a sensor from another even if these sensors are the same type.
What Should You Do After Replacing the Mass Air Flow Sensor?
Our final mission when replacing a bad MAF sensor is for the car’s engine to recognize the sensor. However, in some cases, problems can still occur after the replacement process, all of which you can prevent if you take some of the following simple but important steps after replacing the MAF sensor.
Unplug Your Car Battery
When you have finished installing the MAF sensor, the process is not complete. On the other hand, it will take a few extra steps to completely replace it. And I highly recommend removing your battery for about 10 to 15 minutes. The purpose of this step is to help the car’s ECU have enough time to reset and clear old information and update new settings to register new parameters with new replacements.
Not all vehicles can automatically reset the error code if you remove the battery for a few minutes. Therefore, you need to try this step to make sure your MAF valve is operating smoothly. On connecting your battery, the ECU will start loading every bit of information associated with the new MAF sensor. When we remove the battery, it shouldn’t cause any problems.
Ensure proper replacement
If you are doing a MAF sensor replacement in your home, make sure you follow the instructions properly. Incorrect installation of the MAF sensor will result in incorrect readings causing the ECU to send an incorrect amount of fuel to your engine. Also, the result can be an incorrect air-fuel mixture causing a rough idle. There are a few notes you should consider when replacing a new MAF sensor;
- When purchasing a new MAF sensor, you should pay attention to the type of connection and ensure that you have the proper tools to remove and reconnect the sensor to the intake manifold and airbox.
- Double-check all the steps you take to make sure you didn’t miss anything and finished efficiently.
- During MAF sensor replacement, you must be careful not to touch the sensing element inside the MAF sensor. This element is very brittle and is often exposed during sensor removal.
- Make sure you have the correct MAF sensor. Read the number on the old sensor carefully and compare it to the OE number in the description. your new sensor. Usually, the description will indicate an initial number, OE number, or reference number.
- It often takes a road test for other sensors on an engine to recalibrate. In some situations, it has to reset inactive facilities or other parameters using relevant diagnostic tools
Resetting the ECU means removing all of your car’s computer memory to get rid of all errors and mistakes in settings. On most modern models, the ECU and ECM will reprogram automatically after replacing the MAF sensor. However, on some older models, this is not possible so you need to reset the ECU. This is the most effective way to deal with problems when replacing a new MAF sensor. Recalibrating the ECU sometimes requires some technicalities depending on your vehicle type. You can reset the ECU based on 2 ways: By disconnecting your car battery (modern vehicles) or using an auto scanner (OBDII scanner).
Conclusion: What Should We Do After Replacing the MAF Sensor?
When the mass air flow sensor is faulty, it is unable to accurately transfer airflow to your engine at that time, leading the ECU to miscalculate the fuel injection amount. This caused several problems: stalling, rough idling, and poor acceleration. Understand the importance of this sensor, whenever you replace it. Make sure you follow the procedures and steps to help your car achieve its best performance.