The Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor plays an important role in maintaining a correct air/fuel ratio within the fuel management system. However, the MAF sensor accumulates dirt over time, and you have to clean it to maintain good fuel efficiency. Cleaning the MAF sensor is a critical part of your vehicle’s maintenance. If you can get a MAF sensor cleaner, that will be the safest and most effective product. If you can’t access the MAF sensor cleaner, there are some alternatives you can use to clean the dirt and recover some horsepower
Can You Use Electrical Cleaner on Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor?
You can use electric cleaners to clean a MAF sensor. I recommend using non-residue and fast-drying electronic cleaners to get the job done since they have the same functionality and application as an actual Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor cleaner.
However, you should not settle on an electrical cleaner if you can access a MAF cleaner since they are in the price range. Therefore, you should only opt for an electrical cleaner if you can’t find a MAF cleaner.
CRC QD is a great option for an electrical cleaner plastic safe and dries quickly when applied. You should clean your MAF sensor every time you change the air filter.
But, if you usually drive along dusty roads, it is recommended that you clean your MAF sensor every 50,000 miles or sooner. The same applies to your air filter. You can make it part of your routine vehicle maintenance to avoid major problems in the future.
On the other hand, you can clean your MAF sensor once the check engine light appears on the dashboard or when there is a trouble code associated with the MAF sensor. Manufacturers advise against using a MAF sensor cleaner on the Karman-Vortex MAF sensors, usually found on Toyota Supras, Lexus, and Mitsubishi models.
This is because the MAF sensors are susceptible and can easily be damaged by MAF sensor cleaners. If your vehicle is fitted with a Karman-Vortex MAF sensor and it gets dirty or becomes faulty, you should replace it with the help of a professional mechanic.
Here is a guide on cleaning the MAF sensor using an electrical cleaner:
- Locate the MAF sensor, which is usually located under the hood
- Remove the MAF sensor by loosening the clamps/brackets holding it.
- Clean it by spraying 10-15 blasts. Cover the wires during the process and avoid touching them with any object because they’re very delicate.
- Allow the MAF sensor to dry and reattach and tighten the brackets/clamps.
- Test drive to confirm whether the initial problems have been eradicated
Brake cleaners contain strong chemicals that can easily damage the delicate MAF sensors, so do not use them.
Instead, look for a MAF sensor cleaner since it can eliminate oil, fibers, dust, and dirt from the MAF sensor without leaving residue or causing any damage.
Additionally, MAF sensor cleaners contain hexane-based chemicals that dry up quickly without the need for alcohol. The entire process of cleaning MAF sensors is simple and will take you less than 10 minutes to complete.
Can You Use Carb Cleaner on MAF Sensor?
It is not advisable to use carb cleaners on MAF sensors. Carb cleaners contain aggressive chemicals that can easily damage the plastic part of the MAF sensor. Instead, you should look for an effective MAF sensor cleaner like the CRC-MAF sensor cleaner to get the job done safely.
Contact cleaners are commonly used to clean MAF sensors when owners cannot access MAF sensor cleaners. Contact cleaners are popular because they can easily break down clogging on the sensor. They are preferred over other alternatives because they do not contain aggressive chemicals that harm the MAF sensor.
However, it is worth noting that not all contact cleaners are suitable for cleaning MAF sensors. Some are fast drying and leave no residue, while others contain lubricants.
You can use CRC QD electronic cleaner on MAF sensors without any problem. The product is non-conductive and almost the same as the MAF sensor cleaner, meaning that it is safe for cleaning the plastic part of the sensor. Additionally, QD electronic cleaner dries up quickly and does not leave a residue.
Spray it directly on the MAF sensor, which will get the job done. QD electronic cleaners do a great job cleaning MAF sensors and other electronics compared to alcohol.
Can You Use EGR Cleaner on MAF Sensor?
Using Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve (EGR) cleaner on your MAF sensor is possible without harming it. Once you use EGR cleaner on your MAF sensor, leave it to dry. However, EGR cleaner should only be used as an alternative when you can’t find MAF sensor cleaners, alcohol cleaners, or electrical cleaners.
What to Look for Before Using Cleaner on MAF Sensor?
Choosing the ideal cleaner for your MAF sensor should never be difficult. The following are the properties you should look for when shopping for a MAF sensor cleaner:
- Is it safe for electronic cleaning?
A MAF sensor is undoubtedly one of any vehicle’s most sensitive and delicate components. The MAF sensor is also an electronic component that works by computerizing your vehicle’s air and fuel efficiency.
Therefore, when shopping for a MAF sensor cleaner, ensure that you go for one that is safe for electronic cleaning. If a particular cleaner is unsuitable for electronic cleaning, its liquid ingredients will only corrode and damage your MAF sensor.
- Is it compatible with oil and grease cleaning?
As the MAF sensor works to maintain air and fuel efficiency in your vehicle, it becomes vulnerable to oil and grease leaks layers coming from the oil pan gasket. To safely remove these oil and grease layers, you need a high-quality MAF sensor cleaner that is compatible with them.
- Engine power improvement
When shopping for a MAF sensor cleaner, you want to go for one that will increase the engine’s horsepower. Once the MAF sensor becomes dirty and filled with debris, the engine will start facing some acceleration troubles such as stalling and rough idling.
Therefore, you want to use a MAF sensor cleaner to get rid of the dirt and maintain your vehicle’s fuel economy to direct more power to the engine.
- Air/fuel ratio maintenance
The primary function of the MAF sensor is to maintain proper air/fuel efficiency in your vehicle. However, once the MAF sensor accumulates dirt, the engine loses power, and gas mileage decreases.
If you use the wrong cleaner to remove this dirt, it will only damage the MAF sensor. Therefore, you should use a cleanser to eliminate all the dirt without putting unnecessary pressure on the MAF sensor.
- Short Cleaning and drying time
The ideal MAF sensor cleaner should get rid of the dirt quickly. If you use a MAF cleaner that takes a lot of time to dry, it will damage vital electronic components of the engine. So, choose a cleaner with the shortest cleaning and drying time.
The Best Cleaners for MAF Sensor
The typical cost of replacing a MAF sensor ranges from $120 to $200. It depends on your location, the type of your vehicle, the make, model, and year. In some places, the cost of MAF sensor replacement may go up to $300.
On the other hand, a good MAF sensor cleaner is about $7 to $25, meaning that every time you clean your MAF sensor, you save money and keep your vehicle running efficiently. Luckily, there are plenty of options for suitable MAF sensor cleaners.
- CRC 05610 Mass Air Flow Cleaner
This is undoubtedly one of the best MAF sensor cleaners on the market today. This MAF sensor cleaner is popular among customers because it safely cleans and protects the sensor.
This cleaner reduces rough idling, improves air-fuel ratio, and increases your vehicle’s horsepower and fuel economy. After using this cleanser, you won’t experience hesitation or misfiring from your engine. It’s also worth noting that this MAF sensor cleaner is fast drying and doesn’t leave any residue.
- Gunk MAS6 Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner
This cleaner is also popular among car owners as it is very active and helps enhance the MAF sensor’s performance and your vehicle’s fuel economy. This MAF cleaner is also efficient in removing dirt and dissolving oil and grease layers. You can also count on the Gunk MAS6 MAF sensor cleaner to reduce rough idling and other engine troubles.
- Archoil MAF Sensor Cleaner
This cleaner is fast cleaning and drying and never leaves any residue after application. Archoil MAF Sensor Cleaner also effectively restores lost engine power, reducing rough idling and cleaning large volume engine sensors.