Today's Hometown Garage post focuses on the importance of protecting your mass air flow sensor or MAF. Air and fuel are mixed together to be burned in your engine. The amount is controlled by how hard you press on the accelerator or by external factors like climbing hills or hauling loads. Based on how much air you need – and how much is available – your engine management computer tells your fuel injection system how much fuel to send to your engine. But what if the computer is getting the wrong information about how much air is coming into your engine? Well, it would send the wrong amount of fuel and your engine performance would suffer.
The Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor measures the volume, temperature and density of the air flowing into your engine. With that information, the computer calculates how much oxygen is available to burn and adjusts the amount of fuel it sends. A dirty or damaged MAF sensor can give the wrong readings, hurt your fuel economy, damage the catalytic converter, reduce engine performance, trigger the Check Engine light and, worst case, stop your engine.
Remember that you can drive your car if the Check Engine light is on - unless it's flashing. If your Check Engine light indicates an MAF problem, Hometown Garage recommends that you take action before you damage your catalytic converter.
How does an MAF sensor get damaged? Well, let's look at this process again. As air comes into your engine, it first passes through the engine air filter. Dust, road grime, pollen and other contaminants are, hopefully, trapped in the filter. If the engine air filter becomes clogged, some of the pollutants can pass through and hit the MAF sensor. Thus, a clean engine air filter protects your MAF sensor. Reason number 47 to replace your engine air filter as recommended.
Now if your MAF sensor is contaminated, you may be able to clean it with an air induction cleaning service at Hometown Garage in Portland. This service also cleans your throttle body and other fuel system components. In those circumstances where the MAF sensor is not only contaminated but actually damaged, it will need to be replaced. (And it costs a whole lot more than an engine air filter.)
Your Hometown Garage can quickly inspect your engine air filter to see if you need a new one. A caution: low-line air filters may actually contribute to MAF sensor failure as filter material can come loose and contaminate the sensitive sensor elements - filter material is just as harmful as outside gunk.
When your friendly and knowledgeable Hometown Garage recommends you replace your engine air filter, now you know how much is riding on that inexpensive but simple part.