How To Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor?

A mass airflow sensor (MAS) is an important messenger of the car’s ECU, it helps to calculate the mass of air entering the engine. The air mass data is essential for the ECU to accurately adjust and convey the right measure of fuel to the motor. At the point when it goes bad, it’s anything but an assortment of issues. It brings about lackluster performance from your motor.

Learn how to reset mass air flow sensor in this easy article, along with basic precautions that you should follow while doing the job.

What Are The Common Causes Of A Bad Mass Airflow Sensor?

Pollution and dirt are the key factors behind why MAF sensors fizzle out. As air, grime, and other trash get into the sensor, the parts become tainted and get covered in carbon. Another reason for the mass airflow sensor to go bad is the heater element in the sensor going bad or short. Again, the root causes are the environmental agents.

Routine upkeep and air cleaner maintenance can widen the life of your MAF sensor. It will guarantee that it will keep on working effectively. While the specific planned changes dependent on where and the amount you drive, a decent guideline to follow is each 10,000 to 12,000 miles.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Mass Airflow Sensor?

A faulty MAF will cause issues like low pressure or vacuum leak-like symptoms, resulting in poor idle and bad performance of the car. It can cause the engine very hard to start or to stall shortly after starting. There will be hesitation or drags while under load or idling conditions. You will face the classic hesitation and jerky acceleration. The fuel economy will drop due to excessively rich or lean fuel mixture.

How To Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor?

You can clean, service and rest, rather than replace the expensive mass airflow sensor in an easy manner. The cleaning process is fairly simple and here are the 5 easy steps that you can follow-

1. Locate The Air Box Of The Engine

It is important to know the location of the airbox while learning how to reset mass air flow sensor. The air filter is usually found at the end of the air stream, leading to your throttle valve assembly and intake manifold. It is found as a compartment in an air duct to the throttle valve assembly under the hood of your car. The mass airflow sensor will be located in the air duct exiting the air filter box.

2. Disconnect The Car Battery

It is always a good idea to disconnect the car battery when doing any regular maintenance or electrical work. That being said, if the key is off, there is no power going to the MAS sensor, the odds of anything causing damage are quite low but still the ECU is sometimes awake and it can throw an error. It is even comparative in the high-end complex cars.

3. Remove Airflow Sensor

Using a wrench with a correct socket, remove the bolts securing the MAF air box. Carefully unscrew the clip and detach the vacuum hose connected to the MAF air box. After removing the sensor, place the MAF on a clean work surface. Make sure that the sensor probe connector is facing up. Following this, you must remove the screws using the correct security bit.

4. Steps To Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor

The cheapest option would be to pull out your mass airflow sensor and put it in a plastic bag filled with rubbing alcohol. Move it around, the alcohol will wash all of the dirt and grime from the sensor. Another option would be to use a special mass airflow sensor cleaner and spray it onto your sensor, but as stated before, this is more expensive.

Make 10 to 15 spurts of the mass air flower cleaner onto the sensor element. Don’t scrub the parts at all. It may break the wire or damage the plate. Completely dry out the sensor before reinstalling it in the air duct.

5. Reset The ECU If Required

In order to gain the optimum results of the whole reset job, it is wise to reset the car’s ECU. You can disconnect the negative and after that, just leave it for 10-15 min. A dirty MAF, that required cleaning, might have caused some odd learning regarding fueling. While eventually, it would balance out, resetting the ECU will give it a fresh slate. You can also use a scanner tool to rest the learning. 

Can You Always Clean Mass Airflow Sensor?

Although the mass airflow sensor is a simple heater element that measures the airflow into the car engine, there are certain situations when you just cannot get a good result by just resetting the MAF. It is important to know those situations while learning steps of how to reset mass air flow sensor. Sometimes the element has gone too far bad that replacing it is the only option left.

Also in most high-end cars, each bank of cylinders has a separate Mass airflow sensor, and they require that both the sensors should be working within the desired spectrum. So in those cases, just cleaning is not going to do any benefit.

How Much Will It Cost To Reset Mass Airflow Sensor?

If you are going in for the cheap way i.e, by using the bag of rubbing alcohol, then you can perform the job fairly cheap for under 10$. Another option is to use those specialized mass airflow sensor cleaners that you can get from a parts store. They come in a variety of ranges, but you can get your hand on a decent one for around 20$.

If the mass airflow sensor has gone bad, then replacing is the only option and in that case, you will be shelling out somewhere around 100-500$ depending on the make and model of the car. Getting it repaired from outside can cost you additional labor of 20$.


How to reset mass air flow sensor is not that of a tricky question if you know what to expect and how to go about the cleaning and resting process. You should be careful while handling the sensor as it has a delicate element sitting inside it. If you still have any doubts, then feel free to comment.

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