How To Clean The GM Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor

This MAF sensor is used in all of the different GM Makes: Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and of course GMC (you'll find a complete list of models below). Since this is an OFF-CAR cleaning, the MAF sensor has to be removed from the car or truck.

You'll find the whole MAF sensor cleaning process explained step by step in plain english and with photos, making this job as easy and as pain free as possible.

En Español You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Limpiar el Sensor de Flujo de Aire (MAF) de GM (at: autotecnico-online.com).

Symptoms Of A Dirty MAF Sensor

The most common symptoms of a Dirty mass air flow sensor are:

  1. Lack of power. It's as if there were a time lag between when the accelerator pedal is depressed and engine reaction.
  2. Check engine light is on in the instrument cluster and the codes you may find could be:
    1. MAF Sensor Codes.
    2. Fuel Trim Codes.
    3. Rich/Lean Codes.
  3. Bad gas mileage.

What Causes The MAF Sensor To Get Dirty?

There are several conditions that can cause the MAF sensor to get dirty. Let's explore them a bit since knowing this will help you to avoid a repeat of the problem.

  1. Air Filter is missing.
  2. Air Filter is torn or missing pieces.
  3. Air Filter is not properly set in place in its assembly.
  4. Air Filter Box assembly is broken, letting in unfiltered air.

If any of the above apply to your car or truck, your MAF sensor's hot-wires are probably dirty and in need of cleaning.


What Do I Use To Clean The MAF Sensor?

We can't just use any type of solvent to clean the MAF sensor with. Here are a couple of very important guidelines on what to use:

CRC MAF Sensor Cleaning Spray
  1. An Electronics Spray Cleaner can be used.
    1. You can buy it at your local auto parts store (AutoZone, Pepboys, O'Reilly, etc).
    2. You can buy it at your local electronics store (Radio Shack, Fry's, etc).
  2. Or you can buy a MAF sensor cleaning spray. Yes, there is one designed just for cleaning MAF sensors.
    1. This cleaner is made by CRC Industries and its part number is: 05110.
    2. You can buy it at your local auto parts store (AutoZone, Pepboys, O'Reilly, etc).
  3. Don't use carburator or brake clean spray or gasoline.
    1. These solvents will leave a residue on the wires.
    2. Not to mention the harsh solvent can damage the MAF sensor's electronics.
  4. Also, don't attempt to physically clean the sensor with anything (like a cotton swab) or you may break the wires.