What Does The Map Sensor Do? (3.1L V6 Chevrolet and Pontiac Vehicles)

What Does The MAP Sensor Do? (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 3.1L V6 Chevrolet: Beretta, Corsica, Lumina, Malibu, Monte Carlo, Pontiac: Grand Am, Grand Prix)

The manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor is an important component of your vehicle's engine management system. It's one of the many input sensors the fuel injection computer relies upon to keep the engine running smoothly.

In this article, you'll find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the MAP sensor.

In Spanish You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: ¿Que Función Tiene El Sensor MAP? (Vehículos Chevrolet y Pontiac Con Motor 3.1L V6) (at: autotecnico-online.com).

This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:

  • 3.1L V6 Chevrolet Beretta: 1994, 1995, 1996.
  • 3.1L V6 Chevrolet Corsica: 1994, 1995, 1996.
  • 3.1L V6 Chevrolet Lumina: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.
  • 3.1L V6 Chevrolet Malibu: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.
  • 3.1L V6 Chevrolet Monte Carlo: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999.
  • 3.1L V6 Pontiac Grand Am: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998.
  • 3.1L V6 Pontiac Grand Prix: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.

What Does A MAP Sensor Do?

In a nutshell, the MAP sensor is responsible for measuring the vacuum pressure inside the intake manifold.

If your vehicle does not come equipped with a MAF sensor, the MAP sensor is part of a triad of input sensors that the fuel injection computer uses to calculate the amount of air entering the engine as it runs.

This triad of sensors is the MAP sensor, the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor, and the crankshaft position (CKP) sensor.

If your vehicle comes equipped with a MAF sensor, then the fuel injection computer uses the MAP sensor to:

  • Take a barometric pressure reading right before you start the engine.
  • To receive engine load input once the engine starts.

What Happens When A MAP Sensor Goes Bad?

When the MAP sensor fails, it simply stops measuring the intake manifold's vacuum.

Without this intake manifold vacuum measurement, the fuel injection computer cannot calculate the engine's load. This in turn will cause driveability, emissions, and engine performance problems.

Since the fuel injection computer continuously monitors the MAP sensor's output signal, when a fault occurs, one of the following diagnostic codes will be stored and the check engine light will come on.

  • On OBD II equipped vehicles (1995 or newer), you'll see:
    • P0106: MAP Sensor System Performance.
    • P0107: MAP Sensor Circuit Low Voltage.
    • P0108: MAP Sensor Circuit High Voltage.
  • On OBD I equipped vehicles (1994 or older), you'll see:
    • 33: MAP Sensor Signal Voltage High.
    • 34: MAP Sensor Signal Voltage Low.

You're also going to see one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Bad gas mileage.
  2. Lack of power.
  3. Black smoke coming out of the tailpipe.
  4. Engine suffers a very rough idle.
  5. The engine may start and immediately stall.
  6. The engine has to be cranked longer than usual for it to start (this is called extended cranking).
  7. A heavier than normal exhaust smell when the engine is running.
  8. Won't pass the emissions test.

How Can You Tell If A MAP Sensor Is Bad?

Simply put, the best way to find out if the MAP sensor has failed is to test it.

Simply put, the most effective way to determine if the MAP sensor is bad is to test it. Diagnosing a MAP sensor to check its condition is a straightforward process that involves performing a simple test using a multimeter.

Here's the basic MAP sensor test procedure:

  • Check for MAP sensor trouble codes with a code reader or scan tool.
  • Make sure that the MAP sensor is receiving 5 Volts DC.
  • Make sure that the MAP sensor is receiving Ground.
  • Make sure that the sensor's MAP voltage signal increases/decreases as vacuum is applied/released to it.

If the MAP voltage signal does not increase/decrease as you apply/release vacuum to the MAP sensor, then you can conclude that your vehicle's MAP sensor is bad and needs replacement.

I've written a tutorial that'll help you test the MAP sensor using a vacuum pump and a multimeter. You can find it here:

Can I Drive My Vehicle With A Bad MAP Sensor?

Depending on the severity of the symptoms the faulty MAP sensor is causing, you probably won't be able to drive the vehicle. But even if you could, you should avoid doing so.

Why? Because when the MAP sensor fails, it's either going to cause the fuel injection computer to inject too much fuel or not enough.

If too much fuel is injected into the engine cylinders, you risk:

  1. Damage to the catalytic converter.
  2. Accelerated wear and tear on the piston rings.
  3. Fuel will seep into the crankcase (across the piston rings). This fuel will eventually start to dilute the engine oil.

If the MAP sensor is causing the fuel injection computer to inject less fuel, then you risk:

  1. Damage to the cylinder intake and exhaust valves. This is due to the fact that the engine is running on a lean air fuel mixture that will cause the cylinder head valves to run hotter than usual.

Any electronic fuel injection system problem should be diagnosed and resolved as soon as possible.

Where To Buy The MAP Sensor And Save

The following MAP sensors are all from known automotive brands (no knockoffs!). They fit the 3.1L V6 Chevrolet and Pontiac vehicles covered by this tutorial.

More 3.1L V6 Chevrolet, Pontiac Tutorials

You can find a complete list of 3.1L V6 Chevrolet (Pontiac) tutorials in this index:

Here's a small sample of the tutorials you'll find in the index:

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Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • Beretta 3.1L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996
  • Corsica 3.1L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996
  • Lumina 3.1L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Malibu 3.1L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Monte Carlo 3.1L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

Pontiac Vehicles:

  • Grand Am 3.1L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Grand Prix 3.1L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003