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?

How To Clean The GM Mass Air Flow (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:

  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.

Why Clean The MAF Sensor?

Cleaning a dirty mass air flow (MAF) sensor saves you money. How? Well, savings at the gas pump for one since you'll get better gas mileage.

Savings at the auto repair shop, since most shops prefer to replace it rather than clean it (very few of the repair shops I have worked at wanted to clean them since the profit margin of cleaning was/is less than that of selling you a new one, not to mention that they will NOT tell you it's only dirty).

Your carbon footprint will be less, since you will be polluting less, not to mention that you'll be getting your engine's worth of power. Since a dirty MAF sensor makes the engine pollute more and produce less power.

Alright, enough of the b.s. and let's get started with the actual step by step cleaning of the GM mass air flow (MAF) sensor (Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and GMC models).

Step 1: Remove The MAF Sensor From Vehicle

Remove The MAF Sensor From Vehicle. How To Clean The GM Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor

Remove the mass air flow sensor from the car or truck.

Once off, your MAF sensor should look like the one in the photo.

Buick Vehicles:

  • Century 3.1L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Rendezvous 3.4L
    • 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Roadmaster 5.7L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Skylark 3.1L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998

Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • Astro 4.3L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Beretta 3.1L
    • 1996
  • Caprice
    • 1994, 1995, 1996
  • Express Van 4.3L, 5.0L, 5.7L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000

Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • Impala
    • 1994, 1995, 1996
  • Lumina (sedan) 3.1L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Lumina APV 3.4L
    • 1996
  • Malibu 3.1L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • Monte Carlo 3.4L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Silverado C1500, C2500, C3500
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
  • S10 Blazer 4.3L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Chevrolet Vehicles:

  • S10 Pick Up 4.3L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Tahoe 5.7L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
  • Venture 3.4L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

GMC Vehicles:

  • Envoy 4.3L
    • 1998, 1999, 2000
  • Sierra K1500, K2500, K3500
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
  • S15 Jimmy
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

GMC Vehicles:

  • S15 Sonoma
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • Safari 4.3L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Savana Van 4.3L, 5.0L, 5.7L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000

GMC Vehicles:

  • Yukon 5.7L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000

Pontiac Vehicles:

  • Aztek 3.4L
    • 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Grand Am 3.1L, 3.4L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Pontiac Vehicles:

  • Grand Prix 3.1L, 3.4L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Montana 3.4L
    • 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • Trans Sport 3.4L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998

Oldsmobile Vehicles:

  • Achieva 3.1L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Alero 3.4L
    • 2001, 2002
  • Bravada 4.3L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

Oldsmobile Vehicles:

  • Cutlass Supreme 3.1L
    • 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Intrigue 3.5L
    • 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
  • Silhoutte
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

Isuzu Vehicles:

  • Hombre 4.3L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000