How to clean an air flow meter

Written by alibaster smith
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The air flow meter or mass air flow meter, also called a mass air flow sensor, measures the amount of air travelling through the air intake system on your vehicle. Most air flow meters are located directly on the air intake tubing for easy access. The meter collects data regarding the air flow and send this information to the vehicle's ECU where the fuel can be properly metered. The idea mixture of air to fuel is 14.7 parts air to one part gasoline. If your air flow meter is dirty or malfunctioning, it will be unable to measure the correct amount of air coming into the air intake, making it difficult for your vehicle to provide an optimal mix of air and gasoline to the engine.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Electronic parts cleaner
  • Philips head screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Locate the air intake. This is a long tube connected to the throttle body at the engine and the air cleaner box at the other end of the tube. The mass air flow meter is normally located closest to the air box.

  2. 2

    Unplug the electrical connectors running to the air flow meter.

  3. 3

    Remove the retaining screws holding the air flow meter in place.

  4. 4

    Pull the air flow meter out of the air intake.

  5. 5

    Lay the meter on a flat surface so that the sensor is facing up, and spray the sensor heavily with electronic parts cleaner. This cleaner will evaporate naturally on its own, so you'll have to wait for it to dry before reinstalling the meter.

  6. 6

    Check the sensor for any debris. Respray the sensor as needed to clean all of the debris off the end of the sensor.

  7. 7

    Reinstall the air flow sensor. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Tips and warnings

  • For specific information on removing your vehicle's air flow meter, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see Resources).
  • Never touch the sensor with your fingers or hands. The sensor wires are extremely delicate and could break.

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