Symptoms of a Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor For Those in Automotive School

A vehicle’s mass air flow (MAF) sensor is a crucial component of the fuel injection system. This sensor calculates how much air is entering the engine, allowing the engine computer to calculate how much fuel should be injected in order for the engine to function properly. If the MAF sensor malfunctions, this can cause significant problems for a vehicle’s performance, as the engine control module won’t be able to calculate the right amount of fuel needed to power the vehicle. 

If you’re considering a career as an auto mechanic, discover the symptoms of a failing mass airflow sensor below. Familiarizing yourself with these common symptoms will enable you to quickly diagnose a MAF sensor issue and develop an effective solution.

Once You Become an Auto Mechanic, Look for Signs of Acceleration Problems

If a vehicle is having trouble accelerating smoothly, this could be a sign that the MAF sensor is malfunctioning. When a vehicle stalls, hesitates, or jerks at the press of the gas pedal, it’s likely that there’s too much fuel in the combustion chamber. This is an indication that the MAF sensor isn’t sending the right information to the engine control module. When there’s too much fuel remaining in the combustion chamber, this results in untimed detonations, making for a bumpy acceleration. Not only can this create an unpleasant driving experience, but it also poses a serious risk to drivers’ safety. After you become an auto mechanic, make sure to check the status of the MAF sensor at the first sign of acceleration trouble.

Acceleration problems can indicate a problem with the mass airflow sensor

The Air Fuel Ratio is Too Rich or Lean

When the MAF sensor isn’t working properly, the amount of fuel within an engine’s combustion cylinders will either be too much or too little in comparison with the amount of air. When a vehicle is running “rich,” this means there’s too much fuel and not enough air. Key indications that a vehicle is running rich include a reduction in fuel efficiency, choppy idling, and the emission of black smoke from the exhaust pipe. When there’s too little fuel present in the combustion cylinders, the vehicle is running “lean.” After automotive school, you’ll be able to tell that a vehicle is running lean when an engine has trouble starting, and surges or hesitates while the vehicle is in motion.

When the wrong amount of fuel is injected into the engine, a number of vehicle problems may follow

The Check Engine Light is On

Although an illuminated Check Engine light can mean many different things, it can also indicate that the MAF sensor is malfunctioning, especially if a vehicle is experiencing any of the symptoms above. To determine whether the Check Engine light is the result of a bad MAF sensor, professionals in automotive careers can use an OBD-II scanner to determine what diagnostic trouble code comes up. If the code reads P0101, this is typically a clear indication that the MAF sensor is either obstructed, dirty, or bad. As a final note, though, it’s important to point out that this diagnostic code can also appear as a result of issues such as a clogged air filter, vacuum leaks, or a clogged exhaust system. 

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