Some novice drivers may not be aware of the importance of the air flow sensor. This component is one of the most compulsory car accessories. Yet, can you drive with a bad mass air flow sensor?
What would happen if your mass air flow went bad? If you are experiencing this situation, how do you fix it? This article will answer all your concerns and recommend some effective and practical solutions to handle the problem.
Can You Drive With A Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor?
No more waiting; we will address your question immediately. The good news is you can drive with a bad mass air flow sensor. However, a bad sensor can cause dangerous engine hiccups, so you are only allowed to handle this faulty component for a specified amount of time.
In particular, defective air flow sensors can lead to driving problems. You may suffer from a shortage of engine power, failure to start the engine, or reduced acceleration throughout the driving.
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At first, you may ignore these issues, but over time they will completely destroy your vehicle. Hence, you need to be conscious of any potential symptoms that a bad mass air flow sensor possibly causes. This can help you protect your budget from incurred costs.
Is It Possible To Drive With A Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor With No Check Engine Light?
The answer is yes. You can control a car with a bad sensor with no check engine light but for a certain duration. Sometimes, the check engine light doesn’t show up as you have followed our guide on how to disable check engine light permanently.
Car experts recommend that you should not stick to running vehicles with this problem. That’s because you may experience severe engine troubles, as we have listed above.
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Obviously, a faulty sensor will cause the engine or even the entire car to fail. At that time, you will have to pay the replacement costs for the repair services. You may not know, the expense of replacing the motor is much heftier than the payment of fixing the sensor.
Hence, don’t underestimate the air flow sensor function. You should clean and maintain it regularly. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, prevention is better than cure.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor?
Stalling During Acceleration
The most common telltale sign showing your sensor is deteriorating is poor driveability, including stalling during acceleration, hesitations, or immediate jerking movements. The reason is that a bad sensor causes excess deposited fuel in the combustion chambers, which creates untimed detonations.
This symptom can arise when you speed up meandering down city pathways or highway ramps. These problems can bring about fatal scenarios like traffic accidents or injuries.
Rich Or Lean Air Fuel Ratio
Surprisingly, a bad mass air flow sensor can lead to running rich. This situation means the air in the combustion cylinder is not enough to ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber. A car in poor working order shows warnings such as rough idling, black smoke emitting the tailpipe, or bad fuel efficiency.
When the sensor is faulty or its wires are covered with dirt, it can’t calculate air flow precisely and send the correct information to the Powertrain Control Module. For instance, suppose it overrates the air flow; the Powertrain Control Module will give off more fuel than the necessary amount.
On the other hand, a faulty air flow sensor can give rise to the running lean phenomenon, the counterpart of running rich. This incident implies less fuel in the car’s combustion chamber, while the air that the air flow takes in is too much.
Why Do MAF Sensors Go Bad?
You might be surprised, but the principal reason for airflow sensor failure is contamination. When dirty, debris, and dusty air come into the mass sensor, its parts will become contaminated and malfunctioning.
At this point, car owners may encounter some engine troubles such as poor acceleration, rough idling, sluggish performance, or stalling.
When will your vehicle get contaminated? It depends on the car model. Normally, vehicle contamination might occur after you have driven about 18,000 to 25,000 miles.
This phenomenon usually happens earlier for mid-range and compact cars because the sensor is installed in the smaller engine compartment.
As a result, you have to put up with more hazards in significant areas compared to big cars. For example, you may go through some general deficiency problems such as:
- Spoiled measuring elements;
- Contact error at the electrical agents;
- Mechanical devastation including accidents or vibrations;
- Exceeding measuring component drift.
How to Troubleshoot a Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor?
If you are experiencing driving with a bad mass air flow sensor, it’s wise to fix it immediately due to the potential danger. Luckily, you can perform this troubleshooting as a DIY project with the following steps.
- Check the connector whether it contacts and fits correctly.
- Examine the mass sensor to detect any contamination, if any.
- Look over the measuring parts of the air flow sensor.
- Turn the ignition on and scrutinize the voltage supply. You can inquire into the circuit description to observe the pin assignment. The reference value is between 7.5 and 14 volts.
- Start the engine and look into an output voltage. Check the circuit diagram whether its reference value is between 0 and 5 volts.
- Check the connectors between the sensor and the unplugged control units. If necessary, you can look up the circuit diagram. Its reference value is nearly 0 Ohm.
- Use an engine management controller to test the air flow sensor electronically. If there is any fault, look for this error code in the control unit storage. After that, you can get it via the diagnostic equipment.
Note: To examine the frequency and voltage signal of the mass air flow sensor, you can connect the voltage signal conductor and ground cable to a voltmeter.
At this point, you must have resolved your question: Can you drive with a bad mass air flow sensor? Overall, you can control your car with a defective air flow sensor, but this is not advisable.
This phenomenon is relatively common and easy to spot, as shown above. If you detect any warning related to engine hiccups, you should carry out repairs and replacements as soon as possible.