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How To Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Knowing how to reset mass air flow sensor can help restore your vehicle’s performance back to normal and save you from costly repairs down the road. Here we provide a step-by-step guide on how to diagnose when it’s necessary to reset your Mass Air Flow Sensor as well as what actions need take once you know you should go that route.

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How A Mass Flow Sensor Works ?

There are two main types of mass air flow sensors: hot wire and hot film.

Hot wire: These sensors operate by heating a thin wire element to a constant temperature. When air passes over the wire, it cools it down, and the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) measures the current needed to maintain the wire’s target temperature. This data is utilized to determine the mass of airflow.

Hot film: These sensors employ a similar principle to hot wire sensors but use a thin film element instead of a wire element.

If you’re interested in learning more about how the mass air flow sensor works, check out this informative video:

Where is the mass airflow sensor located

The mass airflow sensor (MAF) is a crucial component in a car’s air intake system, positioned between the air filter and the engine’s intake manifold. Its primary function is to measure the mass and velocity of incoming air, which plays a critical role in determining the optimal air-fuel mixture for combustion. In certain vehicle models, the MAF sensor combines with the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor, providing both airflow and temperature data to the engine control module. This integration allows for precise control of the engine’s performance. While the exact location of the MAF sensor may vary across car makes and models, it is typically found within the air intake duct or in close proximity to the air filter housing.

What Problems Can a Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor Cause

What Causes a MAF Sensor Not to Work?

Common Causes of MAF Sensor Issues:

Contamination: The MAF sensor can be affected by dirt, oil, or debris, reducing its ability to accurately monitor airflow.

Damage: Physical impacts from rocks or debris can cause damage to the MAF sensors.

Wiring Issues: Problems with the wiring, such as loose or corroded connections, can impact the functionality of the MAF sensors.

Internal Failures: Internal components wearing out or malfunctioning can lead to MAF sensor failures.

Incorrect Installation: Improperly installing the MAF sensor can result in engine performance problems.

How Do I Know if My MAF Sensor Is Working?

To determine the functionality of your MAF sensor, keep an eye out for the following indicators:

  • Engine light activation
  • Decreased fuel efficiency
  • Reduced engine power
  • Rough idling
  • Hesitation during acceleration
  • Abnormal engine noises
  • Black smoke emitting from the exhaust

These signs can help you assess the condition of your MAF sensor and diagnose any potential issues.

What Is the Mass Air Flow Sensors Reset Procedure

-Do You Have to Reset a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Resetting the mass air flow sensor is generally unnecessary. The MAF sensor, being a passive component, does not store data or require specific resetting procedures during replacement or reinstallation.

-When to Reset Mass Air Flow Sensors?

Resetting the ECM (Engine Control Module) may be necessary in certain cases, particularly after cleaning or replacing the MAF sensor. This procedure effectively clears error codes triggered by malfunctioning mass air flow sensors, allowing the newly installed sensor to provide accurate readings to the ECM.

Additionally, modifications to your vehicle’s air intake or exhaust system could also necessitate an ECM reset. This is because such alterations can impact the readings of the mass air flow sensor, causing fuel injection inaccuracies.

How to Test a Mass Air Flow Sensor with the Multimeter?

To troubleshoot issues with the mass air flow sensors, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the engine and disconnect the mass air flow sensors from the wiring harness.
  2. Set your multimeter to measure resistance (ohms).
  3. Locate the two wires that connect to the MAF sensors. One wire is for the sensor element, and the other is for the intake air temperature sensor (if applicable to your vehicle).
  4. Identify which wire is for the sensor element by consulting the vehicle’s service manual or wiring diagram.
  5. Touch one of the multimeter probes to the wire for the mass air flow sensors element, and touch the other probe to the other wire or to a ground wire.
  6. Check the multimeter for a resistance reading within the range specified in the vehicle’s service manual. If the reading falls outside of this range, it suggests that the mass air flow sensors may be faulty and in need of replacement.

How to Test a Mass Air Flow Sensor Without a Multimeter?

Performing a basic check on a mass air flow sensor without a multimeter can be challenging, but there are still effective methods to consider:

Visual Inspection: Carefully examine the mass air flow sensors for any visible damage, such as cracks, dents, or loose wires.

Listen for Unusual Sounds: Start the engine and attentively listen for any abnormal sounds, like whistling or hissing noises. Such sounds may indicate potential issues with the mass air flow sensors.

Road Test: Take your vehicle for a spin and pay close attention to any signs of diminished acceleration, reduced power, or decreased fuel efficiency.

Ensure Sensor Cleanliness: In certain cases, cleaning the mass air flow sensors can help restore proper functionality.

Related: How to Disable Saturn Security System?

How-To-Reset-Mass-Air-Flow-Sensor (3)

How to Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Method 1: Resetting the mass air flow sensor by idling the engine

Engine Cool Down: First, turn off the engine and allow it to cool down, especially if you’ve recently used the car.

MAF Sensor Disconnection: Once the engine has cooled down, locate the MAF sensor and disconnect it from its harness.

Cleaning or Replacement of MAF Sensor: Remove the MAF sensor for cleaning, preferably using specialized products such as CRC cleaner. If you are replacing the sensor, install the new one.

Engine Start-Up: Start the engine and let it run for about 5 to 6 seconds.

Engine Shutdown: After this brief run, turn off the engine and reconnect the MAF sensor to its harness.

Engine Code P0102: You may observe the engine code P0102 on your dashboard.

Memory Cleaning and Car Start-Up: Clean the memory and you’re all set to start the car. This essentially encompasses the process of reprogramming the Mass Air Flow sensor.

Method 2: Resetting the mass air flow sensor by disconnecting the battery

To improve the efficiency of your vehicle’s airflow, follow these steps:

1)Remove the Old MAF Sensor: Start by disconnecting the old MAF sensor, responsible for measuring air flow, similar to the throttle. You have the option to clean or repair it, reinstall it, or replace it entirely with a new one.

2)Disconnect the Battery: Next, detach the ground cable to disconnect the vehicle’s battery.

3)Wait for 10 Minutes: Allow both the old and new MAF sensor (if replaced) to remain disconnected for approximately 10 minutes.

4)Reconnect the MAF Sensor and Reset the Vehicle’s System: After the waiting period, reconnect the MAF sensor to its harness. Now, reset the vehicle’s system. Once completed, plug in the sensor and start the engine.

Method 3: Using a Paperclip

To reset the MAF Sensor on your own, follow these steps:

-Locate the Reset Port: Begin by inspecting the engine compartment and searching for the reset port under the hood.

-Insert a Paperclip: Once you have identified the reset port, carefully insert a paperclip into it.

-Turn the Paperclip: Gently turn the paperclip to the right. This action is part of the reset process.

-Start the Car: After performing the paperclip reset, start the car and observe the behavior of the MAF Sensor.

-Monitor the MAF Sensor: If the MAF Sensor responds as expected, it indicates a successful reset. However, if there is no improvement, it may be necessary to consult a mechanic for further diagnostics.

Method 4: Using Compressed Air

To clean with compressed air, follow these steps to ensure effective sensor maintenance:

  1. Start by using compressed air to clean the sensor, removing any dirt or contaminants.
  2. Turn the ignition key to the “ON” position.
  3. Attach the compressed air can to a clean air hose.
  4. Activate the compressed air by pressing and holding the nozzle to the air intake duct, located directly below the sensor, while cranking the engine.

Reset Steps:

  • Turn the ignition key to the “LOCK” position.
  • Turn the key back to the “ON” position.
  • While the engine is still running, release the button on the compressed air canister.
  • Allow the engine to run for at least ten minutes to complete the reset procedure.

How to Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor Code?

Resetting a mass air flow sensor code requires clearing the diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) stored in the electronic control module (ECM) that triggered the check engine light. To accomplish this, follow these steps:

Identify the code

To identify the specific code pertaining to the mass air flow sensor, utilize an OBD-II scanner. This scanner will not only display the code but also provide a comprehensive description for better understanding.

Fix the underlying issue

Prior to resetting the code, it is crucial to address any underlying problems with the MAF sensor or other engine components that may have triggered the code.

Clear the code

To clear the codes once the underlying issue is resolved, follow these professional steps:

  1. Locate your vehicle’s OBD-II port under the dashboard on the driver’s side.
  2. Connect the OBD-II scanner to the port.
  3. Start the engine without turning on the ignition.
  4. Follow the instructions on the scanner to access the “clear codes” or “erase codes” option.
  5. Choose the option to clear the codes.
  6. Wait for the scanner to confirm the successful clearance of the codes.

Test the engine performance

After performing code clearance, engine startup, and performance testing, the issue should be resolved with no reappearance of the code.

Will Disconnecting Battery Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Disconnecting the battery resets the mass air flow sensors in most cars. This occurs because the MAF sensor stores its settings in the car’s computer. When the battery is disconnected, the computer is reset, causing it to treat the MAF sensor as new. As a result, the computer starts learning the characteristics of the sensor.

What to Do After Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor

Do You Have to Reset Anything After Changing Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Yes. Resetting the Engine Control Unit (ECU) is necessary after replacing the MAF sensor. This can be achieved by either disconnecting the battery for at least 15 minutes or by utilizing an OBD-II scanner to clear any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) that might have been activated by the previous MAF sensor. Furthermore, conducting an idle relearn procedure or driving the vehicle for a specific duration will enable the ECU to adapt to the new MAF sensor values.

How Long Does It Take for a New Mass Air Flow Sensor to Reset?

Mass airflow sensors generally reset within 15 to 30 minutes of disconnecting the battery. However, it may take some time for the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to identify the new sensor and adjust its settings after replacing the MAF sensor.

Do You Need to Reprogram a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Reprogramming the mass air flow sensor itself is unnecessary. This passive component does not store data or require programming.

FAQs On How to Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor

Is It Ok to Drive Without MAF Sensor?

Yes. Driving without a Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is strongly discouraged. The MAF sensor plays a crucial role in the engine’s performance by providing accurate data for fuel mixture adjustment and ignition timing. Failing to have a functioning MAF sensor can result in various issues and significantly impact the drivability and overall performance of the engine.

Can I Just Unplug My Mass Airflow Sensor?

No. It is highly advised against unplugging the mass air flow sensors while the engine is running. Doing so can result in a variety of issues with your vehicle’s performance and potentially cause damage to your engine.

How Do You Bypass a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Bypassing a mass air flow sensor is not recommended as it can cause various issues with your vehicle’s performance and potentially damage your engine. However, if you must bypass the sensor, simply unplug it from the engine control unit (ECU). It is important to note that bypassing the MAF sensor may void your warranty.

How Do You Trick a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Tricking a Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is strongly discouraged due to its detrimental effects. In addition, it is important to note that tampering with the MAF sensor can be illegal and may lead to penalties or fines.

However, if there is a need to temporarily deceive the MAF sensor in order to keep the engine operational until the underlying issue can be identified and rectified, certain considerations should be taken into account.

How Do You Unclog a MAF Sensor?

To service the MAF sensor, follow these steps:

1)Locate the MAF sensor: The sensor is positioned between the air filter box and the throttle body.

2)Remove the MAF sensor: Start by disconnecting the electrical connector, then carefully detach it from its mounting position.

3)Clean the MAF sensor: Use a specialized MAF sensor cleaner, readily available at auto parts stores. Directly spray the cleaner onto the sensor wire or element, ensuring to follow the directions on the cleaner label for proper cleaning of the mass air flow sensor.

4)Let the MAF sensor dry: Allow the sensor to air dry thoroughly before reinstalling it. This may take a few minutes.

5)Reinstall the MAF sensor: Gently place the mass air flow sensor back into its mounting location and reconnect the electrical connector.

6)Reset the ECM: Clear any fault codes by resetting the engine control module (ECM).

Does Cleaning the MAF Sensor Always Work?

In some cases, cleaning a MAF sensor can help restore proper engine performance, but its effectiveness depends on the reason for the malfunction and the extent of contamination. However, it’s important to note that cleaning the MAF sensor may not always produce the desired results.

Is It Better to Clean a Mass Air Flow Sensor or Buy a New One?

Determining whether to clean or replace a mass airflow sensor depends on the severity of the problem. If the sensor is slightly dirty, cleaning may suffice. However, for heavily contaminated or damaged sensors, cleaning may not be sufficient. To ensure the correct course of action, it is advisable to consult with a qualified mechanic who can diagnose the issue and provide expert recommendations.

Do You Have to Calibrate a New Mass Air Flow Sensor?

In most cases, calibrating a new mass air flow sensor is unnecessary. However, it is crucial to ensure that the replacement MAF sensor is compatible with your car’s make and model. Keep in mind that certain MAF sensors may have different electrical connections or might require adapters for proper fitment.

What Is the Lifespan of a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

The lifespan of the mass air flow sensor varies depending on the brand, model of your car, and types of driving you engage in. Generally, these sensors can last from 50,000 to 100,000 miles.

Can a Dirty Air Filter Cause a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Yes. Dirty air filters can cause mass air flow sensor failure, as the MAF sensor measures the engine’s air intake. When the air filter is dirty, it restricts airflow and leads to incorrect MAF sensor readings. Ensuring a clean air filter is crucial for optimal engine performance.


We hope this article was helpful in answering the question how to reset mass air flow sensor. The Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is an important part of your car’s engine, as it plays a crucial role in determining how much air is entering the combustion chamber. Resetting the MAF sensor is not difficult and can be done in two ways – either by disconnecting the battery or letting the engine idle for a few seconds and then resetting the computer memory.

It is also advisable to clean or replace the MAF sensor every now and then to keep it working properly. Following these steps should help you reset your MAF sensor correctly.

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

2 thoughts on “How To Reset Mass Air Flow Sensor?”

  1. 1. Start the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature.
    2. Turn off the ignition switch.
    3. Disconnect the harness connector of the mass air flow sensor.
    4. Restart the engine and let it idle for at least 5 seconds.
    5. Stop the engine and reconnect the harness connector of the mass air flow sensor.
    6. Verify if DTC P0102 is displayed.
    7. Erase the DTC memory.

  2. To reset the MAF sensor, follow these steps for best results:

    1/Idle your engine without the sensor installed for at least 10 seconds.
    2/Alternatively, reset the MAF sensor by removing the negative battery terminal and waiting for 10 minutes.


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