The mass airflow (MAF) sensor communicates with your vehicle’s engine control module (ECM). It sends information regarding how much air is flowing into the engine at all times. The ECM uses this data to make adjustments in the combustion chamber. University Auto Repair warns that if the mass airflow sensor is going bad, the information that it is sending to the ECM could be skewed and you will notice the following signs of problems listed below.
Check/Service Engine Light
Sometimes, the MAF sensor will send an error code to the ECM to let it know that it has failed. The ECM will turn on the Check Engine light or Service Engine Soon light to make sure you know there’s a problem underneath the hood.
You may also experience a loss in your ability to accelerate your automobile. This could be because the mass airflow sensor is sending the wrong air readings to the ECM and it increases the air in the combustion chamber as a result.
Your engine will also idle roughly in this case because it is being starved for fuel. As you are sitting at an idle, you will feel your engine idle sputter and stutter as it fights not to stall. It might stall eventually if there is excess air in the combustion chamber.
Fuel Economy Loss
The ECM can also send too much gas into the combustion chamber if the mass airflow sensor readings are off. This will cause you to lose gas mileage because your vehicle will burn off any excess fuel that it does not need.
A sure sign that your engine is burning too much fuel is black exhaust flowing out of the tailpipe. When the engine burns fuel, the exhaust color it creates is black. If your exhaust is blue, the engine is burning oil. White exhaust means the engine is burning coolant.
An engine that is starved for fuel will sputter and misfire. An engine that has too much fuel will surge or even stall because it is flooded. Again, if the MAF sensor is sending incorrect readings to the engine control module, the ECM may make adjustments that will directly affect your engine’s performance.
Finally, depending on what’s going on inside the combustion chamber, you may find it difficult or impossible to start your automobile. This can be caused by many things, and a bad mass airflow sensor is one of them.