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Old 03-01-2010, 11:33 AM   #1
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Cleaning MAF - overall success rate of cleaning vs replacing?

I got a CEL recently. checking the code here - it is my MAF. I cleared th code, and it came back w/in 30 min of driving. same code.

I bought the MAF cleaner and am going to clean it this weekend.

I'm obviously going to try cleaning it first as that cost me nothing more than the price of the MAF cleaner.

I'm just wondering - is the average 'success' rate for cleaning a maf high or low? meaning - are the odds in my favor that this will actually correct my problem and if so - for how long? do the MAFs typically fail at a certain point and MUST be repalced, or do some MAFS go "forever" and simply need cleaning?

my car has 77k miles. it's the original MAF. my water pump recently went out and I was told, and confirmed here, that MANY of them fail at about when mine did and so even had I limpedmine along even furhter, it was just a matter of WHEN, not *if* it was going to fail. I'm wondering if hte MAF is the same way,a nd so even though I may clean it...I should just expect that I will have to repalce is sometime in the near future???

also, if I just changed out the MAF with a new one, should I expect the car to drive/perform any better vs if I just clean it? my car seems to run fine, I do notice some VERYm ild rpm fluctuation at idel..but it's MINOR...overall I'd say my car seems to run fine...

just wondering if cleaning the MAF is likely going to be a nice cheap fix or jus ta band aid on a a future imminent failure???

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Old 03-01-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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My experience

is that the codes can be for many things. One I thought was MAF from the one line description (and what people were posting) turned out to be an air leak in the intake but could have been 3 or 4 other things. I cleaned the MAF first. And am still running 3 years and about 8k miles later with the original MAF (56K miles total). But, at least in my case, the MAF itself wasn't the problem though from the code it could have been.

Post the code Pnnnn and we'll give you a list of what it could be direct from the folks who designed in those codes.

At least cleaning the darn thing gives you an excuse to buy a new tool and the cleaner itself is pretty darn cheap. And if it works, a big win.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:55 AM   #3
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It's a band aid. Look around on past threads,people always end up replacing them.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:25 PM   #4
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If you know for sure the code is being thrown from a bad MAF sensor, then cleaning it will only be a temporary fix.

What is the code that the car is throwing?
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkwatt
It's a band aid. Look around on past threads,people always end up replacing them.
+1 from me
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:41 PM   #6
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what code is it throwing?
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:53 PM   #7
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I cleaned my MAF & throttle body @ 65,000km (both looked very clean), I then bought a Durametric and checked the codes @ 69,000km and found code P0102 - Mass Air Sensor below limit value. The MAF was replaced (warranty) and I found a real improvement in mid-range engine response and a de-crease in fuel consumption.
So I suspect that the MAF failure is not just an on/off type breakdown but is a gradual degradation so you don't immdediately notice a falloff in performance....
That Durametric paid for itself first time out - what a great tool !
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:16 PM   #8
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just because cleaning it is a temporary fix does not mean it isnt worth doing... I was throwing codes related to the maf. Cleaned it and cleared it and it hasnt come back several hundreds of miles later.

if you doint want to spring for a new MAF a few dollars spent on cleaner will buy you some time.
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:31 PM   #9
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just because cleaning it is a temporary fix does not mean it isnt worth doing... I was throwing codes related to the maf. Cleaned it and cleared it and it hasnt come back several hundreds of miles later.

if you doint want to spring for a new MAF a few dollars spent on cleaner will buy you some time.

Agreed, it's not like you have to do major dissassembly or spend a lot to clean it first, although I must say the heads on the fasteners holding mine in just pissed me off; just how many different wrenches are they going to make me buy?
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:37 PM   #10
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this is exactly what was displayed on my scanner tool...

P0102
MIL ON
MONITRS
4 inc
catalyst
evap
sec air
O2 sensor
4 ready
Misfire
Fuel
Comp
O2 HTR

I know the first line was the errror code, the rest of the stuff is gibberish to me.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:01 PM   #11
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what tuner is it. if its the 40ish dollar actron then everything after the code is just option screens or somthing.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:52 PM   #12
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yes, it is the cheapy litle $40ish reader made by actron..I got it at Pepboys a few years back...

so basically all I know is this:

P0102

I cleared the code, it came right back. the car seems to run fine.

the only thing that was somewhat abnormal/different about the day the CEL came on first was that I hit my rev limiter... I wasn't paying attention, and revved it up and BAM...hit the limiter. felt like it misfired or somethign... later on that same drive the CEL came on. at first I thought hitting the limiter did it...but the code is supposedly MAF related....

my car seems to drive fine. nothign out of the ordinary at all.

if this is the MAF, then maybe I shoudl just bite the bullet and change it out. ?? I have the cleaner...so I could clean it, but if I"m just delaying the inevitable...

or is this code really potentially all sorts of other things? can the dealer poinpoint WHAT is really wrong with their equipment?

my car is going in to the dealer tomorrow to get a road force balance job on all four wheels AND to get an oil change. (i get free oil changes at the dealer)

so while it is there - I could ask them to look at it. although if it IS the MAF, no way I'm paying them full price to replace it when I see how much cheaper they can be had via the internet and how easy it is to change it. but I could get an expert diagnosis...if in fact they can figure out exactly what it is w/their equipment... as I'ms ure they have more exact diagnostic tools than my stupid little $40 code reader...


thanks.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 23109VC
this is exactly what was displayed on my scanner tool...

P0102
MIL ON
MONITRS
4 inc
catalyst
evap
sec air
O2 sensor
4 ready
Misfire
Fuel
Comp
O2 HTR

I know the first line was the errror code, the rest of the stuff is gibberish to me.
You should read your manual that came with the reader, but if I'm reading this right, the first line shows the error code. The next line is saying your CEL light is on. The line after that is saying there are 4 incomplete monitors that are not ready to be read, and then lists them. Then, it shows the other 4 that are complete and ready to monitor. This info is useful if you are planning to get your state inspection, recently cleared any codes and want to know if you've driven enough to reset all the monitors.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:43 PM   #14
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The P0102 code

could be:
Open circuit
Short circuit to ground
Mass air flow sensor

The diagnostic flow chart suggests checking both sides of the MAF to DME wiring before it finally leads you to the change MAF box where it also suggests an air filter replacement.

Easy way is a MAF swap and drive for an hour with CEL turned off. No CEL after a long drive, problem solved. But that assumes you have the MAF part to throw at the problem and that gets expensive.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 23109VC
yes, it is the cheapy litle $40ish reader made by actron..I got it at Pepboys a few years back...

so basically all I know is this:

P0102

I cleared the code, it came right back. the car seems to run fine.

the only thing that was somewhat abnormal/different about the day the CEL came on first was that I hit my rev limiter... I wasn't paying attention, and revved it up and BAM...hit the limiter. felt like it misfired or somethign... later on that same drive the CEL came on. at first I thought hitting the limiter did it...but the code is supposedly MAF related....
That was not technically a misfire. The engine cuts the spark at high rev to prevent damage to the engine. With one of the durametrics or the shop readers you can see how many sparks it actually interrupted. There's nothing particularly wrong with doing that, it's working as designed. The additional air flow through the engine of driving hard contributed to clogging the MAF sensor but it was probably due soon anyway. Mike's right that it could be several things, but by and far the most likely is that the MAF has just accumulated some dirt.
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:30 PM   #16
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so assuming it's my MAF... which is sounds like it probably is...

is the best option to "clean" it...or just break down and replace it???

one concern I have is this -= will cleaning it make it work 100% or will cleaning it only be a band aid ona failing part that is already not working at it's proper level?

basically..if I swap out the tMAF for a new one....will my car be at let's say 100% performance, ,but cleaning it will only put me at 95%?

or will cleaning it potentially be a $15 fix that will get me 10-20-30k more miles of 100% perforamnce???

if the MAF is only a couple hundred bucks...I'd change it if cleaning it is a substandard way to fix it..but if cleaning it wil make the existing one perform/work as well as anew one...then i'll clean it and wiagt for it to toally faill......

i don't wan to clean it if that is just going to put a dull shine on an already substandard part..

i don't realluy understnad what a MAF does or how it works. if they wear out and fail..then maybe putting anew one in woudl somehow make the car run better? or maybe cleaning it vs putting a new one in would be totally undetectable by me..and clenaing it might get me 6 montsh to a year of trouble free driving..

i'm not interested in wasting money to repalce somethign that can be cleaned, but I also don't want to try and put a band aid on a fatal wound....

anyone care to offer some advice? tell me what to do?
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:31 AM   #17
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No one can answer your question for sure because who knows if your MAF is just dirty, and needs its wire/film cleaned, or if has totally malfunctioned. You should just go in there and clean it first, since it only takes a few minutes to do the procedure (I attached a link below that shows the procedure at the bottom of the page of the link). And then, if that ends up not working, and the CEL returns, then go out and buy a new MAF. I've cleaned my MAF once, and it is super easy to do.

If your MAF is just a little dirty, a good cleaning may postpone you needing to buy one for a few thousand or more miles, which depending on how often you drive the car, could be years. I've read of people going 20k miles between cleaning without getting a CEL again. If your MAF is shot, then cleaning won't help, but you've got nothing to lose but a few bucks for the MAF cleaner and 20 minutes of your time from start to finish by just trying the cleaning method first.

MAF cleaning:
http://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/checkenginelightcausedbymassairflowsensor
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:15 AM   #18
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well said! will do!

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