What is a Mass Air Flow Sensor?
If you own a vehicle or are planning to get one soon, then there are a few technical things that you must be familiar with. Among the various things you must know, one important terminology is the mass air flow sensor or MAF. If you are not clear about – What is a Mass Air Flow Sensor? We will tell you about it in this article.
Understanding a Mass Air Flow Sensor:
Your vehicle’s mass airflow sensor is actually a division of a closed loop feedback system, which controls the engine’s function. It measures the amount of air flowing into the engine, and informs the electronic control module, how much fuel is required to attain the maximum performance and efficiency. This electronic control module is also considered as the car’s computer.
The Mass Air Flow Sensor works in juxtaposition with the vehicle’s oxygen sensor and thus it controls the vehicle’s fuel injectors to alter the fuel/ air ratio going into the engine from time to time. If you are still wondering – what is a mass air flow sensor and how many types are they available in then read on to know more.
Mass airflow sensors can be of two different types:
The electronic mass air flow sensor normally operates by the varying temperature, which changes in a heated wire or film. The mechanical ones on the other hand use a vane in the consumption of airflow required for measurement.
What are the vane sensors?
The vane sensors are not the real mass airflow sensors as they are not used to actually measure the mass of the air going into the engine. Instead it measures the volume. The mass of air changes the temperature, hence these vane sensors actually use a temperature sensor to regulate the output and estimate the measurement of air mass.
These vane type sensors measure the movement of the vane with a flap or door which opens as the air flows. This helps the vane get the signal which it sends to the computer. When the air moves at a faster rate, providing a much greater volume of air into the engine, the vane type sensor also moves more, changing the resultant signal.
The vane is pulled downwards by the gravity. This affects the position of the vane, hence a vane type sensor must be correctly oriented. Furthermore, the speeding up can affect the position of the vane disturbing the output.
The other mass airflow sensor works by measuring the actual mass of the air that enters the engine. By measuring this temperature change brought about due to the airflow moved past a heated wire, the hot wire sensors as well as the hot film sensor actually give a perfect input to the vehicle’s computer system.
The mass air flow sensors are characteristically used in the concert with an assortment of other sensors to perk up ignition efficiency and lessen the emissions. Most of the modern-day engines use one or more oxygen sensors in exhaust. While the mass air flow sensor naturally provides a fine approximation of the air mass, evaluating the exhaust gases can let the ECU to make little adjustments as required.
Now that you know what a mass air flow sensor is, you must also know about the problems that it might face. In cases when the car experiences an abrupt loss of power, engine pings and hesitates on acceleration, the mass air flow sensor may have problems. It may either be faulty or simply obstructed. Sometimes when the wires get coated with grease, oil or debris, it causes problems. You can troubleshoot it by cleaning the wires and replacing them back carefully!