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The mass airflow sensor is part of an engine with fuel injection as all modern vehicles have for efficiency as opposed to the traditional carburetor. It operates by maintaining an enclosed heated wire and measuring the temperature of the wire. When you push the gas pedal, a valve opens which allows air to flow through and cool the wire, which then receives a higher current to maintain the appropriate temperature.
The amount of electricity, in turn, sends a signal to the injectors which tells them how far to open to allow the proper flow of gasoline to siphon in oxygen for the engine’s internal combustion according to your needs.
Sometimes the sensor can get fouled up with grime or condensation, or like anything electrical, it will eventually short out and stop working. Alternately, there can be a physical issue with how it is attached or with a broken wire leading to it.
It isn’t a difficult issue to repair for an appropriately trained vehicle technician, but it does need to be checked for signs of wear during routine maintenance inspections and service. An even better idea is just to replace it whether it needs repair or not at certain mileages as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, simply because for the price that’s easier than going through the problems caused if the sensor suffers an absolute failure.
The airflow sensor is actually a redundancy which assures the vehicle is running efficiently, but you won’t break down on the side of the road if it malfunctions. You will get poor gas mileage, the engine might rev at a higher than intended RPM when stopped, and you’ll find the car doesn’t respond well when you give it gas as it won’t accelerate properly.
Unfortunately, any number of sensors and components can cause similar problems, so the repair is going to be much easier for your technician and in turn less expensive for you if you can say with confidence all the appropriate maintenance has been conducted, eliminating the need to randomly replace parts until the problem is solved.
Although an auto parts store sells the appropriate airflow sensor for your vehicle and it isn’t difficult to replace for anyone with even a slight mechanical knowledge, there are other maintenance tasks that need to be performed at the same time. These services include cabin, engine air filter, brake services, and much more. An authorized dealer such as Gregg Young Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Plattsmouth, NE serving Omaha and surrounding Cass County employs trained technicians who understand when and why such tasks need to be performed.