The Best Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Cleaner

By on 19 January 2021 / Leave a comment Updated on: 3rd February 2021

Fixing your car with a cleaning product? Poor starting, rough idling and poor performance could all be signs that a vehicles mass air flow sensor (MAF) is getting covered in road grime and dirt. Fuel economy can also suffer as the engine struggles to retain its optimum running conditions, thanks to faulty sensor readings coming back from the MAF.

Mass air flow sensors are part of a vehicles intake and take readings of the amount of air coming into the engine, allowing the vehicles computer to understand the amount fuel required, allowing the engine to run efficiently. Being part of the intake, the sensor wire/ plate (part of the sensor unit) is exposed to all the dirt and grime in the air, sucked into the car’s intake. The air filter does it’s best to clear the air but over time the MAF will get dirty, it’s a matter of “when” rather than “if”.

Sensor cleaners are an easy, affordable and effective solution. They spray directly onto the sensor wire or hot plate, instantly removing build ups of dirt and allowing the sensor to read correctly once again.

The Best MAF Sensor Cleaners on the Market

Liqui Moly Air Flow Sensor Cleaner

liqui moly mass air flow sensor cleaner

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First up is Liqui Moly. Far from the first appearance on Czok for Liqui Moly and definitely not the last. Without doubt, some of the best vehicle enhancing products coming out of Europe can be found in the brands extensive additive line-up. The company has been around for over 60 years and they are constantly striving towards the next breakthrough. Their product featured here is one of the go-to MAF cleaners for most DIY home mechanics.

Liqui Moly air flow sensor cleaner has been specifically designed for safe and effective cleaning of sensors, for both petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles. The company also claims a quick evaporation and vapour free application, preventing damage to the engine or the product user. Ridding dirt from the sensor wire or hot plate will allow the engine to run efficiently once again, restoring any lost fuel economy and banishing poor performance.

This additive is suitable for all vehicles using a MAF style air sensor, being carefully designed as not to damage any fragile plastic parts or sensitive electronics surrounding the sensor. Simply disconnect the MAF wire and pull out the sensor, then spray liberally and watch the dirt drip off. Be careful not to touch the sensor wire/ hot plate and allow to air-dry before replacing back into the intake system.

Pros:

  • Highly regarded European additive manufacturer
  • Effectively cleans the MAF sensor
  • Evaporates quickly
  • No damage to surrounding plastics or electronic components

Cons:

  • Requires removal of the sensor

CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner

crc mass air flow sensor cleaner

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CRC is not a well-known brand in the UK, but there are signs that the American manufacturer is not one to ignore. For starters, the company has been operating in the US since 1958, recently expanding it’s reach to global markets, thanks to great success in their home market. The brand is focussed on speciality products for mechanical applications such as automotive, aviation, marine and many more. Speciality products such as their air flow sensor cleaner are what CRC’s reputation is built on.

CRC claims that the advanced technology in their product allows for a deep clean of the sensor components, without risking damage to the fragile electrical connections and surrounding plastics. They claim the aerosol will remove all contaminants that cause poor readings including dust, pollen and soot, restoring engine power and decreasing fuel usage.

The formula is highly tested to ensure safety with electrical components, while also being effective for use in both petrol and diesel vehicles. CRC advises removal of the sensor, but the product is safe to use with the MAF in place. Simply spray the sensor 10-15 times, watching the dirt stream off and collect run off with a towel/ rag.

Pros:

  • Brand with good experience in specialist automotive products
  • Safe and effective cleaning of the sensor
  • Removes all contaminants
  • Suitable for all vehicles equipped with a mass air flow sensor

Cons:

  • More expensive than competitors listed here

Archoil Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner

archoil mass air flow sensor cleaner

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Our last featured product is the air flow sensor cleaning spray from Archoil. Like CRC, Archoil is a brand that isn’t all that prevalent in the UK additive market, but is a company that makes up for lack of reputation with high quality and affordable products. Operating since 2010, hailing from Spain, the brand is building its product portfolio and receiving great customer reviews. Archoil doesn’t offer many “typical” products, instead concentrating on special nano technology that it applies to its product such as their MAF sensor cleaner.

Archoil mass air flow sensor cleaner is specifically designed for safe and effective use in this application. Without risk of damage, the formula will remove dirt and debris from the sensor and allow proper air-fuel ratios to be restored. Thus, enabling restoration of lost engine power and fuel economy.

The solution is suitable for both petrol and diesel vehicles that use a MAF sensor, with no risk of damaging electrical components and surround fragile plastics. Like the Liqui Moly product, the sensor should first be removed before being sprayed with the aerosol and allowed to dry without touching before re-installing. Allowing the vehicle to idle for 2-3 minutes after cleaning should clear any leftover debris, thanks to the airflow within the intake pipework.

Pros:

  • Brand that specialises in automotive products
  • Allows restoration of correct air-fuel ratios
  • Restores engine performance and fuel economy
  • Suitable for all MAF-equipped vehicles

Cons:

  • Requires removal of the sensor

In Conclusion

Getting a vehicle running efficiently could be as simple as point and spray. Mass air flow sensors are a flawed design, no doubt, and have been replaced my many manufacturers in new/ future vehicles. Replacing the sensor or changing the system completely is expensive and complicated, better to use a simple cleaning solution and get the engine running right once again.

Main dealers will likely charge ridiculous sums for a simple sensor cleaning service, assuming most customers won’t know what they’re paying for or the potential simplicity of the job. Get your vehicle back running at it’s best, restore performance and fuel economy and ensure easy starts on those cold winter mornings. Give a MAF sensor cleaning spray a go.

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Jack Gill

Car journalist and fully qualified mechanical engineer, Czok’s newest contributor and long-time automotive writer. Lifetime passion for all things automotive, from new supercars to rusty old hatchbacks. If I’m not behind the wheel, I’m likely under the bonnet or browsing the classifieds. Having spent over 5 years in the automotive industry and under the bonnet of my own car at home, I want to share the knowledge and learning that I have gained, with others without the time to study or the expertise, who just want their car to get them from A to B every day. We aren’t all interested in trawling through endless internet pages and forums. I aim to gather all the information up and roll it into a quick summarised format, to give only the information you really need.

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