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Ford Explorer Mass air-flow sensor

The check engine light is on. My auto parts store read the codes and it suggested MAS sensor malfunction. They rec’d cleaning first,

it’s $120. part. PROBLEM IS, I can’t remove. There are special star screws with raised peg in the middle. I assume this is to keep backyard mechanics out. Should I buy the tools and clean myself?

Almost 200K miles.

You don’t have to remove it to clean it. What was the exact five character trouble code? Depending on the code, it could be many things other than the sensor. It could be the wiring. It could be a vacuum leak, It could be an air leak between the MAF and the throttle. It could even be something else if they are guessing MAF from one of the wrong mixture codes.

Here’s what I have on the little printout they gave me: aaECM-could not adj. fuel trim because of a lean or rich condition. Probable cause: Fuel pressure high or low, MAF sensor dirty /defective, Vacuum leak, Leaking fuel injector or fuel pressure regulator.

It would help to have the actual OBDII code, but the MAF sensor is just a wild guess out of the dozens of things that it could be when it is a mixture issue. Unfortunately, the MAF is an expensive part to throw at the problem. You would be much better off to go somewhere (independent or dealer, no chain places) and pay the $100 or so diagnostic fee.