Sensor Cleaning

The next time I replace the air filter in my Buick Century (3.1L engine) I want to clean the MAF sensor with MAF cleaner. Along the air intake duct, between the MAF sensor and the throttle body is an air temperature sensor. Should I clean that as well? Or, should I leave it alone? Could I use the same spray cleaner?

Is the Check Engine light on with a MAF error code or IAT error code?

If not, leave them alone.


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Only the MAF error code, not the IAT code.

The MAF has to respond much more quickly to changes than the IAT,
so I think it’s more important to keep the MAF clean,
since a layer of dirt acts like an insulator and slows heat transfer.

The MAF sensor reading plays a much bigger role in the drive-train computer’s air/fuel mixture calculations compared to the IAT, so suggest to focus on the MAF if you believe it is causing problems. Doesn’t your scan tool tell you the IAT reading? IAT is a thermistor, rare failure item.

Be cautious if you decide to clean MAF, delicate contraption, very easily damaged. If it has a lot of gunk on it, probably best to remove it from engine first, before cleaning. You don’t want all the gunk getting sucked into the engine. If there’s little or no gunk, best to just leave it alone.

Yeah I wouldn’t do either. The sensor is very cheap if it fails. I cleaned th maf once to no change in anything. Last one I bought was $300 if you wreck something. More important to make sure there are no air leaks.

I followed your advice. I removed the MAF sensor from the engine first, before cleaning it. I saw three fine wires connected to three conducting rails. Each wire had a tiny bead in the center. I cleaned each of them with MAF spray cleaner without touching them. One of them was completely blackened with fine soot. I let it dry while I changed the air filter. So far, I had no problems.
Thank you for your help.

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