How To Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor On Chevy Silverado?

The mass air flow sensors in a car are handy because they create a deferral that reduces the transmission of air particles between the passenger and driver. That is why you must keep them clean. So do you know how to clean mass air flow sensor Chevy Silverado?

Well, to someone who doesn’t have much experience with a vehicle and its airflow sensors, this task might appear to be tough. However, this is just like any other task on any other day to trained personnel. They need to locate the sensor and change the wire mesh after some essential processes. 

So if you are thinking about what these processes can be, you’re in the right place to do so. This article covers everything you need to know before getting your hands busy with the cleaning. Well then, scroll down and keep reading!

What Are The Symptoms Of A Dirty Mass Air Flow Sensor On Chevy Silverado?

When it comes to problems involving the airflow in a vehicle, there isn’t any 100 percent probability that the fault lies with the mass airflow sensor. That is why it is vital that you first identify the symptoms that the vehicle can display, whose fault lies in a dirty mass airflow. 

Below we have compiled some of these symptoms that you can use to visualize the scenario and take precautions beforehand. 

Fuel Economy

Having a bad fuel economy is one of the most common symptoms of a dirty mass airflow sensor. Usually, jammed airflow vents can cause this problem. However, do note that various other causes can cause a bad fuel economy. Therefore test out other parts before coming to a final conclusion.

Loss Of Speed Or Acceleration

You might have noticed cases where you cannot reach the maximum speed range that you meant to achieve or a sudden drop in acceleration. These scenarios are caused due to the lack of air inside the engine. As a result, the same power as standard cannot be produced.

Check Engine Light(CEL) Is On

One of the easiest ways to check whether there is an issue with the mass airflow sensor is to check on the CEL. If the CEL lights are on, this indicates that there are some issues with the airflow vents and, as such, the sensor. 

Rough Idling

Although this is not a very common case, you can still sense this symptom. If the airflow sensor is dirty, this will cause idling problems, and the vehicle will not run smoothly. Additionally, the rate of carbon emission might also increase.

Required Tools And Materials For Cleaning Maf Sensor On Chevy Silverado

When you are going to clean your MAF sensor, there aren’t a lot of requirements that you need to follow. However, there are some main tools that you can choose from. Of course, you won’t need them all since you might not even get to use them. 

Additionally, you can also alternate between different materials as long as they are able to achieve the appropriate purpose. We have pointed out some of the tools and materials that you will be needing below:

  • CRC MAF Cleaner
  • Wipe or towel
  • Necessary power tools like screwdrivers, bottle jacks, and air hammers. 
  • Lubricant

How To Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor Chevy Silverado? 

Finally, we can move on to the main step-by-step procedure on how to clean the MAF sensor for a Chevy Silverado. The step by step guide has been stated below:

Step 1: Unplug And Remove The Sensor

Before we can move on to the main steps, you need to unplug the sensor so that you do not receive any electric shocks when working with it. Once unplugged simply pull on the sensor to remove it. 

Step 2: Clean The Mass Air Flow Sensor

Once you have removed the sensors, it is time to clean it properly. Make use of an appropriate solvent like CRC MAF cleaner to clean the sensor. Make use of towels or wipes to apply the solvent throughout the body of the sensor. You can also oil the sensor. However, apply lubricants in small amounts only.

Step 3: Clean The MAF Sensor Coil

Wait for a few minutes for the sensor to dry and then clean the coils surrounding it using the same solvent. However, make sure that no residue remains when you are done. Use cotton bars to clean the thin coils. 

Step 4: Reconnect The Sensor

Reconnect the wire mesh and place the sensor into the filter box. You can make use of a screwdriver to help you out conveniently. Make sure that all the wires have been connected properly and the sensor itself is not damaged. Check whether the CEL light is off to make sure that there is nothing wrong with the MAF sensor. 

Is It Better To Clean Or Replace A Mass Air Flow Sensor?

It is definitely a good choice if you are thinking of reusing your mass airflow sensor. In fact, reusing the same MAF sensor will save you a lot of time that will be needed to change the engine computer preferences and the fuel trim based on the needs of the new sensor. 

However, there are several scenarios where it would be better for you to replace the old MAF sensor with a new one. We have compiled some of these unavoidable circumstances below:

Fuel Ratio Keeps getting mixed up

If your fuel ratio is showing signs of malfunctioning, you might try and clean the sensor by putting it back. However, if it shows mixed up numbers even after that; it is better that you install a new sensor. 

CEL light keeps turning on

Checking on the CEL light is the fastest way to know whether something is wrong with your MAF sensor or not. If the light switching on persists even after you have cleaned the old sensor; change it immediately. 

The MAF sensor is damaged

If you notice that the sensor is damaged in any way, whether it is the coils or its wiring, change it as soon as possible. A damaged MAF sensor will never achieve its function properly.

Does cleaning MAF sensor on Chevy Silverado improve MPG? 

If you have previously heard about cleaning MAF sensors improving the MPG of a Chevy Silverado or any other car, know that this is actually a misinterpretation of what your sources wanted to convey to you.

While cleaning the MAF will help restore the vehicle’s MPG to the same level as it was previously, it is impossible to further improve this. This is because further improvement is actually beyond the capabilities of the old sensor. 

If you change the old one for a new one with better specs, you might be able to improve the MPG readings beyond what it was previously.  

How much does it cost to clean MAF sensor on Chevy Silverado?

The amount of money you will be required to spend on cleaning your MAF sensor will depend roughly on the mechanic that you will hire to help you out. On Average, this cost is about 300 USD. 

However, if you are going to be doing the cleaning on your own, you will be able to save an astronomical amount of this 300 USD. Considering that you might already have the power tools, you will only need to spend 7-10 USD in order to clean the sensor. This money is the cost of the cleaner and the wipe. 

Can A Dirty Mass Airflow Sensor On Chevy Silverado Cause Misfire?

Although this is a very extreme case, there are indeed some situations where the MAF sensor caused an engine misfire on a Chevy Silverado. 

The main reason behind this misfire could be attributed to the fact that a dirty MAF sensor means that one or more of the airflow vents are jammed. This prevents the normal flow of air that is needed for the combustion processes in the engine. Since there is a lack of air, the engine can misfire. 


Knowing how to clean mass air flow sensor chevy Silverado is not a highly complex process. As long as you follow through with the step-by-step guide properly and have enough dedication, you will be able to complete your task in no time. 

However, we are aware that not everybody might be up for it, especially people who have a very tight schedule. You are more than welcome to hire a mechanic to help you out in these situations.

A final piece of advice is never to delay cleaning the sensor. If you live it as it is for extended periods, you will be damaging the car engine and its auxiliary parts in the long run! 

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