MAP SENSOR CLEANING-DIY TUTORIAL FOR MOST CARS

MAP-sensor-cleaning

In this article, we’ll be talking about MAP sensor cleaning.

This is one more skill that sounds complicated but as you’ll see it is pretty easy.

Also, this tutorial shows the basic principle for cleaning that is applicable to most cars. So whatever car you drive, you should find this helpful.

If you’re interested in the symptoms of a bad MAP sensor click here.

Besides this article, you can also watch various videos about cars and driving that may come in handy on our YouTube channel.


 

WHAT WILL YOU NEED FOR MAP SENSOR CLEANING?

what-will-you-need-for-cleaning-MAP-sensor

Regarding tools and equipment, there are no special requirements, on the contrary.

In most cases, you’ll need either a ratchet, extension, and socket like in this case, perhaps a Philips screwdriver or a flathead.

In some cases, you won’t need any of this since the MAP sensor is held in place with a plastic clip. Sometimes it’s just held by the rubber seals located on the sensor itself (plug it in and plug it out just with your hands).

Besides the tools, you’ll need a can of cleaning spray. We recommend you use the specific spray for this job since the sensor is pretty sensitive (the spray in this example is both for MAP and MAF sensors)

Best avoid using brake cleaners or other aggressive cleaners. These are popular and perhaps cheaper alternatives but may damage the sensor and you’ll have to buy a new one.


 

ERROR CODE FOR A BAD MAP SENSOR

p0106-bad-MAP-sensor

If you happen to have an OBD tool use it to additionally ensure that the MAP sensor is causing problems.

Connect it and get an error code.

If the MAP sensor is the problem you’ll get a P0106 error code like in this case.

But check the error codes for your car specifically, they may be different.

For more information on how to use the OBD tool, click here.


 

HOW TO FIND THE MAP SENSOR ON YOUR CAR?

air-intake-manifold

The MAP sensor (or Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor is located on the air intake manifold.

So, first, inspect the air intake manifold and look for (in most cases) a rectangular-looking sensor.

It will have an electrical connector on it. You’ll also probably see part numbers and the manufacturer logos on it.

On most cars, it is pretty easy and straightforward to find especially if the engine bay is not crammed.

Also, don’t mix the MAP sensor with the MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor which is a different sensor altogether and located in a different place.


 

HOW TO CLEAN THE MAP SENSOR?

Before you consider MAP sensor cleaning, we would recommend first locating the sensor on your car, mainly because of accessibility issues.

If you see you can’t reach it, that it’s going to be a struggle, and you’re at risk of causing damage, best not to do this and let a professional do it.

But if it’s like in this case, where the MAP sensor is very accessible then proceed.

Also, check how it’s held in place so you can prepare the needed tools on time.

A good safety measure is to take off the minus battery clamp since you’re taking off the electric connector. But in most cases it’s not necessary, to be honest.

However, make sure that the ignition is turned off.


 

1. REMOVE ANY OBSTACLES

engine-cover-remove

If there are any obstacles to reaching and removing the MAP sensor like plastic covers, hoses, lines, and else, try to loosen them and set them aside or even remove them.


2. DISCONNECT THE ELECTRIC CONNECTOR

MAP-sensor-cleaning-remove-electric-connector

Next, disconnect the electric connector to the MAP sensor. If you have trouble removing connectors take a look at this article.


 

3. RELEASE THE MAP SENSOR

MAP-sensor-cleaning-release-sensor

See how the sensor is held in place. If there are screws, remove them. When there’s a clip unclip it. If the MAP sensor is plugged in, slowly wiggle the sensor out.


 

4. TAKE THE MAP SENSOR OUT

 removing-MAP-sensor

Once it’s out you’ll get a pretty good picture is the MAP sensor causing the problem.

If there’s a whole lot of gunk and filth like in this case, then this may have caused the problem in the first place.


 

5. MAP SENSOR CLEANING

MAP-sensor-cleaning

Best to take a bigger piece of paper and put the sensor on it since the cleaning is pretty messy and there will be a puddle of cleaning spray.

Take the spray and start cleaning. Best apply shorter bursts and rinse out the gunk.

Spray until you see that the sensor is clean. The important thing to do here is to clean the inner metal part that actually measures pressure.

Once you’re done, turn it over, let the filth drip out as much as possible, and repeat the spraying if needed until it’s completely clean.


 

6. RETURN THE SENSOR BACK INTO PLACE

return-MAP-sensor-into-place

Let the sensor dry out completely and return it back in to place.

Return in reverse order. Plug it back into the intake manifold, and if needed return the screws or clip it back into place.

Put the electric connector back (you can use some contact spray to clean the connector).

If you’ve taken off the minus battery clamp return it back into place and start the car.

You may notice a rougher idle but this should last just a few moments and if everything is OK, the engine should start running smoothly within a minute.


 

CONCLUSION

So, MAP sensor cleaning, you’ll agree is very easy. Essentially an easy cleaning job and nothing else.

Again, the bigger problem may be accessibility issues. With some cars, it’s impossible to reach them without dismantling lots of the surroundings which may make this job painstaking.

In this case, best search for professional help to avoid causing damage.

Also, know that MAP sensor cleaning helps to some extent. If the sensor suffers from material fatigue or some other kind of damage the cleaning will not help, you’ll have to buy a new one.

In the end: make a quality diagnostic and make sure the MAP sensor is the problem to avoid unneeded repairs and expenses.

This problem can mimic other problems and can often lead to a wild goose chase regarding repairs.

One more good reason to learn MAP sensor cleaning.

Cleaning costs nothing except the cleaning spray, a new one tends to be expensive.

Worth the try anyway.


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Written by: Sibin Spasojevic

 

Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com


 

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