Damaged and malfunctioning sensors are an unfortunate fact of life for car owners, especially those who work on customizing their vehicles. That’s because people who put a lot into a car tend to keep it for a long time and drive it a lot, so parts that are built to wear out will need to be replaced. While your sensors aren’t built with a life expectancy like spark plugs, they do occasionally fail, especially after a lot of miles. Sensors are exposed to the heat and pressure in the engine, and those stresses simply take a toll. Like valves and other parts you plan on replacing, you’re going to need to address a few of them over time if you have an Impala that you keep for years and years. The mass air flow sensor is no exception.
What the MAF Does
Your mass air flow sensor measures the air coming into the engine, which allows the ECM to calculate a more precise fuel-to-air ratio on an ongoing basis in fuel-injected cars. It’s an essential part of a responsive, automated fuel-injection system because without the air flow information, the fuel/air mixture created would be a rough approximation of what is needed. The result is obvious whenever you drive a car with mass air flow sensor problems. Without the data the ECM needs to calculate the right mixture, engine efficiency goes down. The result is lower gas mileage and power output, along with a less responsive engine.
Signs of a Damaged MAF Sensor
The first thing you’re likely to notice is a check engine light. It’s rare for a damaged or dysfunctional MAF sensor to result in a vehicle that won’t start, but it is a possibility in extreme cases. More often, you’ll notice fuel efficiency drop along with power output and acceleration. Sometimes, your overall engine power will also be noticeably less efficient. While it’s possible to drive under these conditions, many Impala owners report that the longer the MAF sensor goes unaddressed, the more likely you are to experience worsening symptoms. A poor fuel/air mixture can also have consequences for the exhaust, especially if that system was already in need of some maintenance attention. Luckily, a new sensor is relatively inexpensive, and you can get one wherever you buy Chevy Impala auto parts.
How To Replace a MAF Sensor
Impala models from different generations have different maintenance requirements, but Chevy does the work to make the part accessible. If you’re dealing with one manufactured between 2006 and 2009, which is about the age of many of the vehicles that need a new MAF sensor this year, then you’re in luck. The air box simply needs to be opened, and then you’ll see the clips holding the sensor in place. It’s just a matter of taking the old one out, clipping the new one in, and then closing the cover. If you find clips that are damaged or other repairs to do along the way, you can easily add the supplies you need to get the job done by relying on the same part supplier you use for Chevy Impala oil filters every time you need an oil change.