How Much Is It To Replace Mass Air Flow Sensor P0171 and P0174 Codes – Don’t Replace an Oxygen Sensor Before Reading This

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P0171 and P0174 Codes – Don’t Replace an Oxygen Sensor Before Reading This

So your car’s CEL (Check Engine Light) is on and you’ve had the codes scanned at your local parts store. Your car has either a P0171, P0174 lean fault code or both stored in the computer, these codes are based on readings from the oxygen (O-2) sensor. A lean code or codes indicate that there is too much oxygen in the exhaust. Remember that parts stores have employees who mean well, but may not have the necessary experience to interpret trouble codes really mean. These codes are based on measurements of oxygen in the exhaust gases. A common mistake with lean codes is to replace the oxygen sensor. This could be a very expensive mistake that will not solve the problem. Especially if both codes are present, as the likelihood of both O-2 sensors failing at the same time is very low.

Most likely the cause is a vacuum leak. A vacuum leak can be caused by a vacuum hose, an intake gasket, or maybe even a leak in the air intake hose from the MAF (mass air flow sensor). Listen for a hissing sound that could lead you to the source of the problem. Some technicians will use a propane bottle with a hose attachment to help locate a vacuum leak. With today’s computers it is not as easy to check for a vacuum leak this way as the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) will quickly compensate for the added fuel and the change at idle is harder to notice. Oxygen sensor readings can be monitored with a scan tool while checking for leaks with propane, looking for increased readings when enriching the mixture. Another way technicians can check for vacuum leaks is with a smoke test. By introducing smoke into the vacuum hose on the engine, the leak will be detected when the smoke escapes from the problem area.

Aftermarket air filters that use oil on the element can sometimes damage the MAF. Over-lubricating the air filter can allow some excess to fall onto the MAF sensor wire or element. This can change the reading, tricking the ECU into seeing more or less air flow and therefore changing the air/fuel mixture improperly. I once worked on a car that wouldn’t start and had a problem with the MAF. When we looked at the wire in the MAF, there was a burnt piece of junk that went way past the air filter. After cleaning the sensor, the car worked perfectly. The ash that was on the MAF sensor wire was changing the reading enriching the mixture so much that the car would not start. After speaking with the customer, he said the air filter had just been changed. This was apparently when some debris got into the air intake hose and settled on the MAF hot wire.

Fuel pressureit can also cause emaciation. If the fuel filter is clogged or the fuel pump pressure is low, there may also be more oxygen in the exhaust. However, most of the time the ECU will compensate for the reduced amount of fuel. So this is one of the least likely causes of weak code.

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