Replaced Mass Air Flow Sensor Check Engine Light Still On Your Vehicle’s Sensors – How to Test Some of Them

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Your Vehicle’s Sensors – How to Test Some of Them

After retrieving the fault codes from your vehicle’s onboard computer, you can now check the sensors. Always refer to your service manual for specifications for your vehicle make and model.

The first fault code to check is the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS). The TPS is located either on the carburetor side or on the fuel injected model side. It is attached to the throttle body. Visually inspect the sensor for worn insulation on the wires and a loose or cracked connection. Disconnect the sensor.

With a digital volt ohm meter or DVOM in the 20K ohms position, connect the positive DVOM lead to the center terminal of the sensor. Connect the negative DVOM cable to one of the terminals of the other sensors. Slowly move the throttle until it is in the wide open position. Depending on which terminal you connected the negative DVOM lead to, the DVOM reading should steadily increase or decrease. Slowly release the throttle. If the DVOM reading is not gradual and steady, but moves at an irregular pace, the sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced. Reconnect the sensor. Clear the trouble codes from ECM memory by disconnecting the negative battery cable for at least ten seconds.

Your next fault code indicates Mass Air Flow (MAF). The MAF sensor is located between the air cleaner and the engine’s throttle body. To test, start the engine. Take the handle of a screwdriver and lightly tap the MAF on the accessory side a few times. DO NOT HIT THE SENSOR WITH FORCE, IT MAY BREAK. If the engine falters, misfires or stops working, the sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced. Clear the trouble codes from ECM memory by disconnecting the negative battery cable for at least ten seconds.

Begin the oxygen sensor test by removing the sensor from the vehicle. The oxygen sensor is located either in the exhaust manifold or in the exhaust pipe. Visually inspect the sensor for worn insulation on the wire and a loose connection. Start the engine and let it run for about five minutes, then turn it off. Disconnect the sensor. Fasten the sensor connector away from the exhaust manifold; tape the connector well to the bumper if possible. Turn the digital ohm meter to the millivolt setting, connect the positive DVOM lead to the sensor connector terminal, and ground the negative DVOM lead to an unpainted ground. Restart the engine. Follow the DVOM reading. It should vary between 100 and 1000 mv (0.1 and 1.0 volts). If the voltage does not fluctuate according to the above pattern, the oxygen sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced. Reconnect the sensor. Clear the trouble codes from ECM memory by disconnecting the negative battery cable for at least ten seconds. Do not set the digital volt ohm meter to the ohm meter setting as this will damage the oxygen sensor.

The following fault code indicates a Manifold Air Pressure (MAP) sensor. The MAP sensor is usually located on the firewall or in the fender. Visually inspect the vacuum hose and sensor connector for damage or loose connections, then disconnect the sensor. Connect a jumper wire from port A on the MAP sensor to port A on the connector. Using the other jumper wire, connect the terminal in the same way. Turn on the ignition switch. DO NOT START THE ENGINE. With a digital volt ohm meter (DVOM) in the 20 VDC setting, connect the positive DVOM lead to terminal B on the MAP sensor. Ground the negative DVOM lead to an unpainted ground. Observe the reading; it should be between 4.5 and 5 volts. Start the engine, let it idle. Let the engine idle and repeat the previous step. If it does not change from regular, the sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced. Reconnect the sensor. Clear the trouble codes from ECM memory by disconnecting the negative battery cable for at least ten seconds.

This is how some of the sensors on the vehicle are tested. There are many more sensors on a car. There are other ways of testing depending on the make and model of the vehicle. When getting ready to retrieve trouble codes or test your sensors, always check your service manual for specifications and how to test your sensors.

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