Can I Use Contact Cleaner on Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Many have speculated whether or not to use a contact cleaner when cleaning a mass air flow sensor. But many people still ask the question: Can I use contact cleaner on mass air flow? There are many things to consider when answering this question, and before doing so, you must first understand what a mass air flow sensor is and how it can be adequately cleaned.

What is a mass air flow sensor?

A mass air flow sensor has two types: Hotwire and cold wire air flow sensors. A hot wire sensor is a device that uses platinum wire in the vents or paths of the air flow, which heats up in a voltage that’s very particular to give off specific heat temperatures. When air passes through, it is cooled through the hot wire, which significantly reduces the resistance to the voltage.

The ECM, a shorter term for the engine control module, is used to measure the voltage change that adjusts to the coil to give off cooler temperatures by tuning it accordingly. On the other hand, the cold wire sensor is found in most GM engines. Unlike the hot wire sensor, the hardwire sensor uses hot and cold wires to function as reference points to give off hot air.

Due to the sensors getting exposed directly to the air, they can pick up different deterrents and pollutants that will damage or alter the readings of the tuning of the voltage. It will then lead to the machine getting into a rougher state until it can no longer be used. This is where a particular cleaner is used to clean out the interiors of the MAF properly.

What does a contact cleaner do?

First things first, let’s first ask the question of what it is. A contact cleaner removes the contamination found in different machines like electrical contacts, conductive tubes, wires, and connectors and other electronic equipment with intricate layouts in the interiors. A contact cleaner usually comes in a spray can which is exerted through pressure.

The goal of an effective contact cleaner is to wipe the contaminants in hard-to-reach places where it usually couldn’t hit the spots where the cleaning is mainly needed. Furthermore, it also takes out the hazardous substances where heat makes the pollutants inside a machine combustible or dangerous when not maintained properly.

The reasons for needing a contact cleaner are too many to mention; however, we’ve condensed it into a few bullet points for you to convince yourself why you should be sought to get one for yourself:

It removes dust, dirt, grime, grease, and oxidation contamination.

It gives stronger resistance in contact areas where the flow of the current decreases or gets interrupted, which affects the machine’s performance and can potentially get destroyed, or worse, hazardous.

Areas with high resistance can heat up quickly, and the conductive pollutants in the tubes and wiring can cause a short circuit, resulting in combustion.

As you can see, there are several reasons to go for a contact cleaner, and this is just the beginning of deciding whether or not to use it for your mass air flow sensor.

Can I use contact cleaner on mass air flow sensor?

A mass air flow sensor has intricate wiring and tubes that require extensive cleaning and maintenance to preserve the quality and performance of the device. To do that, you need a contact cleaner that solves all your problems with contaminants, pollutants like dirt and grime that avoids the dangers of your MAF getting hazardous.

It’s not that you need to clean your MAF to make it look good, but instead, you’re doing so to get you as far away from harm as possible. When your MAF gets into trouble absorbing so much dust and contaminants, you are risking it by doing nothing and using other methods that are honestly just insufficient compared to a contact cleaner.

For prevention and treatment of a potentially hazardous MAF, you should go for a contact cleaner to get yourself a more straightforward method of cleaning your mass air flow sensor and getting it to work for a longer time rather than risking breaking it in just a few years that forces you to buy a new and expensive one.

What to look for in a mass air flow sensor to clean your MAF?

When buying any product, for that matter, you should always consider different brands that you must categorize into singular metrics found below:

The flammability

As mentioned before, you need to stay away from danger. When you need extensive cleaning for your mass air flow sensor, it’s always advised for you to get the safest contact cleaner to avoid unnecessary accidents from occurring. Look at the most economically viable contact cleaner that doesn’t pose hazardous results, which can be seen in its back label.

The dielectric strength of the cleaner

Sometimes, cleaning the MAF while switched on is an excellent way to clean it faster and more efficiently. This is why you should consider the dielectric strength, which ensures that the voltages of the circuitry are safe to use while turned on.

Toxicity level

Whatever you do, always put your safety first above the rest. When buying a contact cleaner for your MAF, ask the person in charge of the hardware store and ask the critical questions in line with the toxicity level of the contact cleaner. The most common chemicals that can be toxic but are beneficial in cleaning your MAF are nPB, TCE, and Perc. These stand for N-Propyl Bromide, Trichloroethylene, and Perchloroethylene, respectively. While they are nothing to worry about, make sure to keep your distance when applying these cleaners to the tubing layout of your MAF.


A resounding yes is more than merited when using contact cleaners when cleaning your mass air flow sensors to answer the question quickly. However, it’s best to know the safety precautions first and potentially clean them to understand better using them more efficiently.

If you’re interested in using a contact cleaner to clean your MAF, be sure to check the labels at the back first to assure yourself that what you’re about to use is both safe and effective.