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The Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is a device that is located at the air intake, which measures how much air is coming into the engine and then tells the vehicle how much fuel it needs to inject. Such a function is instrumental in producing the proper mix of air and fuel for optimal engine performance. Therefore, the MAF sensor plays a crucial role in determining the amount of air entering the engine.

Over time, the MAF sensor can become dirty and require cleaning. Since the sensor on these vehicles utilizes an extremely delicate “hot wire”, used to measure air flow, it cannot be cleaned with regular cleaners or even brake cleaner. A mass air flow sensor cleaner is required to safely clean the hot wire.

Tools & Materials Required

You mainly need a mass air flow sensor cleaner and some various tools to get access and remove the MAF sensor. Shop towels are nice to have underneath the MAF sensor in order to catch the dirty runoff after cleaning.

Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner

CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner (11 oz.)

10mm Socket & Small Phillips Head Screwdriver

A 10mm socket will be needed for removing the engine cover. A small Phillips head screwdriver is used to remove the two small screws for the MAF sensor.

Shop Towels

Optional, but nice to have for this project. You can them underneath the sensor when you’re cleaning it to catch the runoff when spraying MAF sensor cleaner. You can also see how much gunk is cleaned off; a visual indicator of how dirty your MAF sensor was.

Scott Shop Towels Original, Blue, 12 Rolls/Case, 660 Towels/Case

How to Clean the MAF Sensor (1GRE-FE 4.0L V6): 4th Gen Toyota 4Runner

This is a very easy-to-do 10 minute job requiring minimal tools. Begin by removing the engine cover via the (2 qty) 10mm nuts holding the cover on.

Disconnect the electrical connector to the MAF sensor. Cleaning the MAF sensor while it is still plugged in may cause problems with the sensor. Use a small Phillips head screwdriver to remove the two small screws holding in the MAF sensor.

Use MAF sensor cleaner and liberally spray the sensor contact all around. You may spray it down a second time if you’d like.

Since the MAF sensor cleaner is fast drying, you will be able to reinstall the sensor back shortly after cleaning. Reinstall the sensor, screw in the two screws, and then re-connect the plug. Reinstall the engine cover and you’re done! Test out the vehicle by starting it and driving to allow the vehicle’s computer some time to recalibrate and stabilize.


Hi there! I'm Scott and I run The Track Ahead. My goal is to provide helpful articles and tutorials based on my experience and research related to car maintenance and automotive detailing. When I'm not writing and not working my day job, you can find me spending time with my family and working on home and car projects.

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