Saving Money On Mazda Mass Air Flow Sensors

MAF Sensor

                                             The mass air flow location in the engine bay

What is a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

A mass airflow sensor plays an integral part in your engine's performance. This small plastic tube with a tiny sensor inside tells your car how much air and fuel to mix to ensure optimal performance.

All engines take air from outside, mix it with fuel, and explode the mixture to make power. But it's difficult to know how much fuel to mix if you don't know how much air you have. Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensors solve this problem by measuring airflow. This data helps your car's engine computer calculates the right amount of fuel needed for optimal performance.

Because a mass air flow sensor is basically a thin, exposed wire mounted in your vehicle's air intake, it can become damaged by debris, excess moisture, high engine temperatures, and/or excess vibration. For this reason, MAF sensor failures are fairly common.

How Does a Mass Air Flow Sensor Malfunction?

There are a few reasons a mass air flow sensor will malfunction. For example, if a mass air flow sensor or air filter gets dirty, it will lose the ability to make a read on the engine. Leaking vacuum hoses are also a cause of mass air flow sensor malfunctions.

Symptoms of Malfunction

The most telling indicators of a malfunctioning mass air flow sensor are poor fuel economy and lack of power. Other times, your check engine light might indicate an issue, or your car might not even start at all.
Simply put, your car needs the proper fuel to air ratio in order to run properly. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most common repairs that Mazda owners need. But that doesn't mean you have to spend an arm and a leg when you buy a new one.

Buying a New Mass Air Flow Sensor

When it’s time to put a new mass air flow sensor in your Mazda, you have 2 options:

1. Buy it over the counter at a dealership, or

2. Order it from a reputable OEM dealer online

Before you buy, be aware that a standard retail price for an OEM part from a dealership is generally MSRP +10%. This is almost universal across the board, but some premium brands like Mercedes and BMW will go up to MSRP +25%. However, online the prices are much lower - and you can typically save $50-$150 in the process.

Online, a mass air flow sensor for a 2010 Mazda 6 4-cylinder will set you back about $275 from the dealership. But from an online store, that cost drops to about $80 (plus shipping). This price difference is true for many late-model Mazdas, as you can see here:

2011 Mazda 3i

Dealer Cost: $274.64 (249.67 MSRP +10%)
Online Cost: $187.25 (+ shipping)

2010 Mazda 5

Dealer Cost: $274.64 (249.67 MSRP +10%)
Online Cost: $187.25 (+ shipping)

2011 Mazda MX-5

Dealer Cost: $274.64 (249.67 MSRP +10%)
Online Cost: $187.25 (+ shipping)

2011 Mazda RX-8

Dealer Cost: $274.64 (249.67 MSRP +10%)
Online Cost: $187.25 (+ shipping)

2008 Mazda Tribute

Dealer Cost: $63.34 (57.58 + MSRP +10%)
Online Cost: $43.19 (+ shipping)

NOTE: Costs above are current thru July 2016 ONLY.

Always Buy OEM

While prices for many after-market Mazda replacement parts are cheaper than OEM Mazda parts, OEM parts offer:

  • Factory spec performance and longevity
  • A top-tier warranty against defects
  • Precise fitment that makes installing a replacement as easy as possible

Whether you drive a Mazda 3 or a Mazda CX-7, RealMazdaParts.com has you covered.