A MAP sensor is an extremely important part of fuel-injected automobiles as this sensor regulates the air pressure, fuel emissions as well as acceleration.

As the MAP sensor plays an important role which is why many people get in a dilemma whether a MAP sensor needs cleaning or not. Therefore, in order to clear your confusion, we recommend you go through our article.

Can you clean a MAP sensor?

You can clean a MAP sensor by using electric parts cleaner with soft paper. But, you will be able to clean only the outer part of the MAP sensor with a soft paper towel and to clean the inside part of the MAP you will need to use a vacuum cleaner or you can spray the cleaner on the MAP.

With Brake cleaner:

Well, using Brake cleaner to clean a MAP sensor will not be a good idea. As the chemicals that are used to make Brake cleaners can destroy the MAP sensor.

CRC BRAKLEEN Brake Parts Cleaner - Non-Flammable -1lb 3 Oz (05089)

With Maf cleaner:

If you want to clean the MAP sensor with Maf cleaners then first you have to check that there is a proper air passing mechanism inside the MAP sensor.

Otherwise, the MAF cleaner’s chemical will not evaporate properly, which will result in damage to the MAP’s sensor.

CRC 05110 Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner - 11 Wt Oz.

With Alcohol:

Alcohol can be used to clean the MAP sensor but you cannot rub the parts of the sensor as it will damage the inner parts. Rather give time to the alcohol to settle down as it will evaporate with dust particles.

With Throttle body cleaner:

Nope you cannot use the Throttle body cleaner on a MAP sensor as it will burn the inner wires of the MAP sensor.

CRC 05078 Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner - 12 Wt Oz.

With Carb cleaner:

The most recommended solution to use to clean the MAP sensor is to use the Carb cleaner. As the Carb cleaner perfectly removes all the dust from the MAP leaving the sensor to run smoothly.

With WD40:

You can use WD40 to clean the MAP sensor but make sure you don’t rub the inner parts of the sensor too hard with WD40

WD-40 Multi-Use Product Handy Can 3 oz (Pack of 2)

With Mass airflow cleaner:

Mass airflow cleaner can be used if your MAP sensor has a proper airflow mechanism. Otherwise, the components of the cleaner will damage the parts of the sensor.

What does a dirty MAP sensor do?

A dirty MAP sensor will harm your engine like no other parts of your car. A dirty MAP sensor will fail to measure the engine load which will lead to failure of measuring the vehicle’s fuel ratio. It will also decrease the acceleration of the vehicle due to low fuel transmission.

Also, a dirty MAP sensor will give you a hard time starting the engine as the engine is having low fuel transmission. The engine will also become idle due to low fuel presence inside the engine.

What are the symptoms of a dirty MAP sensor?

Well, the MAP sensor is an important part of any vehicle as it serves so many purposes starting from controlling fuel consumption to acceleration. However, detecting a dirty and MAP sensor is very easy and you can also follow our way of identifying –

Mix signals of high and low fuel consumption:

If you have a dirty and failed MAP sensor then it will send mixed signals to the ECM. For example, if the ECM detects that there is a low volume of vacuum space then it will let your vehicle use more fuel.

Also, if it detects a high rate of vacuum space then it will not let the vehicle use more fuel. This will jam the other parts of the vehicle which will result in malfunction in the system.

Facing problems in the gas pedal:

Whenever you try to accelerate your car by pressing the gas pedal the vehicle will start to accelerate slowly due to poor fuel ratio.

The vehicle will not run smoothly:

Due to dirty MAP sensors, the ECM will fail to operate the vehicle in the correct way which is why your car might face problems during running. The problems can vary from misfiring spark as well as poor acceleration.

How do you clean a MAP sensor?

Cleaning a MAP sensor is a not very complicated task, however; you will need to be careful while scrubbing the sensor. Because any sort of harsh scrubbing might damage the inner parts of the sensor. You can follow the below steps in order to clean a MAP sensor smoothly:

Take out the MAP sensor from the vehicle:

First thing first, you will need to take out the MAP sensor from the vehicle carefully. Any sort of mistake while uninstalling the MAP sensor from the vehicle might cause major damage to the sensor.

Place the MAP sensor on a flat surface:

You will need to keep the MAP sensor on a flat surface and make sure that the sensor part faces towards you and the outer part is placed backward towards the surface.

Gently clean the sensor:

Now you will need to spray 2 or 3 bursts of sensor cleaner towards the sensor. Make sure that you don’t rub or scrub the sensor because the sensor is the sensitive part of a MAP sensor.

Clean the outer part:

With the help of an electric parts cleaner, clean the outer part of the MAP sensor. However, make sure that you clean the dirt by rubbing with the help of a soft cloth.

Because any sort of hard scrubbing will result in damage to the inner wires of the MAP sensor.

Let the MAP sensor dry for some time:

Finally, you have to keep the MAP sensor in a dry place in order to let it dry for a few minutes. Because under dry conditions the remaining dirt will not be able to settle down inside the sensor.

After drying the MAP sensor properly, the most important thing will be to mount it back to its place very carefully.

How to clean a MAP sensor without a cleaner?

Well, there are a number of ways you can follow in order to clean a MAP sensor without a cleaner. Some of the ways are mentioned below –

Through alcohol:

You can certainly use alcohol in order to clean a MAP sensor. Alcohol can be a good alternative to cleaners because the type of components used to make alcohol can easily remove germs.

You will also not need to scrub the sensor using alcohol because the alcohol will itself remove all the germs and dirt from the sensor. You have to just let the sensor dry out for a couple of minutes and then mount it back to its original position.

Through lemon:

Lemon is the best type of natural cleaning antioxidant. The acids in lemons are very efficient to kill germs, microbes, and bacteria.

Through baking soda:

Baking soda is very useful to clean the dirt from any sort of electric part. However, the collaboration between white vinegar and baking soda can beat any type of parts cleaner.

Through white vinegar:

The chemicals used to make white vinegar are best for removing germs and dust. The acid in white vinegar cuts through old waxes, bacteria as well as dust mounds.

What are MAP sensor cleaner alternatives?

There are both natural and artificial alternatives to MAP sensor cleaners. The list of the alternatives are given below:

Baking soda:

Perfect for cleaning dust inside and outside part of the MAP sensor.

White Vinegar:

The acid in white vinegar is best for its ability to cut through any sort of dust mounds and germs.


Lemon is a great cleaning alternative as the citric acid in lemon cuts through any dust.


Borax is generally found in laundry shops and has been used for cleaning germs in clothes. The Borax can also be used to clean the dust of the MAP sensor.


Alcohol can also be used to clean the dust as the chemical used to make alcohol has the ability to cut through any sort of germs.

Can you drive with a bad MAP sensor?

No, you can’t because a bad MAP sensor will give false results to the ECM which will later affect the acceleration negatively.

The MAP sensor mainly sends the signal to the ECM about the fuel ratio, economy, and transmission which is why any sort of mistake in calculating the fuel economy will have major effects on the engine.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning a MAP sensor is a very easy task, however, you will need to be careful in selecting the cleaner as well as when rubbing the sensor. Because it will be best if you use sensor cleaner in order to clean the sensor and parts cleaner in order to clean the outer part.

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