How To Test a Nissan Maxima MAF Sensor

How To Test a Nissan Maxima MAF Sensor


The mass air flow sensor in your 3.0 liter Nissan Maxima reads the air that’s entering your engine and analyzes it. The data is then sent to your Engine Control Unit or ECU, so that your engine computer can control the fuel delivery to your 3.0 liter engine. When your Nissan Maxima MAF Sensor begins to go bad your Maxima will start to run poorly.

Your Nissan mass air flow sensor is typically mounted to your airbox. Today I will be showing you how to test and diagnose a Maxima MAF Sensor in a 1999 Nissan with a 3.0 liter engine in it. If you have a problem with your MAF and you need a replacement, check out our online store for the best price on this part.

Maxima MAF Sensor 2

When this part starts to go out on your Maxima, your engine will run overly rich or lean. This is usually a condition that can lead to damage to your engine, or your exhaust components. To use our Maxima MAF Sensor DIY tutorial, you will need to use a digital multimeter. If you aren’t sure how to use one, or even what a multimeter is check out our handy guide here.

How To Check your Maxima MAF Sensor for Power

To begin our Maxima MAF Sensor tutorial, you will open your hood and locate your airbox. Your 3.0 liter 1999 Nissan Maxima mass air flow sensor is bolted to this airbox. This is connected by way of a three pin engine harness, and you’ll be checking that for a power signal.

You will need to turn your Maxima ignition to the “ON” position for this part of the test. Once the key is turned to this ignition position, you are sending power to the engine and engine sensors.

Disconnect the MAF harness and you will be checking the RED wire or PIN C. This should return a power signal once you gently probe the front of the connector with your multimeter.

How To Test a Nissan Maxima MAF Sensor 1

Once you have confirmed that your Maxima MAF Sensor has power, the next thing to check is the low reference ground signal. The ground signal is PIN B and usually a BLACK wire or GRAY wire.

If you have both power and ground, this means that you Nissan mass air flow sensor is getting what it needs to properly operate. The last step of our tutorial is to show you how to check for the signal wire on this three pin MAF sensor.

How To Check a Maxima MAF Sensor Signal

The signal wire on this three pin mass air flow sensor is a WHITE wire and labeled PIN A on our Nissan Maxima MAF wiring diagram. To perform this last leg of our tutorial you will need to reconnect the MAF connector itself. Do not start your 3.0 liter engine but instead leave the key inserted and turned to the “ON” position

You can either insert a metal paper clip into the back of PIN A to backpin it, or pierce the wire with your multimeter probe. Now keep your hands and clothing clear of the engine, the drive pulleys and most of all the cooling fans. Start your engine and now read the base signal voltage from your mass air flow sensor.

Monitor the signal from your Maxima MAF Sensor at idle. Now manually open the throttle or have a friend jump into the car and accelerate the engine slowly. Make sure before you do this you are safe and that the transmission is in PARK or neutral.

You should see the voltage increase smoothly as the engine speed increases. You should see this voltage climb smoothly with no spikes or gaps in voltage. If your MAF sensor seems to be acting erratically or missing sections of signal, replace it with a new unit.

Have any questions about our How To Guide to testing your 3.0 liter Maxima mass air flow sensor? Leave us a message below and let us know!