What is a MAP Sensor?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2019
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Manifold absolute pressure is generally shortened to MAP. The MAP sensor is a part of a vehicle’s engine that can generally be found on the intake manifold or connected to it by a hose. This is an essential part of the vehicle. One of the primary roles of the MAP sensor is to help the engine correctly mix fuel with air, which is necessary for proper internal combustion. If the sensor malfunctions, a vehicle’s horsepower is usually adversely affected.

Engine sensors are needed to help a vehicle’s motor function properly. Each type of sensor generally plays a specific role. In the case of a MAP sensor, one of the primary roles is to help ensure the correct fuel mixture. Many people without auto mechanical knowledge may be unaware that a vehicle does not operate using pure fuel. Instead, it utilizes a mixture of air and fuel.

The carburetor is responsible for this mixing. Having the correct balance is very essential to the proper operation of a vehicle. To effectively understand the importance of a MAP sensor, a person needs some knowledge of air-fuel mixtures and the role of the intake manifold.


The air-fuel mixture passes through the intake manifold. It is important to note that an intake manifold is not a singular item. It is a series of tubes that facilitate that passage and distribution of the air-fuel mixture from the carburetor to other parts of the engine. These tubes act as vacuums that facilitate an engine’s internal combustion, and the MAP sensor monitors the pressure of the mixture as it passes through.

When the pressure detected in the vacuum passing through the intake manifold changes, the signal provided by the sensor changes. These signals are detected by a computer. Alterations, such as those to the fuel injection and cylinder operation, are based on the information received by the computer. To simplify it a bit, remember that internal combustion requires an intake manifold. Proper internal combustion is dependent on a correctly functioning MAP sensor to dictate the changes that need to be made for optimal fuel mixing.

A bad MAP sensor does not generally prevent a vehicle’s motor from operating. It does tend to affect the performance of the motor and have an impact on the drivability of a vehicle. One of the main problems that a person may experience if her MAP sensor is malfunctioning is an inability to properly accelerate. This can be attributed to the loss of horsepower that results when the air-fuel mixture is not properly balanced. It is also common for a vehicle with this problem to produce a higher level of emissions than it otherwise would.


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