What the OBD-II code p0102 means

Fault code P0102 – a step-by-step guide to diagnosing and fixing it

The meaning of error code P0102 – Mass or Volume Air Flow Circuit Low
P0102
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P0102: causes, symptoms and repairs

The meaning of fault code P0102

P0102 means that the engine control unit has identified that the mass air flow (MAF) sensor’s signal is below the normal range. The device is used to measure the volume and density of air flowing into the car engine components. The control module then uses this information to regulate the intake of air and fuel delivery. This fault therefore has a direct impact on the vehicle’s performance.

Common causes

  • This is often caused by a dirty air filter as it becomes clogged and restricts the flow of air into the power unit.
  • The device may also be affected by electromagnetic interference if it is installed too close to high voltage wires or devices, such as the car alternator or ignition coils.
  • There could be a leak in the intake system, diverting the air away from the device.
  • If the device itself gets too dirty or carbon deposits form, the signal output could be negatively affected.
  • It could also be due to an electrical fault, such as mechanical or thermal damage to the wires or electrical connectors.
  • Sometimes it is the result of a contaminated catalytic converter, caused by an air-to-fuel mixture that is too rich.
Symptoms of code P0102

  • Decreased engine power
  • Unstable engine speeds, particularly when idling
  • Hard starting and frequent stalling
  • Black smoke comes out of the exhaust pipe
  • The check engine light comes on
Recommended repairs

  • It is advisable to perform a diagnostic scan to identify any underlying problems or causes. You do this using an OBD2 scanner. It might display several DTCs, which need to be deciphered.
  • Make sure that the wiring isn’t damaged. Check for signs of fraying, deformation, cracking, and corrosion. Replace them if necessary and clean the contacts with specialised products to restore the conductivity.
  • Check the intake system for leaks. These can be caused by cracks, damaged seals or loose clamps, and can be repaired by replacing parts or assemblies, or tightening components. If you have access to the equipment, you can use a smoke generator for leak detection.
  • Inspect the air filter and MAF sensor to see whether new components should be installed. It may be possible to repair the device by removing the contaminants using a cleaning solution designed for this purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does the P0102 code mean?


It indicates that not enough air is passing through the intake system or that there is a problem with the MAF sensor.

Can the error disappear by itself?


In some cases, yes. For example, this DTC may appear and disappear in vehicles with a high mileage after starting the engine or when the unit is under high loads.

How do I get rid of it?


It might be possible to clear it by disconnecting and reconnecting the MAF monitoring device from the power supply. Alternatively, you can reset the DTC by disconnecting the negative battery terminal for 15 minutes to restart the car’s computer. To remove it more permanently, it is necessary to repair the system. After doing so, you can reset the codes with the scan tool.

How much does it cost to fix a P0102 code?


This will depend on the nature and severity of the fault. Simple faults such as a dirty engine air filter can be fixed for less than £80 (GBP) as the component itself is inexpensive and relatively easy to install. Replacing the MAF sensor itself can cost around £150 - £200. DIY repairs are cheaper, but replacing entire assemblies will cost much more than individual components.

Cars the fault code P0102 is most commonly found on

Fault code P0102 - Mass or Volume Air Flow Circuit Low can occur with any car but is most often found on the following cars:

  • BMW: E46, 325i
  • VW: Golf, Beetle, Passat
  • Audi: A4, A3, A6
  • Nissan: Juke, Navara
  • Citroen: Berlingo, C3
  • Peugeot: 206, 407

If you get the code P0102 on your car, make sure that the diagnostics are carried out correctly and the error is still relevant. Check for symptoms associated with the problem and explore options for resolving it.

What to do if the fault code p 0102 appears

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