What Does the Engine Code P0101 Mean?

If your car displays the P0101 engine code, there’s a problem with your Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor.
Written by Amy Bobinger
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Jan 28, 2022
If your car is displaying engine code P0101, the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is sending either too high or too low of a signal to the Engine Control Module (ECM). The ECM regulates and monitors the temperature of the MAF sensor to determine whether the right amount of air is flowing through the intake. 
Diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) make it easy to diagnose engine trouble in your vehicle. You get the code by scanning your car with an OBD-II code reader. Once you have that, you can look up that code to determine what’s wrong with your car and how to fix it.
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Keep reading for everything you need to know about the P0101 engine code, including how serious it is and how much it might cost to repair your vehicle. 
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What does the engine code P0101 mean?

Definition: Mass or Volume Air Flow Circuit Range/Performance Problem
Engine code P0101 could indicate a problem with the
Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor
, the airflow itself, or an electrical component. The MAF sensor is located in your engine’s intake so that the air flows over it. 
The Engine Control Module (ECM) regulates the temperature of the MAF sensor, and it uses changes in that temperature to determine whether the right amount of air is flowing through the intake.
The P0101 engine code occurs when the ECM detects either a low voltage from the sensor or a high one when it’s not needed (like under light driving conditions). 

How much will it cost to fix?

If you have to replace the MAF sensor, it will probably cost around $240 to $330. However, it’s a good idea to start by cleaning the MAF sensor. All you’ll need for that is a can of Mass Air Flow sensor cleaner, and that only costs about $10
If that doesn’t work, try changing the
air filter
—it’s a simple fix that will only cost around $20 to $40 if you do it yourself, and parts and labor are typically less than $100 if you have it done by a mechanic.
Engine code P0101 can sometimes be a problem with a part other than the MAF sensor. For instance, if engine code P0101 is being caused by an intake air leak, you may need to replace your intake manifold gaskets, which will probably cost somewhere between $550 and $650
The problem could also be the MAF sensor harness or circuit. The cost to fix electrical problems can vary widely—it might be as simple as a fuse or as complicated as replacing the wiring harness, so it’s a good idea to visit a trusted mechanic for a full diagnostic and estimate.

What can cause the P0101 engine code?

Sometimes engine code P0101 can be caused by something as simple as dirt on your MAF sensor. The air filter might also be dirty and need to be replaced. Other problems might include:
  • A faulty MAF sensor
  • An intake air leak
  • Open or shorted MAF sensor harness
  • Poor electrical connection with MAF sensor circuit

Common symptoms of the P0101 engine code

If you’re seeing engine code P0101, there’s a problem with your vehicle’s air intake, which can have a pretty significant impact on how well your vehicle runs. 
Aside from your
Check Engine Light
coming on, you might notice problems like:  

How serious is the P0101 engine code? 

Engine code P0101 could indicate a serious problem with your vehicle. While the fix is sometimes simple, you could damage your engine if you continue to drive your vehicle after this code appears.

Can I fix the P0101 engine code myself?

There are a few things you can try yourself to fix this problem. Start by cleaning the MAF sensor. Just be sure you only use Mass Air Flow sensor cleaner and carefully follow the directions on the label. 
Once you’ve done that, clear the code, then take the vehicle for a drive. If the code reappears, change your air filter. 
If neither of these fixes clear the code for good, you should probably take your vehicle to a mechanic. They’ll be able to tell you whether you have a faulty MAF sensor, an electrical issue, or an air leak in your intake.

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