How To Clean A Motorcycle Air Filter?

How To Clean A Motorcycle Air Filter

The air filter is such a part of our motorcycle that riders often neglect, right? Some of them aren’t serious about the proper maintenance of their motorcycle air filter. In fact, they deny the importance of it.

Are motorcycle air filters really useless? Not at all! It As an experienced rider, I can assure you that the air filter works like cheap insurance against the damage to your motorcycle engine. Maybe, from now you’ll be serious about the maintenance of your motorcycle air filter. So, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I am going to discuss the overall maintenance process of your motorcycle air filter along with the cleaning process. So, consider reading this entire article.

How To Clean Different Types Of Motorcycle Air Filter?

You should use an air filter in your motorcycle to ensure fresh air flowing into the engine. In the market, you’ll get different types of air filters for your motorcycle. 

Among them, cotton and foam made air filters are most often used. Here I discuss the cleaning process of both cotton and foam made motorcycle air filters.

1. Cleaning Process Of Motorcycle Cotton Air Filters:

First, remove the filter and use an appropriate air filter cleaner. Then sprinkle the air filter cleaner on the cotton fibers. It’ll break down the grime and dirt in a short period from the cotton air filters. After 5 minutes, rinse the air filter cleaner off from the inside out.

Now, mix mild soap or detergent into a warm water bucket and gently rub the cotton air filters. After that, rinse it again. It’ll remove the remaining dirt and dust from your motorcycle cotton air filter.

It’s also very important to dry the cotton air filters completely after finishing the wash. If you don’t dry it properly, there is a chance to attack moisture in your motorcycle engine via the cotton air filters. It is not wise to accelerate the drying process of your motorcycle cotton air filter with compressed air because that damages the lifespan.

2. Cleaning Process Of Motorcycle Foam Air Filters:

The cleaning process of foam air filters is almost similar to cotton air filters. Start the cleaning process by removing the filter. Use an appropriate foam air filter cleaner. I suggest you use such cleaners which are mild because harsh cleansers can break down the gules. As a result, the foam holds the capability of the glue will lose and starts falling.

After sprinkling the specific cleaner on your motorcycle foam air filter and thoroughly scour it. After a few minutes, wash the foam air filter with a mixture of warm water and soap. Rinse your motorcycle foam air filter at least three times, and then dry it properly before using. But be careful to avoid stretching or wringing on the cotton air filter.

If you face any problems during the cleaning process with any cotton or foam motorcycle air filters, I suggest you check the service manual. It’ll help you to clean your air filters correctly. To get a practical idea of motorcycle air filter cleaning, click this link.

7 Tips For Maintaining Your Motorcycle Air Filter:

Good maintenance of your motorcycle air filter helps you to use it for a more extended period. As a result, you aren’t required to replace it frequently. Here, I share such 7 tips for maintaining your motorcycle air filter:

1. Start Cleaning With The Air Box:

Many of us have a bad habit of ignoring the airbox.  We don’t clean it properly. Airbox cleaning is equally important as the air filter. You should clean both of them properly. Airbox protects your air filter from the attack of dust and dirt.

As a result, the airbox becomes dirty very quickly and reduces the performance capability of your air filter. You can use a plastic cover for the air filter to keep it clean for more extended periods. A rag and soapy water is generally used to clean an air box. Before placing an airbox in your motorcycle air filter, make sure that it’s fully cleaned and free from dust, dirt, or sands.

2. Regularly Clean Your Air Filter:

For getting better services from your motorcycle air filter, you have to clean it on a regular basis. Some of the riders just check the air filter regularly and wait until it’s completely dirty. It’s an absolute wrong strategy. You should clean your air filter regularly because little dirt gradually damages the performance capability of your motorcycle air filter. 

Especially, when you back from rigid and sandy conditions, check your air filter and clean it. After a few rides, you require to repair or replace the air filter. Don’t forget to wear gloves while cleaning your motorcycle air filter because harsh chemicals are not good for the hands’ skin. Make sure that you follow the proper cleaning techniques according to the types of your motorcycle air filter.

3. Never Use Gasoline For Cleaning Air Filter:

One day, I went to a mechanic to clean my motorcycle air filter. He cleaned it with the gasoline. At that time, my air filter looked very clean and friendly, and I thought the mechanic had done a decent job, later my thoughts turned wrong.

After A few days, I found that the glues and foam cells started to break down. As a result, glues are unable to hold the foam strips and also affect the performance quality of my motorcycle air filter. When I ask an expert about this issue, he replies saying it’s all happening for using gasoline

Gasoline is too harsh for the motorcycle air filters and damages the glues. I can’t be able to use this air filter further. So, don’t make the same error as me. I suggest you use a specific air filter cleaner for your motorcycles. After cleaning, always dispose of the using chemical properly from the air filter.

4. Should Use A Specific Air Filter Oil:

All kind of oil is not made for your motorcycle air filter. You can’t use motor oils for it because they’re not appropriate. These motor oils are too harsh for the foam of your motorcycle air filter. Using any type of oil quickly decreases the lifespan of a motorcycle air filter. That’s why it is ideal to use a specific air filter cleaning oil. 

These oils are made in such ways that don’t damage the glues and foams of your motorcycle air filter. As a result, you’re able to use an air filter for a more extended period. But always remember using too much oil isn’t suitable for the glues and foams of your motorcycle air filter. Hence, don’t overspray the oil into your motorcycle air filter.

5. Never Twisting Or Wringing Out The Air Filter:

During maintenance of your motorcycle air filter, you’re not allowed to twist or wring it out. When you do any twisting or wringing, it tears to the foam of the air filter. 

Therefore, how do you squeeze the excess oil out from your air filter? Well! Instead of twisting or wringing, I recommend using a firm grip or other alternatives method to squeeze out the excess air filter oil. If you’re twisting or wringing your motorcycle air filter, it’ll damage entirely, and you won’t be able to use it further, keep in mind that.

6. Don’t Be Hurry:

Cleaning your motorcycle is an uphill task. You should do that by taking an extended period because any kind of carelessness could severely damage the air filter, and you can’t use it further. Clean the air filter properly and wait until it’s completely dry naturally. For saving your time, don’t use any air compressor to dry it.

7. Replace Your Motorcycle Air Filter:

Inspect your air filter after every ride. Check that glues and the foams of the air filter are well placed. If you find anything wrong, repair it soon. If it’s not repairable, then replace it with a new one. After being a period, you should replace your motorcycle air filter for getting better service. 

Air filters protect your motorcycle engine from dust, sand, and other specks of dirt. Consequently, it is crucial to use such air filters which are capable of delivering you the best services. I recommend you should invest your money in purchasing a quality air filter for your motorcycle.

I hope you’ll follow these 7 tips to maintain your motorcycle air filter nicely.

How Long Do Motorcycle Air Filters Last?

Motorcycle air filters protect the engine from dust and derbies. The using period of an air filter depends on how well you maintain it. A good brand-made quality air filter last more than the normal one.

When you feel that the air filter of your motorcycle is losing the performance capability and not able to supply fresh air in the engine by preventing dust and derbies, then replace it as soon as possible. Generally, a motorcycle air filter last for 10,000 miles to 15,000 miles riding. After that, you should change it to get better services.

What Equipment Do You Require To Replace Your Motorcycle Air Filter?

You require a few pieces of equipment to replace your motorcycle air filter. These are:

  • Screwdriver.
  • Adjustable Socket Wrench.
  • Compressed Air Blower.
  • Air Filter Service Manual (If Requires). 

How To Replace Your Motorcycle Air Filter? (4 Simple Steps)

Replacing a motorcycle air filter isn’t an easy task. You need to be watchful in every step when replacing your motorcycle air filter. Because, any type of silly error can damage your motorcycle’s new air filter, thus be careful. Here, I share such  4 simple steps of replacing the air filters:

1. Find Out The Air Filter:

The location of the air filter mainly depends on the types of motorcycle. Different brands’ manufactured motorcycles use different areas to place the air filters. Often, the air filter of a motorcycle is located underneath the fuel tank or near the side of the engine. If you still aren’t able to find your motorcycle air filter, check the service manual.

2. Take Step According To The Air Filter Location:

In this step, you need to take steps according to the location of your motorcycle air filter. I have already informed you that the air filter is usually located underneath the fuel tank or near the side of the engine. 

If your motorcycle air filter is located underneath the fuel tank, remove the seat or other curb from the gas tank. While removing the gas tank, make sure that the petcock is turned off position. On the other hand, those motorcycle air filters are located near the engine’s side, just undo the cover and ahead for the next step. 

3. Wear A Cover To The Air Box:

Basically, airboxes protect your motorcycle air filter from dust. As a result, it’s equally important to keep the inside of the airbox clean as the air filter. That’s why I suggest you use a plastic cover on top of it. You also can use a piece of clean rag as an alternative to a plastic cover.

4. Ensure Faultless Re-assembly:

It is very important to ensure faultless re-assembly because it helps you set the air filter comfortably without any damage. To reassemble it quickly, at first, you should unbolt the tank and with that also undo the hoses and any wires. 

Connecting them with the rest of your motorcycle. Then label these hoses and wires for ensuring a faultless re-assembly. During reassembly, be careful about the spill of fuel.

By following these 4 simple steps, you can easily replace your motorcycle air filter. Here I provide you with the link to visually watch how to replace your motorcycle air filter.

What Happens If Air Filter Is Removed?

Removing the air filter from the motorcycle will create multiple problems. Basically, the air filter works as a protector that protects the motorcycle engine from dirt. But after removing it, the motorcycle engine will expose where easily dirt can enter. Driving a motorcycle without an air filter also subject to other internal engine and turbocharger damages.

Below, I explain briefly what happens if the air filter is removed:

1. Dust And Dirt Attacks:

Air filters prevent the entry of any kind of dust and dirt into the motorcycle engine. But when you remove them, your engine will be exposed to the attack of dust. When they attack your motorcycle engine, the performance will gradually low down. And the engine will ultimately damage within a short period.

2. Damage The Internal Parts Of Engine:

By removing the air filter from your motorcycle, you also damage the internal parts of the engine. Air filters keep your engine cool by providing air fresheners and prevent from the attack of dust and dirt. But when you don’t use it, the engine needs to work harder to keep the internal parts cool. At the same time, it also does the other activities.

Lonely, your motorcycle engine is not able to do all of these tasks properly. These extra pressures and external dirt badly damage your motorcycle engine’s internal parts, such as pistons, cylinder walls, and valves.

3. Damage The Turbocharger:

The importance of an air filter can’t be described in words for a turbocharged motorcycle engine. In this type of engine, a turbocharger controls the engine’s performance by pressuring the air into it. The combination of both turbocharger and air filter works smoothly for increasing the performance of the motorcycle engine.

But, when you use a turbocharged motorcycle engine without an air filter, you’ll never get the best performance from the engine. The absence of an air filter allows dirt and dust to enter into the turbocharger. As a consequence, the turbocharger fails to work properly for the engine. And thereafter, the performance of motorcycle engines decreases quickly.

These are some more issues that you may face while removing the air filter from your motorcycle.

Can You Drive Your Motorcycle Without An Air Filter?

Technically, you can ride your motorcycle without an air filter unless you’re riding on in a too dirty, sandy, or rigid track. Without the service of an air filter, dust and dirt will easily enter your motorcycle engine. 

In consequence, the engine of your motorcycle will lose the performance quality. The reason why it’s wise to drive your motorcycle with an air filter.

Does Removing Your Motorcycle Air Filter Increase Horsepower? 

Some motorcycle riders think that removing air filters increases horsepower. Honestly speaking, there is no truth in it. Removing the air filter from your motorcycle does not add any extra torque or horsepower. 

Instead of horsepower, it’ll expose your motorcycle engine and allows the dust to enter quite easily. Don’t remove the air filter of your motorcycle by believing in this unproved false rumour. 


There is no way to overlook the contribution of the air filters to your motorcycle. I recommend you never remove the air filter from your motorcycle and regularly clean it properly for longer use. Let me know your thoughts in the comment box about the motorcycle air filter.

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