How to Clean The Air Filter of Your Motorcycle [Easy Video]

It’s effortless to forget about things like filters, oil changes, and other essential maintenance items on your motorcycle, but neglecting these critical maintenance tasks will inevitably lead to a breakdown in the long run.

Easy Video Showing You How To Clean Air Filter:

What exactly are air filters, and what are they used for?

Motorcycle air filters are an essential part of your bike. They trap dirt and other particles, helping keep you and your bike safe.

Dirt, dust, and pollen can affect motorcycle engine performance and fuel economy. You need to know how to clean or replace a motorcycle air filter.

To operate, the internal combustion engines of motorcycles require oxygen; this is where the air filter plays a crucial role. It ensures that the air sucked inside the engine combustion is free from contaminants (e.g., dust). In short, the air filter is responsible for ensuring that the engine runs all the time smoothly. 

Older motorcycles use carburetors to deliver gas or fuel to the combustion chamber. The fuel injection (FI) system takes over this role via an electronic sensor in newer bikes. However, if there is one thing common between old and new machines, it’s the air filtration system. The clean air that passes through the filter is then mixed with the fuel in the carburetor as determined by the jets.

New motorcycle air filters use the modern cartridge design that is available now. Older motorcycle filters were designed with a different kind of filter material.

It is vital to maintain a clean air filter. A choked air filter reduces the engine’s performance, decreases fuel efficiency, and even impacts acceleration.

Where do you find the air filter on your bike?

Depending on the brand and model of your bike, you can locate and remove the air filter cover on the side of the engine, or you may have to remove the gas tank.

What are the signs that you need to clean your air filter?

Poor-quality air filters can lead to poor fuel efficiency, loss of power, and rough idle. Regularly checking your air filter is essential. It’ll help keep you on the road longer. These are the critical signs that your motorcycle needs cleaning.

Having the right motorcycle air filter is a necessity. Motorcycle air filters aren’t just accessories; they’re a vital component of the system that keeps your bike on the road.

If you’re going to use a traditional paper air filter, you need to make sure the filter is pleated. It’s the pleats that catch the dirt and dust particles.

Dirty filters can prevent clean air from entering your vehicle’s engine. If your filter is made from a reusable material, all you need to do is give it some good cleaning.

1. Dirty-looking filter

When air filters are new, they are white and immaculate. So, it’s easy to tell if your air filter is dirty and needs cleaning or replacement. The thing is, filters are tricky. Sometimes, they look clean on the outside but are dirty on the inside. So, get it checked thoroughly and make sure you replace it 1 to 2 times every year. 

2. Is there smoke?

The smoke coming from your exhaust pipe indicates that your engine is having difficulty. Although, it could also be a sign of another problem. If it’s black, it could be an oil or fuel issue. So, check the air filter if it’s dirty. If the filter is clean, bring your bike in for maintenance, it’s probably time to replace it. 

3. Conked out spark plug

Modern spark plugs are pretty reliable. However, they do fail, and it’s usually a sign of a clogged or dirty filter. You’ll know an issue with the spark plug because your motorcycle won’t start. Besides this, you will also experience low gas mileage, rough idling, trouble accelerating, and the engine shuts off when you’re idling. Note that these problems require attention, so make sure you get your bike checked. 

4. Power loss

Your motorcycle’s air filter prevents dust from entering your engine. When the air cleaner is clogged, it reduces the air entering your engine’s intake system. You now have an imbalanced air and fuel mixture, resulting in poor gas mileage, power loss, or poor throttle response. Ignoring it will worsen the problem. 

How to clean your motorcycle’s air filter

1. Remove loose dirt

Whether your filter is fabric or foam, the best way to clean it is to knock off loose dirt when removing the air filter from its housing. 

2. Air Filter Cleaner

Air filter cleaners remove the grime lodged within the air filter housing. However, ensure that you’re only using manufacturer-suggested air filter cleaners. This also means that you need to avoid using heavy, corrosive cleaning chemicals. Otherwise, you run the risk of clogging your filter. More importantly, never wring or squeezing your air filter. 

3. Rinse and wash your air filter

Wash and rinse your air filter several times with warm water. Use soapy water to remove the grease. Repeat this process until the water is dirt-free. Then, give it a final rinse. 

4. Dry the air filter thoroughly

Drying the air filter is as important as cleaning it. Therefore, make sure your air filter is thoroughly dry before using it. Like dirt, water lodged in your filter could result in poor engine performance or failure. 

You can use an air compressor or swirl and toss it around and into mid-air several times to dry your air filter. 

5. Clean the Filter Box

Take advantage of the time you’re air-drying your filter to clean the filter box. Spray it will mild soap detergent, leave it for a few minutes, then use a clean microfiber or washcloth and give it a good wipe down several times. 

6. Filter Oil

When the air filter is dry, saturate it with filter oil. However, do not that you cannot put too much or too little as both will have a side effect on the engine – too much oil restricts airflow, while too little will let the dust through and eventually ruin the engine. Then, the last step is to put grease on the filter lip and mounting hole to give it a tight seal when reinstalling the air filter. 


With the proper maintenance, your motorcycle will last for a long time. A bike is a significant investment and will be used for a long time. If you look after your bike, it will look after you.

To sum it up, your motorcycle’s air filter is essential for keeping your engine clean and fresh. You can’t just ignore it. So, clean it regularly and replace it when it’s dirty or clogged. 

Thank you for reading, and I hope you learned something from this post. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback.