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How to Maintain Your Air Filter

DIY motorcycle maintenance you can and should be doing in your own garage

By Brittany Morrow
11/30/2017

Who doesn’t want to save a little money? Keep reading and you will learn how to keep your motorcycle in top shape between services. In fact, the following maintenance tips can help you save big bucks in the long run by preventing larger issues from happening over time.

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how to maintain your air filter motorcycle
Air filter: one of the most important and overlooked items on your motorcycle.

We’re about to cover some simple, affordable check-ups you can perform in the comfort of your own garage. Refer to these how-to’s at regular intervals and you can keep your bike running to the best of its ability for the long haul. Don’t forget: Never skip your manufacturer recommended services at the appropriate mileage. Not sure where to find that information? Ask your M.O.M. (Motorcycle Owner’s Manual). She always has the answer!

How to Check and Inspect

The bad news here is that some of the time your air filter isn’t super-easy to get to. It is located in a different place on each bike, so refer to M.O.M. or the trusty Internet to find out where yours is and how to remove it.

how to maintain your air filter on a motorcycle
Your air filter may not be found in the easiest location, but locating it is worth the extra effort. Look for help in our motorcycle owners manual (M.O.M.) if you need it.

how to maintain your air filter nasty filter
There’s no telling what goodies you might find under your gas tank!

What to look for: dirt, bugs, debris, and pretty much anything you wouldn’t want in your own mouth, because the air filter is how the motorcycle breathes. The paper filter usually lasts for a long time, and you can visually inspect it to make sure it is still strong and filtering correctly. Watch out! Your air filter is a popular bug cemetery. You’ve been warned!

The rubber seal around the edge can also dry out, get smashed, or separate over time. Visually make sure that rubber is making a good seal against the airbox.

How to Maintain and When to Replace

If your air filter is dirty or any of the above pieces are damaged, replace it. If you have an air filter that can be cleaned, time to get dirty! Clean and oil it only with manufacturer recommended methods (the air filter manufacturer, not the motorcycle manufacturer).

Excessive dirt and damage are easy to spot.
Excessive dirt and damage are easy to spot.

how to maintain your air filter trash filter
The only place for a dirty non-reusable air filter.

PLEASE NOTE: Do this maintenance inside, if possible. While your bike is exposed to the elements, make sure to put a clean rag over or in the opening while the air filter is off the bike, and for as long as it is off. Don’t let anything fall into that airbox. (There’s a filter for a reason.) Once your air filter is clean (or brand new), replace and enjoy your newly rejuvenated motorcycle!

how to maintain your air filter clean filter
A bike with a clean air filter is better than a sugar rush!

how to maintain your air filter brittany and david

About the Author:
Brittany Morrow is a nationally known motorcycle safety and gear expert. Brittany is not a mechanic though, but lucky for her, she stumbled upon a really cute one a few years ago and has held on tight ever since. Helping Brittany with all her bike’s mechanical needs—and this DIY series—is David Hall. David is an AMI graduate (2006), a multi-line certified professional motorcycle mechanic, service writer, and suspension technician. His experience includes several seasons as a factory race team tech with Husqvarna USA.

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