How Does the Motorcycle Air Filter Work

How Does the Motorcycle Air Filter Work?

My younger brother was cleaning his motorbike, and suddenly he saw a motorcycle filter. He asked me to give a brief idea about the working of air filters. I helped him. And then, I realized I should write a post about how does motorbike air filters work for beginners.  

Motorcycle air filters work by blocking almost all unwanted particles from entering your motorbike. Manufacturers made the air filter from the material that doesn’t even allow small quantities of dust to pass through them as dust causes your motorbike cylinder and piston to wear down. 

Let’s look at what it means for you and what you can do about it.

While writing this post, I leave no stone unturned so you can get all your knowledge about motorbike air filters free. 

How Does the Motorcycle Air Filter Work? 

The motorbike air filter is undoubtedly the most crucial part which you need to clean or replace frequently. 

Air filter fitted in your motorbike comes with unwanted particle catching properties. Manufacturers made them from a material that can catch unwanted particles easily. 

Types of Filter: How Does Different Air Filter Work:
OEM filters.It comes with tiny pores and viscous liquid for blocking all unwanted particles. 
K&N motorbike air filters.It comes with tiny pores and oiled cotton-gauze for blocking all unwanted particles. 
Oiled foam motorbike air filters. This filter comes with thick oil and numerous pores to wiggle the air. 

Filters like OEM filters come with tiny pores; even modern OEM filters come with viscous liquid in these pores. 

The tiny pores and viscous liquid between them cause the air to pass through them quickly but not dust. 

While filters like K&N motorbike air filters come with oiled cotton gauze and more porous material.

The more porous and oiled cotton- gauze causes the air to flow through them quickly (more easily than OEM filters) but block almost all dust passing through them. 

The oiled foam motorbike filter works the same as the K&N filter, but the only difference is that oil in oiled foam is much thicker than the K&N filter. The foam material in oiled foam motorcycle filters causes the wind to wiggle, thus providing the maximum dust capturing properties. 

And no doubt why riders call this filter a “deep filter.” 

What’s the Role of Motorcycle Air Filter? 

You can’t imagine riding a motorbike without an air filter. Airfilter is one of the essential components which you can’t thank enough for your good riding. 

Air filters prevent dust from entering your motorbike and thus avoid mixing dust particles in the fuel, causing an imbalance in the fuel-air ratio. Additionally, the air filter protects your piston and cylinder from wear down. Without an air filter, the motorbike engine would overheat or might have permanent damage.

Role of Air Filter in Your Motorbike:How Air Filter Helps: 
Role in combustion: Dust or unwanted particles in the air may cause rich fuel or lean fuel conditions, which may harm the engine in the long run. 
Protect piston and cylinder:The dust and unwanted particles will increase oil thickness, causing high friction between piston and cylinder. 
Role in cooling: Again, as in the case of combustion, the air-fuel mixture should be clean. And unwanted particles in the air may cause lean fuel or rich fuel mixture. 

Role in Combustion:

Before understanding the role of air filters, you should understand how your motorbike generates power. 

The fuel gets combined with air for combustion in the engine, thus generating enough power to rotate a wheel. 

Now for this combustion, the fuel and air should be clean enough so that the combustion can’t be disturb. The dust or unwanted particles in the air may cause rich fuel or lean fuel conditions, which may harm the engine in the long run. 

And here, the air filter comes into play. 

Motorbike air filters prevent the dust from entering the motorbike with the help of the material they are made from. Thus no one can’t ignore the role of the air filter in combustion. 

Role in Cooling:

We also can’t ignore the role of air filters in cooling. 

And before understanding the role of air filters in cooling, you should first understand how the cooling process works in your motorbike. 

Your motorbike majority cooldowns from the mixture called air-fuel mixture. 

Again, as in the case of combustion, the air-fuel mixture should be clean. And unwanted particles in the air may cause lean fuel or rich fuel mixture. 

There’s a lack of quality air in the rich fuel mixture, causing the fuel to carry on all engine heat alone. 

Slowly, the fuel holds more heat than its threshold amount, causing the engine to overheat, and gradually your motorbike engine will start to deteriorate. 

And same applies to lean fuel mixture, where the air carries all heat in the absence of quality fuel. 

Additionally, you need to clean the air filter after some interval to promote good quality airflow throughout your engine. 

Protect Piston and Cylinder:

There’s continuous friction between your motorbike piston and cylinder when you ride your motorbike. 

And to reduce this friction, we all used motorbike engine oil. 

But have you wondered, what happens if the oil gets combined with dust and unwanted particles around it? 

The dust will make oil into a highly viscous liquid which is obviously not good for anything.

This is what will happen with your motorbike engine oil if it’s ever combined with unwanted particles. 

The dust and unwanted particles will increase oil thickness, causing high friction between piston and cylinder. 

That’s why motorbikes come with air filters, which prevent any dust particles from entering your motorbike. 

Is Cleaning the AirFilter Boost the Performance? 

You may hear many times that it’s necessary to clean the air filter. But is cleaning air filters worth it? 

Cleaning the air filters boost the performance. Even experts recommend cleaning the air filter every 10,000 miles. And, if you do off-ride a lot, you should consider cleaning the air filter every 5000-6000 miles. Unwanted particles clogged in the air filter pores lead to air blockage and reduced performance. 

It would also be best for you to change the air filter if the cleaning can’t help. 

Things to Remember When Cleaning the air filter: 

So far, you’ve learned how the motorcycle air filter works and its role. 

Now it’s time to get some things known through which you can boost your motorbike air filter health while cleaning.

Avoid Gasoline:

In this 21st century, I’m still unable to understand why some people are using gasoline to clean the air filter. 

Gasoline cleans the dust stuck in pores, but it also wipes out glue which binds the air filter layer together. 

Gasoline seems to be the best agent if your goal is to clean the mud clogged in the pores. But if you want to remove the air filter walls together, then avoid using gasoline ever.

Use Recommended Oil Only: 

Most of the motorbike manufacturers recommend sticking only one type of oil for cleaning the motorbike air filter. 

Generally, these oils have low viscosity, which means they can reach every pore of the air filter in no time. 

You can refer to the motorbike manual for the oil or ask your motorbike manufacturer directly. 

When to Change the Air Filter: 

Changing the air filter boosts the engine’s overall health; after all, it helps to keep dust away from your motorbike engine oil.

Always consider cleaning or changing the motorbike air filter every 10,000 miles. But if you off-ride a lot, you should consider changing the motorbike air filter every 6000-8000 miles. For more accurate data, you should check your motorbike manual. 

Signs of Faulty Air Filter: 

There are various signs you need to focus on to identify whether your motorbike air filter malfunctioned or not. 

But here I’m going to mention some of the main signs which most people faced when their motorbike air filter malfunctioned. 

Signs of Faulty Air Filter: Details: 
Low Power.The dust or unwanted particles in the air may cause rich fuel or lean fuel conditions, disturbing combustion.  
Engine Noise. Unwanted particles entering your motorbike engine thicken the motorbike oil, increasing the friction between piston and cylinder.
Engine OverheatingRich fuel-air or lean air-fuel mixture cause engine overheating. 

Low Power:

In the above section, I explained how air filters are necessary for proper combustion. And it makes sense that a good air filter promotes good combustion. 

If your motorbike suffers from improper combustion, then you should give a check to your motorbike air filter. 

Engine Noise:

Engine noise is also common if your motorbike air filter is faulty. 

Unwanted particles entering your motorbike engine start to thicken the motorbike oil, increasing the friction between piston and cylinder.

This friction and fusion cause the engine to make unwanted sounds. 

If you ever encounter this situation, it would be better to check your air filter. 

Engine Overheating Issues:

Rich air-fuel or lean air-fuel is one of the main reasons why your motorbike engine overheats. 

And many times, rich air-fuel or lean air-fuel happens when dust particles enter the motorbike. 

So it would be best for you to give a check to your motorbike air filter if your engine ever overheats. 

Also, read why your motorbike rectifier gets hot. Click here to read.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is the air filter in a motorbike is a crucial part?

As dust causes your motorbike cylinder and piston to wear down so to protect dust from entering your motorbike you need a motorbike air filter which is a crucial motorbike part.  

When you should clean the motorbike air filter?

 Generally, experts recommend cleaning the air filter every 10,000 miles.

Why you shouldn’t use gasoline to clean motorbike air filters?

It’s because gasoline cleans the dust stuck in pores, but it also wipes out glue which binds the air filter later together. 

Why do experts recommend using low viscosity oil only?

Generally, the low viscosity can reach every pore of the air filter in no time and that’s why experts always recommend using low viscosity oil. 

What is the most significant sign of a faulty air filter?

Engine overheating is the most significant sign of a faulty air filter.

Final Verdict: 

How do motorbike air filters work? Motorcycle air filters come with dust blocking properties blocking almost all dust particles from entering your motorbike. 

The role of air filters is limited to protecting the piston and cylinder and promotes combustion and cooling. 

Many riders still use gasoline to clean the air filter, gasoline would clean the air filter, but it also wipes out the inner gum in the filter. So it would be best to always use the recommended oil for cleaning the air filters. 

Here are Some of My Favorite Riding Gears: 

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you build your riding journey successfully. 


Here are some riding gears I use as a rider that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so I’ll earn a commission if you decide to use any of them. But in all honesty, these are the same riding gears that I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family.


Motorbike Riding Pants:


For getting started, I like Scorpion EXO Covert Jeans for men (check the latest price on Amazon.com) and Indigo Protective Riding Jeans for women (check the latest price on Tobacco Motorwear). These riding pants are comfortable so that you can use these pants in summer, and these pants have a lot of space for using knee guards. 


Motorbike Riding Helmet:


Throughout my riding life, I used several helmets, and almost all helmets protect your head well. Still, I personally prefer YM- 929 of Yema helmets as it comes with Bluetooth and aerodynamic ABS shells (check the latest price on Amazon.com).
And suppose you want an eye-appealing and yet effective helmet. In that case, you can go with Icon Airform Sacrosanct Helmet (check the latest price on Revzilla). 


Motorbike Riding Jacket:


Jackets are crucial to protect your upper body. Honestly, every rider has a dream to have an affordable yet best riding jacket. And that’s why I personally recommend the Alpinestars T faster motorbike jacket because of the protection and comfort it offers (check the latest price on Amazon.com). 


Motorbike Riding Gloves:


Almost all riding gloves perform well by protecting your hands from sunburn and cool nights. And if you’re a serious rider, then you should go with Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2 Glove, which is lightweight and offers you excellent protection. (check the latest pierce on Revzilla).