Tech Tips

How to Service Your Air Filter

Written by  November 30, 2006

We have been doing such a good job keeping up with our service schedules we may have overlooked an item that could be a real fuel saver. The following step-by-step procedures and photos that accompany this article will walk you through the process of cleaning your air filter. NOTE: In the photos below, we are using a foam-type filter.

Step 1: Locate your airbox. Most airboxes have a cover that must be removed to gain access to the filter.

Step 2: Remove the cover and note the location of the filter.

Step 3: Visually inspect the filter to see if there are any tears, rips or rotting. If you find any one of these conditions, you must replace the filter.

Step 4: Loosen the clamps. Some may have steel clamps and some may have spring-type clamps that keep the filter on a spigot in the airbox.

Steps 5 & 6: Remove the filter from the airbox. If your filter has an inner cage, remove and inspected as well. It should simply pull out of the foam. If the inner cage needs a little persuasion, use a pair of pliers to carefully remove it. If your filter does not have an inner cage you can skip to Step 7.

Step 7: Degrease the filter by washing it in parts solvent or mineral spirits. This removes the old air filter oil and dirt. NOTE: Gasoline is not the solvent of choice and is not recommend.

Steps 8 & 9: Squeeze the filter to remove the excess solvent, place it in the sink or in a bucket, and wash it with a mild detergent, preferably dishwashing detergent, because it is very mild and will not harm the material in the filter. Rinse thoroughly with water and squeeze the filter to remove the excess water.

Step 10: Use an ordinary fan to dry the foam filter.
NOTE: Do not use compressed air to dry your foam filter because if the foam is old it will may disintegrate. You will find that the fan does a really good job drying the filter and prepare you for the oiling process.

Steps 11, 12 & 13: Apply filter oil evenly over the entire surface and remove the excess oil by squeezing into an oil pan or other appropriate container.

Steps 14 & 15: Inspect the airbox for debris and contaminents. If possible, remove the airbox from the machine and wash it in solvent, mineral spirits or equivalent. It the airbox cannot be easily removed you can wipe it out or put your safety glasses on and blow it out with compressed air.

Step 16: Place the re-oiled filter back into the airbox and tightening the clamp or whatever holds the filter in the inlet tube of the box.

There are a couple of things you paper filter guys can do as well. These type of filters can be removed and blown out with compressed air and wiped clean, however, if the paper filter has any type of oil contamination it must be replaced. K&N filters can never be cleaned with solvent. They require a different type of cleaner and oil, and cannot be blown with air, so make sure to follow the directions and they can work for a lifetime.

Cleaning your filters on our tough-o-meter scale ranked a 2, and solvents need to be handled with care. You can see that cleaning your air filter or servicing the paper or K& N-type filters is very easy. On a side note, if you don’t want to get your hands oily when you re-oil the filter, simply place some in a plastic bag, add the replacement oil, then squeeze the oil all over the filter and squeeze out the excess. This will be cleaner for you and will not make such a mess.

Everyone have a very safe and happy holiday, and if you must travel this holiday season remember to B-Safe out there!

By Dave Miller

Technical support & photos by Larry James