A conventional four stroke motorcycle engine works in a rather simple way. A mixture of air and fuel is essentially compressed and ignited in the engine, which results in pistons rotating a crankshaft which thereby transfers power via the transmission to the rear wheel by either a chain or drive belt. An optimum air-fuel ratio is essential to ensure that your engine operates at maximum power and efficiency.
Now, making sure that your motorcycle’s air filter is up to spec is an oftentimes overlooked maintenance item. Running your engine with a clogged air filter could result in lackluster performance, reduced efficiency, and in really bad cases, engine stalling or cut out. All that being said, here is a simple step-by-step procedure on how to check and replace your motorcycle’s air filter.
Locate your motorcycle's air filter
Most motorcycles have their air filter located somewhere under the seat or fuel tank. Make sure to check your specific motorcycles owners manual in order to determine where exactly your Air filter is located. Now, you may have to remove some body panels, the seat, or sometimes even the fuel tank in order to access the airbox where the air filter is housed. That said, it is important to make sure you have all the necessary tools in order to get the job done. If you feel like you’re lacking the confidence needed to wrench on your own bike, then it may be best to bring your bike to your trusted mechanic.
Choose the right type of air filter
Next comes the fun part. Depending on your specific motorcycle, there could be many different options when it comes to replacement air filters. Smaller motorcycles often come with pod type filters which can be switched and swapped depending on your preference. These universal type filters often come in different sizes, so it’s important to make sure you know the exact measurement of your motorcycle’s air filter. Big bikes on the other hand, often come with proprietary air filters. Reputable aftermarket manufacturers also produce drop in kits which feature washability, reusability, and improve airflow. While these aftermarket options tend to be more expensive, they prove to be a more long-term solution and a slight performance upgrade.
Install the new air filter
Installing the new filter can be quite tricky, especially if your motorcycles air filter is located in a tight to reach area. If your air filter is a slip-on pod type, it could help to put a bit of lubricant on the end of the filter to make it easier for you to slip it into its housing. However, if your air filter is a drop-in type, then it should just slide right into your airbox. Make sure everything is snug and tight, replace the airbox cover, and reinstall all the bodywork you previously removed in order to access the air filter.
If you’ve been able to follow all the above steps without much problem, then congratulations, you have just successfully replaced your motorcycle's air filter. That said, there’s nothing left for you to do other than to take your bike out for a quick test ride to make sure that everything is in great working order.