Air Filters, How They Work and How To Maintain Them?

by Kannan on July 10, 2010

For most bike owners, bikes are their pride after all they are long lasting companions in all your journey-long or short. But sentiments apart, there are few bike owners who might not have ample knowledge with the technicalities of their vehicle and end up going to the mechanic or service stations to rectify the smallest of snags.

And most of the times the mechanic will be aware of your ignorance and bill you exuberantly for the no reason at all. This is could be an important reason for you to be updated about the various parts of the bike and their functionality that will save you from getting duped.

For instance the air filters in your bike; their basic function is to prevent dust from entering the engine, which could cause serious damage to the performance of the bike. And if your bike is fitted with paper filter then change it regularly according to the instructions given by the manufacturer.

How does the air filter work in your bike?

The air and fuel burn in the cylinder and it is this burning or combustion that produces torque/power in the engine. This is where the function of the air filter comes into picture. It prevents dusty air to enter into the engine. Because for the bike to give the best performance the air and fuel mixture ratio should be just be perfect or rather balanced, it cannot be very rich or very lean that can be harmful to the engine. Therefore, this function of the air filter makes it vital to keep it in good shape. If the air filter is choked with dust particles the airflow to the engine get blocked, which results in improper fuel burning and thus reduces the engine performance greatly. The dirt gets settled inside the metal of the engine piston and so files away the piston insides like actually an emery paper. So never run a motorbike without air filter or the cleaner and see that you maintain it too. A well maintained air filter indirectly affects the engine performance.

Tips To Maintain Air filters

  • Regular change of air filter is very important if you are using dusty roads frequently. Especially for foam type of air filter regular cleaning is a must.
  • If you prefer to clean the filter yourself then look in the bike manual and locate the air filter, remove it and clean the air filter with a quality cleaner and take while wringing the foam filter.
  • The next thing in the process is to soak the filter in branded filter oil to clean it up and also ensure that you remove off the excess oil from the filter.
  • Let the filter dry for a few minutes and then fit it back in its correct location.
  • Remember to use the filter oil recommended in the bike manual and see to that you remove the oil from the sponge filter else the engine cannot function properly.

Air filters are inevitable parts in a motorbike. Clean them and maintain them as often as possible, because you will note that if its maintained it gives long life to your engine; paying your decent efforts.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

mazid hussain July 10, 2010 at 7:12 am

i heard that air filters like K and N increase the performance of bike, is it true? on the site of K and N air filter, many people posted comment that their bikes performace increased. a person took K and N air filter in his pulsar 180 and its top speed increased to 140 kmph and also increase in accelaration . is it true? plz tell me coz i want to install one in my bike.


ATHUL4R July 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

thanks for tips.


Madhu July 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Nice to read such informative generic to all bike advisory document after a long time


Vijay Iyer July 10, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Thanks a ton for the information!! How often does one change the foam on the filter? Is petrol a good agent to clean the foam of the filter?


DHIRAJ C RAUT July 11, 2010 at 9:41 am

@mazid……….surely your bike performance will increase but not at level u r expecting…it will be slight improvement in performance both acceleration and top speed ….but a proper rejetting is required to make full use of k & n….


Anupam July 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Is it true that only fitting a K&N filter and rejetting is not sufficient… Change of the Exhaust system is also required??? If yes how much will be the cost to change it and what should be it changed to??? How much will be the increase in power and decrease in mileage???


ATHUL4R July 11, 2010 at 5:04 pm

suggest a good powerfilter for p220.
is there any problem using powerfilter?


yogesh July 12, 2010 at 6:37 pm

@ATHUL4R……..using power filters may reduce life of ur bikes carburator……think on it


Captain Obvious July 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Sincere advice to everyone,

Please allow your bike to breath naturally. Power Filters are like using a Ventilator to help a patient breath at hospitals.

Bike Manufacturers know what is the best for their bikes, so avoid using such filters..


Anand July 15, 2010 at 7:24 am

@ CO

Totally agree. The engineers who design the bikes and filters are not morons. They know whats best.


God's_hand July 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm

i installed K&N R1060 in my pulsar 150 (w/o re-jetting) and i personally feel that its just a piece of shit! x-( just a waste of money for that noise instead of sheer acceleration! Soon i am gonna replace it with my original filter during my next service!


KIRAN November 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm

did k&n filtter increse the milige of the bike to


kiran November 19, 2010 at 12:59 am

I just bought a Apache RTR 160. this is my first bike so I don’t know much about bikes. Can someone please tell me where Air filter is located in Apache 160? Can I myself clean it?


rahul December 7, 2010 at 12:05 am

guys ….guys…

i installed a R1100 model K&N filter on my pulsar220
the sond,pick up IS just awsome man!
any1 who is intrested…JUST GO FOR IT!


jithu December 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

i have a carb pulsar 220.which type of filter must i use for performance(K&N or green cotton).also must i do rejettin for optimum performance


Ani January 3, 2011 at 8:44 am

i have a karizma zmr,So which type of air filter should i need to install to increase my performance. can you help me out??


NAGU January 31, 2011 at 9:47 am

guys i heard much about tis K&N….can any1 tel me about GREEN COTTONS air filters ????? plz????
N d installtion of a filter, wil it increse d fuel economy of d bike wt d power anyway????


habibur rahaman February 21, 2011 at 6:43 pm

i use a honda shine.can any one tell me the process to cleam the filter and where is it located?


Saroj March 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm

It’s good know that we can use water to clean the air filter. As i’ve never used water to clean the air filter before, nor i’ve seen any mechanic at the company work-shop to clean the air filter with water. They simply wash it in petrol and fix it. But as we can use water to clean the filter element , i need to know more about the filter oil we can apply to the element and what r the filter oil generally available in Indian market and is there any substitute to filter oil…?


kaps.9364 March 22, 2011 at 1:11 am

Thanks for the tips
i did it as per ur notes for and now i had really improved the perfomance
first my TOP SPEED was 117km/ph nw it had incresed upto 126km/ph
thanks …
cheers ……


*LoneWolf* November 26, 2011 at 7:51 am

Anybody know when’s the time to change the stock air-filter in passion pro?
In 10k or 20k or more…? anybody?


Deva May 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Whens the time to change the air filter my pulsar 180


sjn's February 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

my bike is honda shine… i want to install powerfilter on this.. can anyone tell me,should i get any powerfilter for my ‘shine’???

and so many friends are telling that ‘green’ filter is inreases the milege and power it possible???


Anand September 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm


I am bored with my Avenger 200. thought to change the Filter to K&N and do some rejeting. i just want a nice stable ride. and acceleration without vibrations.
will appreciate your comments.


mouli October 3, 2013 at 12:58 am

i have a hp filter and i want to fix it in my pulsar 200ns but the mechanics near my house doesnt know wer to fix could u plz help me with a procedure with pics??


Shahaji February 1, 2014 at 9:33 pm

It’s very good for increas by bike power


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