1. How do air filter systems work?
Motorbike combustion engines require air flow in order to function. However the air is full of dirt, dust and other fine particles that could build up on your engine and cause damage over time. Air filter systems are designed to filter the air before it enters the engine and remove any harmful particles without inhibiting air flow. A good air filter system will protect your engine and also boost performance by improving air flow.
2. What types of air filters are available?
There are three main types of air filters available for motorbikes and these are offered in a range of different sizes and shapes to fit most models. The cheapest option is a paper filter and these are reusable and can be washed and refitted onto the bike (or you can simply replace them with a new one). Paper filters last a long time (around 50,000 miles) and they are efficient at filtering the air before it enters your bike. Most motorbikes are fitted with paper filters as standard from the factory. Foam filters can be washed and reused a few times and are very effective at removing dirt from the air. This is particularly useful if you own a dirt bike and do a lot of tough, off-road riding. However foam filters are quite dense and many people believe this can inhibit air flow and reduce performance. Cotton filters are quite expensive but they can provide increased performance as they are very effective at removing particles from the air without inhibiting air flow.
3. How do I service a pleated filter?
Both fabric and paper filters are designed in pleated patterns that aim to trap dirt and grime more effectively. Firstly remove the motorcycle air filters from the air box and check carefully for any signs of damage or wear. You may need to replace the filter as any tears and rips could let dirt through into your engine. You should also check the intake tract for any signs of dirt which could indicate a failing in the air filter that may be invisible to the naked eye. If the motorcycle air filter is still in good condition but dirty you can give it a clean before you replace it again. Fabric filters will need to be cleaned and oiled with special products. Clean filters very carefully to help prevent any unnecessary damage. Once filters are dry and oiled (if appropriate) you can replace them back in the air intake box.
4. Can air filters affect mileage?
There is solid evidence to show that air restriction to the engine can affect mileage. Air filters that are inefficient or blocked up with grime cause the engine to work harder in order to suck the air it needs through the intake tubes and this wastes fuel. Many riders can significantly improve their fuel economy simply by upgrading their air filter systems, but this will of course depend on a number of other factors such as tyre inflation, speed and driving style as well.
5. What increase in horsepower can I expect from a performance air filter?
Performance motorcycle air filters are designed to improve air flow in the engine and can boost horsepower. How much improvement you see will depend on the type of air filter you use and the type of bike you own. If you install one of the top cotton performance filters you could expect to see an increase of between 1 to 4 horsepower. This may not sound like much but in a competitive environment when every bit of power counts this could give you the edge.
6. How often do I need to clean my air filter?
Most motorcycle air filters will last for at least 50,000 miles before they need cleaning, unless you ride in very dirty, dusty or sandy conditions. You should check the air filter every 5,000 miles though just to make sure it is still in good condition. If you notice a decrease in mileage or engine performance then it is a good idea to check the filter to see if it has been damaged or needs a clean.
7. How often do I need to replace the oil filter?
A good quality oil filter will last a long time, but you should check it every 3 to 6 months (or 5,000 miles) if you use your bike a lot and in all seasons. You should not have to replace the oil filter very often but if you ride in tough off-road conditions then you may need to clean or replace the oil filter several times a season. Hiflo oil filters are a good quality and affordable choice for your motorbike.
8. How do you change the oil filter?
Changing the oil filter on your bike is a fairly straightforward process. It is best to drain the oil when the engine is cold otherwise the drain plug and oil will be hot when you are trying to work. You will need to put a good sized drain pan to catch the old oil and this will need to be placed under the drain plug. Undo the drain plug with a wrench and watch the oil flow so that you can adjust the pan if you need to. You should replace the crush washer on the drain plug and then clean this area and replace the plug once the oil has finished draining (find out the torque specifications from the owner’s manual). You can then unscrew the oil filter and check it over (clean or replace if necessary). Make sure you check all the caps and plugs are replaced before you top up with new oil. Hiflo oil filters are widely available and there are a number of options available to fit a wide range of modern bikes.
9. What do oil filters do?
Motorcycle oil filters help to protect your engine from foreign particles that can get picked up and suspended in the oil. Oil can carry these particles right into the heart of the engine into the pistons and bearings and this can cause premature engine wear.
10. What oil should I be using with my oil filter?
You should check your owner’s manual to find out the appropriate oil to use for your motorbike. In general modern sports bike are designed to run on advanced synthetic or semi-synthetic oil. Older classic bikes and big custom bikes are designed to run on a high quality mineral oil.