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How to Clean a Dirt Bike Air Filter: Step by Step Guide

How to Clean a Dirt Bike Air Filter: Step by Step Guide

If you’re a dirt bike enthusiast, then you know the importance of keeping your bike’s air filter clean. This component is responsible for trapping all the dirt, dust, and debris that would otherwise end up in your engine. This can lead to decreased performance and even engine damage, which is why it’s important to clean it on a regular basis.

To clean a dirt bike air filter you need to first remove the air filter from the bike, clean any oil and dirt from the air filter using the right cleaning agents, let the filter dry, apply filter oil, and reinstall on the dirt bike

In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to clean your dirt bike’s air filter, primarily those that are made of foam rather than cotton gauze. As you read, you’ll learn the best techniques and products for a deep and safe clean.

Remove the Air Box Cover or Bike Seat

The first step in cleaning your dirt bike air filter is to remove it from the bike. This process might vary slightly depending on the make and model of your dirt bike, so consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

A dirt bike’s air filter is typically located either underneath the bike’s seat or directly in front of the seat, just below the handlebars.

If your dirt bike houses its air filter underneath the seat, you’ll need to loosen the bolts holding the seat in place before you can access it. Most will have two bolts, one on each side, that can be loosened with a 10mm socket or a combination wrench. Once you’ve removed these bolts, you should be able to lift and remove the seat.

Alternatively, if your dirk bike houses its air filter in front of the seat, you’ll need to remove the air box cover. This is often kept in place by three Dzus fasteners, one on each side and one on top.

Manually loosen each fastener, pop out the two rubber grommet located on each side of the shroud, and then you should be able to remove the air box cover.

Here’s a walk through video showing the cleaning process, with written steps and more info below:

Find the right Air Filter Cleaner Here from Amazon to properly clean the air filter. The kits will come with a cleaner and a protective solution to keep the filter in good condition.

Remove the Air Filter from Dirt Bike

Once you’ve removed the air box cover or bike seat from your dirt bike, you should be able to clearly see the air filter sitting inside.

The next step is to remove the air filter by manually unscrewing the connected wing nut and then gently pulling the air filter out of its housing. Afterward, use a clean microfiber rag to wipe down the interior of the air box for a more thorough clean.  

When you pull the air filter out, make sure you pull its filter cage out as well because that will also need to be cleaned before it is reinstalled.

Additionally, be conscious not to accidentally drop and bolts, fasteners, or nuts inside your dirt bike and make sure you set them aside somewhere safe to ensure they aren’t lost during the cleaning process.

Choose the Right Air Filter Cleaning Agent

Dirt bike air filters are coated in two types of debris during general use: oils and dirt. Both of which can be tricky to remove efficiently without the proper products.

Choosing the right cleaning agents for your dirt bike air filter will often come down to personal preference. The safest and most thorough clean will often come from using specialized cleaners provided by air filter manufacturers but some people prefer to stick to the convenience of mild dish detergents.

Find the right Air Filter Cleaner Here from Amazon to properly clean the air filter. The kits will come with a cleaner and a protective solution to keep the filter in good condition.

In the end, as long as your product of choice is a cleaner and a degreaser, you should have no issues getting the ideal results. Just confirm that it is free of harsh chemicals that would damage or degrade your air filter’s foam material.

Here’s another walk-through video showing how to clean the air filter with a different approach:

Clean Oils and Dirt Off The Air Filter

To clean your dirt bike air filter, you’ll first need to carefully remove the filter cage. This can be cleaned using the same products you use one the air filter itself.

Next, apply your cleaning agent and gently massage it into the air filter’s material. Refrain from wringing out or twisting your air filters as you clean, as this could cause tearing and other damage.

Saturate the air filter with cold to lukewarm water (high temperature water can also cause damage) and continue to gently massage the cleaning agent into the foam material.

Once you’ve done this, rinse the air filter under cold or lukewarm water and determine if it is clean or if you need to repeat the process again. It might take two or three repetitions before you sufficiently remove all dirt and oils.

Leave Air Filter to Air Dry

The final step of the cleaning process for a dirt bike’s air filter is to let it dry completely before you reinstall it into your bike.

It is important to let your dirt bike’s air filter to air dry, as modern drying machines or other alternatives increase the chances of burning, melting, or otherwise damaging its fragile material.

Another crucial tip is to make sure the air filter and, if you cleaned it, the filter cage are dried thoroughly, since reinstalling them while wet could cause long-term damage to your bike’s interior components.

Oil and Reinstall All Components of Air Filter

After the cleaning process is complete, the only thing left for you to do is to reinstall everything into your bike in the reverse order they were removed.

To start, you’ll want to carefully reattach the filter cage to your clean air filter and then apply an even coating of oil if you have an oiled filter. This might seem counterproductive since you just cleaned your air filter, but oiling it is a crucial step of regular maintenance. Doing so will better ensure that the filter captures dirt and debris.

Make sure you apply a generous amount of oil to the air filter and distribute it evenly by gently massaging it into the foam material. You can then use a clean towel to remove any excess oil before reinstalling the air filter, replacing all bolts, and the dirt bike seat or box cover.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to properly clean your dirt bike’s air filter is crucial to keeping it in ideal condition and protecting interior components from damaged caused by dirt and other debris. Ideally, this is a process you should perform after every 50,000 miles (source) or when you notice the filter is thoroughly covered in debris.

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