Air filter are the lungs of the motorcycle engine. They control the entry of air into the engine and act as the gatekeepers of air – which is important for the engine to have the right air-fuel mixture.
So, what is the changing interval of air filter in a motorcycle? The air filter in a motorcycle should be replaced every 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres). The air filter should also be checked during servicing, i.e., every 3000 miles (5000 kilometres). If the filter is clogged with dirt during inspection, you need to replace the filter.
Other symptoms that indicate replacement of filter include – air filter blackening in color, exhaust misfiring, decrease in mileage and horsepower, and power lagging in the motorcycle.
Let us discuss in detail the replacement frequency of air filters, what the bike manufactures recommend, symptoms of a clogged air filter, and the effects of clogged filter on the motorcycle.
When To Change Air Filter In A Motorcycle
The air filter in a motorcycle should be replaced every 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres).
In addition, the air filter should be checked during every motorcycle servicing period. That is, checking and inspecting the air filter (air cleaner) every 3000 miles (5000 kilometres) of distance traveled.
Within the air cleaner, only the filter screen should be replaced since filter is the one that will be clogged from time to time.
Although the recommended frequency for changing the air filter is 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres), you should consider changing the filter much earlier if you are riding your bike in unusually wet or dusty areas.
Riding in dusty and unusually wet areas make the air filter to clog much faster. The dirt gets accumulated at a much higher speed than the usual.
What The Manufacturers Recommend
The manufacturers also recommend that the air filter should be changed around the 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres) distance mark.
If you want to know the exact time for replacement of air filter in your motorcycle, you can look up your bike’s owner manual.
Here are some of the collated recommendations from different bike manufacturers on the changing frequency of the air filter (air cleaner) in a motorcycle.
For Honda motorcycles, the air filter replacement frequency is every 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres) of distance traveled.
Triumph Thunderbird motorcycles are recommended to change their air filters for every 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres) as well.
For Kawasaki motorcycles, the air filter replacement frequency is every 11,400 miles (18,000 kilometres) of distance traveled.
Overall, the average frequency for air filter change comes around 12,000 miles for all these manufacturers.
That’s why, you should replace the air filter in your bike every 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres) of distance traveled. And have the air filter checked every 3000 miles (5000 kilometres).
Symptoms Of A Clogged Air Filter
Clogged air filter can affect the motorcycle performance drastically since air filters act as the gatekeeper for the entry of air into the system.
Apart from the usual replacement time for every 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres) of distance traveled, here are some indicators of a clogged air filter which needs to checked and replaced.
First, check if the air filter is blackened. Open the air filter lid and remove the air filter out from the motorcycle. If the air filter is blackened and has too much dirt to clean up, then it is time for you to replace the air filter in your motorcycle.
Usually, the color of air-filter will be of light color, most usually either yellow or white. If there is too much dirt, the light color of the filter will turn to black to give us an indication that the filter is clogged. And needs to be replaced.
Second, too much of exhaust misfiring is another indicator of a clogged air filter. Exhaust misfiring occurs when there is unburnt fuel coming into the exhaust system. This unburnt fuel comes in contact with the air and detonates to cause misfiring.
This presence of unburnt fuel occurs mainly because of insufficient air-fuel mixture entering the system. If the air-fuel mixture is rich, i.e., fuel is more than required and air is less than the required quantity, the fuel won’t burn completely due to insufficient supply of air.
Since lack of sufficient air is the foremost cause for such a detonation in the motorcycle, the air filter needs to be checked whenever the exhaust backfire occurs too much.
Third, if your motorcycle horsepower and mileage has reduced in the past week or so, then it is a very good indication that the air filter needs to be checked and replaced if necessary.
This reduction in both horsepower and fuel mileage is because of insufficient air-fuel mixture entering the combustion chamber. The damaged air filter won’t let sufficient air into the inlet valve and injection system.
Lastly, a power lag can be another indication that the air filter in your motorcycle may not be functioning properly.
Whenever the air filter is functioning properly, it won’t let sufficient air to enter into the injection system. The inlet valve won’t receive an appropriate amount of air since the air filter is blocking the air along with the dust particles.
So, if you are facing a power lag, then clogged air filter – which is preventing sufficient entry of air – is the main culprit.
Clogged Or Damaged Air Filter Affects Bike Performance
Whenever you have a clogged, dysfunctional, or damaged air filter in your motorcycle, the foremost impact will be on the air-fuel mixture entering the engine.
Inappropriate air-fuel ratio will impact the engine performance and results in low mileage, horsepower, fuel efficiency and the overall performance of the motorcycle.
In addition, the inlet valve, carburetor and the fuel injection system will start deteriorating as well. A clogged air filter, if left unchecked, will lead to a carburetor filled with dirt as well. The petcocks and the fuel lines can get clogged as well. And the only solution will be to dismantle the carburetor from the motorcycle and clean it, which can be a daunting task.
The engine valves, irrespective of whether the air filter is working or not, will open up for air intake and for fuel intake. But when the air filter is clogged, the engine valves will be stressed to intake sufficient amounts of air. As a result, the engine will start making strange noises along with experiencing stress in its performance.
For these negative effects that are caused by a damaged air filter, you must replace or clean the filter in your motorcycle whenever you are faced with a clogged or damaged air filter.
How often should you get your motorcycle serviced? For motorcycle servicing, it is best to refer to the owner’s manual to find the recommended servicing frequency. As a general thumb rule, it is advised to service the motorcycle for every 3000 miles (or 5000 kilometres) of distance traveled.
Why does motorcycle won’t accelerate? Poor acceleration problems are associated with the spark plugs not being in a healthy condition. The spark plugs have worn out or had gotten dirt into it to ignite the fuel mixture properly. Other possible reasons include clogged carburetor or dirt in the air filter.
When to change the air filter in a motorcycle? The air filter in a motorcycle has to be changed whenever there is too much dirt on the filter which has resulted in its blackening. Other indicators for changing the air filter include too much of exhaust misfiring, power lags, and reduced mileage and horsepower.