How To Clean Your Dirt Bike’s Air Filter?

A mechanic is performing maintenance on a motorcycle, checking the air filter

November 8, 2021

If you own a dirt bike, there’s a good chance you’re riding it through the mud and dust at some stage. One of the most crucial components of the dirt bike is the air filter, which stops dirt, sand and other contaminants from reaching the engine and potentially causing damage. Maintaining your air filter is crucial to avoid damaging your bike, but if you are interested in dirt bike insurance for parts of your motorbike, Swann has you covered.

Just like your own body, the bike’s engine needs air to function, so here’s a handy guide on how you can clean the air filter and keep your dirt bike in great condition.

There are a few items you’ll need to help clean the air filter:

  • gloves (it’ll get quite messy)
  • turpentine
  • detergent/filter cleaner
  • plastic bag (zip lock preferable)
  • filter oil
  • grease

1. Remove and check the air filter
When removing the air filter, first put on your gloves and give the filter a wipe with a damp cloth so that no loose dirt falls into the intake. There’s a good chance the air filter will be covered in oil and other muck, so be careful when removing it. If the air filter is damaged, it might be time to replace it; if not, it should last for many thousands of kilometres.

2. Apply the turpentine
The first stage of cleaning the air filter involves removing all the old oil which will be all through the filter. Turpentine is a good option as it will break down the oil on the filter. After applying the turpentine, squish the air filter until the liquid has gone right through it, then give it a good squeeze to remove the dirty remnants. You may need to do this step a few times to remove as much oil as possible.

3. Wash the air filter
After cleaning with turpentine, it’s time to give the air filter a wash. Dishwashing liquid/detergent is the preferred choice as it will eat through the oil, resulting in a cleaner air filter. After washing the air filter, make sure to let it dry for a while so that no water is left in it.

4. Oil the air filter
Once the air filter is dry, it’s time to apply some new filter oil to it. The best way to do this (it gets really messy) is to put the filter inside a plastic, either one that has a zip lock or one that is big enough to tie a knot in. Add the filter oil to the bag and move it around until the entire filter is covered. You may need to check it for any dry spots.

5. Grease the air filter
Before reinserting the air filter, apply some grease around the edges of the rim, cage or housing, which will help to create a tighter seal and stop dirt getting through.

6. Reinsert the air filter
With the above steps complete, it’s time to reinsert the air filter into the bike. Screw the filter back into place, reattach any covers, then start up your bike to see how it sounds and operates. Happy riding!


As insurance specialists for dirt bikes, Swann Insurance wants to ensure that you and your dirt bike are adequately covered in case of accident, theft or other problem.|CB?#k$b_$1eg:z/Q.jP|;L|4a0Hc*pLw_CR@`,sM[.eJjz/yb;*g