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Self motorcycle maintenance – Oil and Air filter

Air filter

If you think filters are less important than engine oil or high octane fuel, then you need to give it a second thought.

Quality of air filters is directly related to the performance of the engine. This the reason why many riders prefer to replace the stock air filters them with high-performance ones like KTM riders here in India opt for K&N.

If stock filters cost in the range of 200-500 rupees for Indian bike brands, their high-performance counterparts may cost above Rs.4000

What happens when we neglect the Air filter

More polluted is your surrounding, more quickly the Air filter will get choked up. Inspect the Air filter at least during servicing.

Check the membranes for the residue of dust and other particles. If the dust is not much i.e. filter membranes are intact in their colour and shape, try cleaning it with petrol, else, the best is to replace them.

A choked-up air filter won’t be able to suck as much air as needed and may also pass out particles to the combustion chamber. Low oxygen in the air-fuel mixture will make the engine push more fuel to compensate the combustion thereby decreasing the average of the motorcycle.

Also, the pollutants passed through the air filter may stick inside the cylinder reducing the combustion efficiency.

Hence, it is important to take due care of the air filter.

Here is a video from Jeet Bhaskar replacing an air filter on KTM.

Note: Fuel filter is not an Oil filter. Fuel filter filters petrol and is connected below the fuel tank. Oil filter, filters engine oil and is fitted adjacent to the engine.

Oil filter

Engine oil serves many purposes, notably, keeping the engine parts (valve stems, valve lifters, rocker arms, clutch, gears and camshafts) lubricated thereby reducing friction between the moving parts.

While moving through different corners of the engine, the engine oil accumulates contaminants like dirt, carbon residue and some tiny metal shreds.

Oil filter comes into play here, it filters out the contaminants in the engine oil and plays a very important role in increasing the life of the engine.

Oil filter is generally placed close to the Oil pump. Oil pump pushes the pressurised oil returning from the engine through the filter screens before the oil gets routed again.

Bike Oil filter types

Oil filters. Square type filters on the left is generally used in Hero bikes. The one on the right, cylindrical types are more commonly used than the later one.

How to take care of Oil filters

Oil filters are generally replaced during the first service of run-in period. Ensure your mechanic replaces them as metal particles are expected to wear out from the new engine and collected by the oil filters.

Apart from the first service, oil filters are replaced post inspection. If the engine oil is getting dirty, of course the replacing the filter make sense. Otherwise, if the condition looks good i.e. colour and membrane are intact, then the filters are given a petrol wash and to put to use again.

Couple of videos I recommend to understand the oil filter and flow of engine oil.


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Hello, I am Niraj. I define myself as an amateur photographer, biker and seeker. I like to connect with like-minded friends and share experiences and stories from the place, people and time. I believe life is an endless journey and our actions no matter how small affects this infinite universe in some way or another. So let's not stop and keep our work going.

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