How To Clean And Change ATV Air Filter | Hunt or Shred

Your ATV needs clean air to perform well. The air filter is its first wall of defense against dust. Do you know how to clean and change ATV Air Filter?

A clean air filter keeps your ATV running well and helps you avoid future engine problems. But not all air filters need to be replaced; some can be cleaned and reused. In both cases, it is important to understand your filter type and how to go about maintaining them.

For the engine to run, it requires the correct mixture of fuel and air. The intake system feeds your engine with air. Air is not always clean, and especially with ATVs that run on all types of surfaces, harmful particles can enter the intake system. The only barrier that stands between destructive particles and vital engine components is your air filter.

Nearly all expert ATV mechanics believe that air filters that are not cleaned for long periods become weak. Dust and miniature particles can seep through weak air filters and harm your ATV engine. Why give these harmful particles a chance? Instead, cleaning your air filter on time will increase its efficient life.

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Why Clean Your Air Filter?

Whether you are more into dirt tracks or sandy beaches, there are a lot of benefits you can reap by paying attention to cleaning your air filter. Here are a few of them:

More Horsepower

A clogged air filter will not allow air to pass through freely. Less air entering the engine means losing out on horsepower. Like most riders, you will want to squeeze every HP out of your ATV because nobody likes an underpowered ATV.

A clean air filter allows your engine to swallow as much air it requires to provide you with the maximum power output.

Less frequent Oil Changes

Having a clogged air filter usually means having more debris and dirt entering your engine. Often, some of these particles can end up in your ATV’s engine oil. Contaminated oil does not work to cool and lubricate as it should and can cause engine wear.

Better Engine Life

With ATV engines running at high speeds, even a small amount of dirt in the combustion chamber can cause significant engine wear. Everything from the cylinders, pistons, and valves can get scratched by loose debris. A clean air filter stops unwanted particles from entering the engine and helps keep it clean on the inside.

When to Clean Your Air Filter?

As a rule of thumb, you are required to clean your air filter after every 50 hours of running. But, if you like to go for rides on dirt roads or in sandy conditions, you might need to clean your air filter every other ride.

We asked some ATV experts and mechanics, and they all said that there is no set time, but you can never clean your air filter too often. If you can do it after every other ride, you should do it.

Symptoms of a Bad Air Filter

With all the functions it goes through, your ATV air filter is sure to get dirty. Here are some faults that are linked to a bad air filter that you need to look out for:

Noisy Engine

With time, you get used to the natural sound of your ATV engine. But sometimes, you might hear coughing sounds or notice vibrations in the engine. These are symptoms of a damaged spark plug. A dirty air filter can also damage a spark plug and cause the engine to start misfiring.

Poor Fuel Consumption

One of the leading causes of ATVs becoming gas guzzlers are dirty air filters. If you notice that your ride has started to burn more fuel than it used to, it is time to clean or replace your air filter.

Gasoline Smell

Sometimes, the smoke will smell of gasoline. When there is an insufficient supply of oxygen, some of the fuel goes through the engine unburnt. The culprit of unburnt fuel is often a clogged air filter that prevents adequate air from reaching the combustion chamber.

Cleaning Your ATV Air Filter

The first step to cleaning an air filter is checking the type of air filter installed on your ATV. Most ATVs come with a foam filter, which is easy to clean and reusable.

If your ATV has a pleated paper filter, it can be airbrushed to remove dust and debris. But in this case, you will be required to replace your filter more often. It would be best if you did not wash your paper filter.

Once you know the filter type, you will need to buy the correct products that best suit your filter type.  

Things you will need

●        Plastic or rubber gloves – Protect your hands from harsh chemicals

●        Cleaning Solution - Depending on how deeply you want to clean, you can select from a range of solutions available in the market or online.

●        Oil Treatment - Filters need to be treated after cleaning. You can find a good oil treatment spray to make your job easier.

●        Buckets for cleaning the filter.

●        A Tray for cleaning the airbox.

Steps to Take

Step 1

Start by pouring the cleaning solution into the bucket. Then dip and gently rub the filter in the solution. As you do this, you will begin to see oil and gunk breaking down into the solution. Once you are sure that all debris has been removed, transfer the filter to another bucket of clean water

Step 2

Rinse the filter in clean water and check for any damages or tears on the filter

Step 3

Once properly rinsed, you will need to dry the air filter. It is best to set it aside in a clean place and let it air dry. Please do not attempt to use any shortcuts like a clothes dryer or hairdryer on the filter as it will damage the foam. Wait for the filter to dry completely.

Step 4

Just like you removed the debris gently, you will need to oil the filter carefully. It is important to evenly coat the surface with oil. The layer of oil helps stop smaller particles from passing through the filter. Make sure to take your time with the filter and don’t rush the process.

Step 5

Once properly oiled, squeeze the filter to remove any excess oil. You will now need to let it rest again for a few hours to allow the oil to dry.

Step 6

Before installing the filter back, you will need to wash the inside of the filter box with soapy water and a rag. Make sure to remove the plug, drain out all the water, and dry the box before installing the filter.

A Few Dos & Don’ts for Air Filters

Do Clean Regularly

You cannot be sure of the air filter’s condition just by looking at it. It is easy for small particles to be trapped deep in the air filter, away from your eyes. Following the notion of better safe than sorry, take the precaution of cleaning the filter. If you frequently ride on silt beds and sand, you will want to clean your filter every other ride

Do Clean the Box

Cleaning or replacing an air filter but leaving the air box dirty will contaminate the filter again quickly. All you need is a rag and some soapy water, and you can make your airbox free of harmful particles. Make sure to let the box dry before installing the filter back in.

Don’t Use Gasoline

Gasoline seems to work wonders when it comes to foam filters. But it is important to remember that in addition to removing gunk and contaminants, gasoline also breaks down fibers in the filter. The result is a clean but damaged air filter that will not serve its purpose completely.

Don’t Wring the Filter

There is nothing worse than twisting and wringing the filter. These twists and turns can easily tear the foam and fibers in the filter. If you need to remove any excess oil, it is better to squeeze it firmly and maybe give it a little shake. But do not EVER wring an air filter.

When to Replace Your Air Filter

Most ATVs use a reusable foam filter, but some models use a pleated paper air filter. Most paper filters can be airbrushed to blow off the debris but cannot be cleaned thoroughly. It is not recommended to clean a paper filter, and it should be replaced at correct intervals to keep your ATV running smoothly.

Foam filters are reusable and last much longer than paper filters, but they too have a lifespan. You must inspect the filter closely during every cleaning service and look for any wear and tear or obvious damages. If you do find something unusual, it is time to replace your foam filter. Do not use broken air filters as even little damages defeat their main purpose of filtration.

Remember, the air filter is an important component that governs a lot regarding engine performance and life. You must pay the right amount of attention to it; clean or replace it as required, and your ATV will thank you for letting it breathe fresh and clean air.





41 years old. I'm a freelance writer that specializes in informational blog posts. All my articles are detail oriented and well researched. I'm a huge Arizona Cardinals fan!

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