Air filters are an extremely important part of a motorcycle's engine, as they filter out any dust and debris that could possibly be sucked into the engine's intake, which can seriously damage your engine. There are three main types of motorcycle engine air filters, each of which differs from each other in terms of effectiveness and the benefits they provide. If you're looking for used motorcycles for sale, understanding the differences between these three types of air filters can help you choose the right one for your bike when you find it.
Oiled Foam Air Filters
Most commonly found in dirt bikes, as they are highly durable, oiled foam filters out debris by sucking air through the foam. The oil will absorb any dirt and prevent fine particles from getting into the engine. Normal engine oil is commonly used with these filters. Oiled foam air filters must be oiled semi regularly in order to continue to work properly, and should be checked for any damage. As they are used, oiled foam filters will begin to gradually degrade, eventually simply falling apart in your hands when you try to wring out the oil. When this happens, the filter needs to be replaced.
Fabric Air Filters
The most expensive type of motorcycle engine air filters, fabric air filters, have a fine fabric inside a metal mesh that filters out any fine particles and debris before it reaches the engine. They have to be cleaned with a special cleaning oil, which is available at most motorcycle parts stores. While this represents an additional long-run cost, it can help extend the lifespan of your fabric air filter. In fact, if properly maintained, a single fabric air filter will outlast any other type of motorcycle engine air filter, helping to offset the high initial cost of these filters.
Paper Air Filters
Paper air filters are the most common type of motorcycle engine air filter, and they use fine paper to filter the air being drawn into the engine. However, the low cost of paper air filters means that they are the least durable, and they have the shortest lifespan of all available types of filters. This is because if a paper air filter becomes wet, it no longer functions properly. If they are dried out, the air filter will still work, just at a lower efficiency and it will place a greater strain on the engine. Paper air filters are only ideal for street bikes used in city driving, as there is less debris to filter out and much less potential exposure to water.