How to Clean and Oil K&N Air Filters
K&N is a brand synonymous with high quality air filters designed to keep particulates out of your vehicle's engine while allowing the maximum amount of clean airflow. Producing air filters for just about every powersports vehicle make and model, chances are there's a K&N filter in your machine.
Cleaning a K&N air filter allows as much air as possible to pass through the engine, while oiling ensures it traps as many particulates as possible. Watch the video above and follow the step-by-step guide below for cleaning and oiling a K&N air filter.
Paper and Foam Filters vs. K&N Filters
There are two types of air filters that typically come standard with a motorcycle, utility vehicle or automobile: paper and foam. Paper air filters, as their name suggests, are made from a paper-like material, and foam air filters are made from a soft polyurethane foam material.
Both paper and foam filters allow air to pass through them while filtering out any impurities. However, paper filters have their drawbacks. They quickly lose airflow capacity once they get dirty. Foam air filters, on the other hand, are excellent at allowing airflow, but aren't as effective at filtering particulates from the air.
K&N fabric air filters are made of a cotton gauze material arranged into layers. This cotton gauze material is exceptional at filtering out airborne particulates, while offering excellent high-airflow characteristics even when dirty.
K&N air filters are reusable, as opposed to paper filters, which have a single-use lifespan, and foam filters, which are prone to breaking down over time. In fact, K&N air filters are guaranteed by the manufacturer to last for 10 years.
K&N Air Filter Care
Caring for a K&N air filter is a simple cleaning and oiling process. The cleaning removes trapped dirt and debris in the filter, while the oiling provides an adhesive quality that makes it even more effective at trapping contaminants. There are plenty of cleaners available for every type of air filter, including some that can be used with both foam and fabric filters. These types of cleaners are ideal if you own vehicles with different air filter types. However, only fabric air filter cleaner should be used on K&N filters.
How to Clean a K&N Air Filter
Step 1. Thoroughly shake the can of air filter cleaner.
Step 2. Liberally spray the inside and outside (or topside and underside side) of the K&N filter, then leave the cleaner to soak into it for about 15 minutes.
Step 3. Hose down the air filter with water to rinse away all the dirt, debris and filter cleaner.
Step 4. Let the air filter dry overnight before oiling it, which is necessary because any remaining moisture will prevent the filter oil from penetrating it.
NOTE: Never use contact/brake cleaner or carb cleaner on a K&N air filter, as theylll severely damage its cotton gauze material.
How to Oil a K&N Air Filter
Oiling the filter is a simple, one-step process. Spray a light, even coating of oil on the inside and outside (or topside and underside) of the K&N filter before reinstalling it.
NOTE: Many air filter oils are also available for use on both foam and fabric, but it's recommended you only use fabric air filter oil on a K&N filter.
How often you need to clean and oil a K&N filter depends on the type of machine it's used in, as well as the conditions the vehicle typically runs in and how hard it's driven. Check your vehicle's service manual to see the manufacturer's recommendations on cleaning or changing air filters for additional guidance.