• Steven E. Overmyer

Cleaning Your ATV's Air Filter

It’s not rocket science that performing basic maintenance on our favorite offroad toys will help them last longer - however, it’s rarely our favorite part of owning them. Something as simple as cleaning your ATV’s air filter has probably been at the bottom of your to-do list for some time now, but let’s face it: it’s been a while, and that thing is clogged with dirt, dust, and debris. So, if you want your quad to live a long and healthy life, take a little time out of your next day off to perform this small labor of love.

Getting Prepared

There’s nothing like finally getting around to tackling a task, only to realize that you don’t have all of the necessary items to get the job done. To avoid this, take a few moments to ensure that you have the following on hand:

• Tools to access the filter

• Rubber gloves

• A clean rag

• Air filter cleaner

• Air filter oil

• Contact cleaner/WD-40 (for foam filters only)

• Grease (for foam filters only)

• Two buckets for cleaner and oil (for foam filters only)

Before you dive in gloves-first, carefully remove the air filter per the machine’s instruction manual. Take a moment to check out the air boot and make sure that it’s clean, wiping it down if necessary. If you have a foam filter, you can spray the air boot with contact cleaner or WD-40 prior to wiping it down.

Cleaning the filter

Cleaning a paper filter is pretty simple. After removing it from the air boot, spray it completely with an appropriate cleaner. Once the filter is heavily saturated all over, allow it to sit for about ten minutes. Next, you’ll rinse the filter from the inside out with warm water, stopping only when the water runs clear and there’s no dirt or oil left. Repeat the prior steps if necessary, or allow it to dry completely.

When cleaning a foam filter, you’ll start by gently removing the supportive plastic cage from the center; this will be cleaned later. Soak the filter in about a gallon of cleaner poured into a bucket, allowing the solution to do most of the work. After soaking for a few minutes, remove and gently squeeze the filter. The key word here is “gently;” wringing it out will likely cause damage to it. You’ll then wash the cleaner out of the filter with warm water and dish soap, rinsing repeatedly until the water runs clear when squeezed. Take a moment to clean the supportive plastic cage as well, and replace it when finished. Double-check the filter for any damage, and allow it to completely air-dry for a few hours.

Oiling the filter

Whether you’re using a paper or foam filter, it will need to be oiled once cleaned and dried. There are different methods to oiling a filter, however, and you want to go with the one that ensures the filter will be completely covered in oil. With a foam filter, submerging it completely and gently squeezing out the excess oil is your safest bet. With a paper filter, aim to buy oil that comes in an aerosol can, and spray the filter from about three inches away. Once your filter is covered in oil, let it sit for 20-30 minutes, and voila - your filter is clean and ready to reinstall!


Very carefully, place the air filter back in your UTV the same way you took it out; being rough in the process could damage the filter. With a foam filter, grease the outer rim with rim grease to encourage a firm seal. Make sure that it has sealed properly so your hard work isn’t undone with dirt and debris. Once you put away all of your supplies, you’re ready for your next ride!

Keeping your air filter clean and cared for is a simple, quick task that can make or break your quad’s lifespan. If your ATV is due for service, drop it off at Outdoor Powersports’ service department; or, if you’re in the market for a new ride, take a look at our impressive selection of new and used offroad vehicles. Outdoor Powersports is located in Gainesville, TX, and proudly serves Dallas and Denton as well.

51 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All