What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Air Filter? 8 Signs You Need to Watch Out For!

Your motorcycle needs to be maintained regularly for you to get the best performance out of it. And one of the main things you need to take care of is the air filter of a motorcycle. 

But when do you actually clean or replace it? What are the symptoms of a bad air filter? Well, we’re going to help you see through the symptoms in this article. So buckle up and wear your helmets because this will be a long one. 

Just like you, your bike will work better if it can breathe a bit easier. So it’s crucial that you keep the motorcycle air filter clean. If you fail to do so, you can expect your performance to suffer a bit.

So, in this article, we’ll be discussing the key signs that you should change or clean your bike’s air filter. 

8 Bad Air Filter Symptoms in Motorcycle

1. Dirty Air Filter

Here’s the first rule of thumb that you have to comply with. If the air filter looks dirty, you can safely assume that it is dirty and get to washing as soon as you can. A fully clean air filter might even appear quite white.

And the different debris, dirt, and grime will gradually turn the color of the filter darker. Eventually, you might even think that you colored your air filter black at some time. 

So, it’s always important that you inspect visually at first. But there are also other ways to check too. And sometimes, the air filter might not turn black and still cause problems. That’s why you should move through the other symptoms. 

2. Experiencing Lower Mileage

It’s quite possible that you’re experiencing lower gas mileage due to a dirty air filter. So if you can’t seem to see a dirty filter and you check that you’re getting lower mileage, it can be due to the dirt inside the filter too.

In this case, the filter might not be dirty enough to be visible. But there is still a ton of grime in there which prevents air from traveling through. Eventually, you get to see different mileage readings without an explanation. Well, here’s your explanation! 

3. Misfiring or Missing Engine

Your motorcycle engine might take longer to start if the filter is dirty. If you see that the engine is having trouble starting like the normal time, you can assume that enough air isn’t getting through to the engine.

And do you know who the culprit is in this case? The dirty air filter. Your engine needs access to air as much as it needs fuel. And when it detects a disproportionate fuel to air ratio, it will misfire.

This is pretty normal with almost all combustion engine vehicles. And the reason for less air is the dirty air filter. If you get it out and give it a proper cleaning, you can immediately see outstanding improvements.

4. Strange Bumping Noises

Sometimes your bike engine might produce strange noises. This could be due to a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is the lack of oxygen. If the combustion engine gets enough oxygen, it will generate an even sound, the one you love.

But if you can’t provide your engine with proper air through the air filter, there will be an uneven distribution of oxygen. Eventually, the engine will suffer in the long run.

So spend some time with your bike on the weekend and pull the air filter out. You can alleviate the strange noises with a completely clean bike air filter.

5. Horsepower Reduction

Although this isn’t the most common symptom of a dirty air filter, this does tend to happen at times. You will notice this if you see that your beloved bike isn’t accelerating as fast as you’d want it to.

Or, you’re absolutely sure that you left the asphalt quicker than this. The throttle response also becomes pretty poor. All this can happen if your bike engine can’t get access to enough air.

You will eventually suffocate the engine if you keep on running the bike like this. So make sure that you keep your bike’s air filter clean whenever you’re cleaning your motorcycle.

6. Check Engine Light Turned on

Nowadays, almost all bikes come with the check engine light feature, just like cars. So the bike automatically starts giving you hints that you need to check things out to make things better.

A badly damaged air filter can let in impurities into the engine. And these impurities might damage the engine in more ways than you can think of. So pull out the filter and check if there are any significant holes in it. 

If you see that there is significant damage to the filter, it’s definitely time for a replacement. You also need to get the engine checked since it’s been exposed to different grimes while the filter wasn’t doing its job.

7. Significant Fuel Smells

Another thing that indicates a bad filter is the smell of fuel. And don’t get me wrong, the smell of fuel is good, and you can probably smell that in a new bike too.

What I’m talking about here is the strong fuel smell that actually doesn’t smell right. You have to check all the signs and make sure that your air filter isn’t the culprit.

8. You See Black Smokes

Black smoke can indicate a ton of issues with your motorcycle. And a bad air filter is one of them. A dirty air filter might cause your engine to power up with too much fuel. 

When the engine is burning more fuel than it’s supposed to, you’ll know that something isn’t right. So check out the air filter first. 

Final Words

If you’ve gone through all the symptoms carefully, you should be set. Change or clean your air filter if you think you have the above symptoms. Whether you see black smoke or hear strange noises, always check the air filter first. 

This should clear things up in case your question was, “What are the symptoms of a bad air filter?” So come back to this guide anytime. 

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