How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Air Filter Oil

a person refill engine oil

The responsibility of a motorcycle air filter is to allow uncontaminated air to enter the motorcycle’s engine and facilitate combustion. If you use a bad or improperly prepared air filter, you’re going to run into problems. Namely, your engine will incur damage and thus break down much faster than it would otherwise.

The key to maintaining a motorcycle air filter is covering it with air filter oil. Oil is vital, as motorcycles are ultra-susceptible to taking in contaminants. The oil clings onto contaminants that would otherwise pass through, and thus saves the engine from undue stress.

Engaging in motorcycle maintenance currently? Looking to oil your motorcycle air filter? If so, you might be searching for a motorcycle air filter oil.

Fortunately, we can help you find one. Without further ado, here’s how to find the right motorcycle air filter oil.

Understand the Different Types of Filter Oils 

First and foremost, you need to gain an understanding of the different types of filter oils. To help you do this, we’ll discuss the most prominent types below.


Long before synthetic and plant-based oils existed, motorcyclists simply dipped their air filters into standard petroleum-based oils, the same oils that are used to lubricate engines. While this is not the most optimal way to go about things, it does work. So, if you’re in a sticky situation where you don’t have time to get your hands on other types of oils, consider using petroleum-based oil.

Note, though, that doing this on a regular basis can be problematic. Why? because the oil doesn’t absorb into the filter all that well, and so can come to rest at the base of the air box. In some cases, it can even be sucked into the engine, resulting in miscellaneous issues.


Plant-based oils are made out of — what else? — plants. They absorb terrifically into motorcycle air filters and stay put for a long time at that. These are always solid bets, though they are more expensive than petroleum-based oils.

Non-toxic and biodegradable, they make the cleaning of air filters simple. If you really want your motorcycle to run at its max capacity, you should utilize plant-based oil for your motorcycle air filter.

There are all sorts of motorcycle air filters of this type. Assess your needs and choose one that fits them.

Know What Not to Use

While you should certainly know your options, you should also know what not to use. Namely, you should never use gasoline as a substance with which to oil your air filter.

Yes, gasoline has the ability to tear away the grime that the air filter picks up. However, because it’s so corrosive, it also has the ability to wear down the structural components of the filter. So, if you use gasoline, you’ll effectively just be destroying your filter long before it’s supposed to deteriorate.

Consider Application Style

The application of air filter oil is generally performed by dipping the filter into a bucket or bowl of oil. This fully saturates the filter and ensures that it’s doing the best job possible.

That said, there are spray oils available. These sprays enable you to saturate filters with oil without having to get your hands messy.

So, which application style should you choose? Should you spray on your oil, or should you dip your filter into the oil? Generally speaking, we advise dipping.

This is because, in many cases, spraying the oil doesn’t facilitate full absorption. When full absorption isn’t facilitated, the filter doesn’t perform to the best of its capabilities.

However, there is an exception: fabric filters. If your filter is made out of fabric instead of foam, it can be accommodated by spray oil.

Assess Tacker Consistency

Some companies add a substance known as tacker to their oils. They do this because tacker makes the oil stickier. Some believe that a stickier oil will do a better job of catching contaminants and will therefore facilitate a more efficient ride.

a person check his bike

As of now, there is no consensus opinion. It’s all about testing out different oils and going with what you’re most comfortable with. That said, when buying filter oils, you should at the very least take tacker consistency into consideration.

Think About Getting an Alcohol-Infused Air Filter Oil

The last thing you need to consider is whether your chosen oil contains isopropyl alcohol or not. In some cases, companies add alcohol to their air filter oils as a means of making them more absorbent. The belief is that the more absorbent they are, the longer they’ll last, and the more use customers will get out of them.

This may or may not be the case. Regardless, if you do opt for an air filter oil containing alcohol, you need to know that its application will take longer than for an oil that doesn’t contain alcohol. This is because you have to wait for the alcohol to evaporate after it’s been applied.

Motorcycle Air Filter Oil Has a Larger Effect than you Realize

While motorcycle air filter oils may seem the same, in truth, they can have quite a large effect on a motorcycle’s functionality. This is why, when choosing a motorcycle air filter oil, it’s vital to heed the advice discussed above. Doing so will lead to proper motorcycle care, and thus ensure that your motorcycle performs as efficiently as possible and for as long as possible.

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