K&N air filters have many advantages over stock filters. You get more horsepower, better gas mileage, and a million mile warranty. Best of all, you get a sticker! But an oft overlooked bonus is that a K&N filter never needs to be replaced, only cleaned. Unfortunately, that cleaning is also oft overlooked, leading to an asthmatic intake system. So here’s a quick rundown on how to keep your K&N filter clean and breathing easy.
First of all, if you share a cleaning schedule with Adrian Monk, you’ll want to pull your filter for a detail once a week. Don’t. K&N recommends taking a good look at your filter every 25,000 miles. Their rule for cleaning box-housed filters is as follows: If you can no longer see the wire mesh for all the dirt, dust, and wombat fur, or if it’s been 50,000 miles since your last cleaning, it’s time for a good bath. The same applies to cone filters, though these have a 100,000 mile limit instead.
What you’ll need:
-A bottle of K&N Filter Cleaner
-A bottle or spray can of K&N Filter Oil
-Gently running water
-About an hour
The oil and cleaner come packaged together in a recharge pack, and since we’re always looking out for you, we’ve got it. Once that’s in hand, you can get to work.
Spray it down. Hose the filter thoroughly on both sides with the cleaner, making sure it gets everywhere. Let that soak in for about ten minutes while you microwave and shotgun a Hot Pocket.
Water it. Notice we didn’t say, “Use a fire hose to blast it into oblivion.” Take a gentle
flow of running water to the back, or “clean” side of the filter. Go easy on it. The cleaner has already loosened the dirt, so the water needs only carry that junk away.
Let it dry. Gently shake the excess water off and let the filter dry. The next step will be oil application, and oil and water, as you can guess, mix as well Ford and GM marketing execs whose kids play on opposing soccer teams.
Now for the oil. K&N filters use cotton rather than paper like most filters. In order to maximize effectiveness, the cotton needs to be soaked in oil. That oil comes in either an aerosol spray or a liquid. If you’re spaying, hold the can about three inches from the “in” side of the filter and spray a single coat in even strokes along the pleats. If you’re using the liquid, squeeze it out along the peak of each pleat. Let it soak for about twenty minutes and give it a look. The filter should be stained red evenly across the whole surface. If any light areas remain, hit them again with the oil. Be careful not to over-oil. If the filter becomes saturated to the point of dripping, wash the filter and start over.
And you’re ready to roll. Wouldn’t it be nice if all cleaning was as easy as spraying, rinsing, and eating Hot Pockets in the interim? We’re still waiting for the K&N Million Mile Bathroom. Meanwhile, keep your breather clean and efficient, and get the most out of your K&N filter.