How to Clean Cold Air Intake Filter

The use of cold air intake is an effective method of improving engine performance. It consumes a significant amount of oxygen inside the turbine. More oxygen translates into higher fuel consumption, which in turn translates into increased horsepower and torque.

Your engine will have to work harder to draw in the air or cool down if your filter is clogged with dirt and debris. Dry filters are composed of foam, which is more effective than paper filters at blocking particulates.

The cold air intake filter, like all other engine parts, should be cleaned regularly to maintain peak performance.

Oiled variants, such as the well-known K&N® filters, have a cotton gauze structure that has been treated with oil.

Throughout this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about how to clean cold air intake filter, as well as the mechanics of how it works.

What Is A Cold Air Filter?

Generally, a cold air intake (also known as a CAI) is an aftermarket component arrangement that is intended to provide relatively cool air into a vehicle’s internal combustion engine.

When cold air intakes are used, the air filter is moved out of the engine compartment, allowing cooler air to be drawn into the engine and used for combustion.

Sign That It’S Time To Clean The Cold Air Intake Filter

  • Reduced fuel consumption
  • Overall performance loss
  • Strange Engine Noises
  • Lack of Acceleration

Step to Clean Cold Air Intake Filter

Dust and dirt accumulate in the engine, causing a reduction in power and a negative impact on fuel efficiency. Depending on the temperature, it is recommended to clean the washable filter four times a year or at the end of each season. There are two types of filters: oiled and dry; there is only one additional step for oiled filters.

Let’s look at a step-by-step tutorial for cleaning the cold air intake filter:

Step 1: Detaching the Clamps

It is necessary to open the hood of your vehicle and remove the filter from the interior to clean it in the first stage of this procedure.

Size, shape, and vehicle type are subject to change. Filters are available in flat, conical, and circular shapes. It depends entirely on the type of car you have.

Step 2: Keep away Loose Dirt

Wearing goggles and protective clothing will help prevent dust and debris from entering your body, skin, and nose, among other things. Shaking the filter vigorously will help remove any loose debris from the entire filter.

Caution should be exercised throughout this process, as the vehicle’s filter may be affected as a result of the shaking.

Step 3: Using a filter cleaner

The best method to clean it is to use an air filter cleaner. Simply spray an air filter cleaner on the filter to complete the process.

When the filter has been sitting for 15 minutes, you can touch it. In the market, you can get air filter cleaners from different manufacturers.

Step 4: Use air filter spray

The main function of the air filter sprayer is to remove impurities from the air filter and prepare the filter for the flushing procedure.

It is necessary to have access to cold water for this procedure. Maintaining a low water pressure is essential to effectively remove all dirt and dust that has accumulated on the filter.

Step 5: Let the filter dry

Gentle shaking of the air filter is necessary for proper drying. Excess water in the filter will be forced out of the filter as a result of this action.

Allow the filter to sit and dry for at least 24 hours. It will gradually dry overnight and you can move on to the next phase the following day.

Step 6: Grease the filter

Two different types of air filter oil are available. Air filter oil is available in a squeezable container, while vehicle filter oil is available as an atomized mist.

Make sure that the oil is well distributed throughout the filter pleats before use. If necessary, wipe with paper towels to remove any oil residue.

Step 7: Give it a Break

After applying the oil, let the filter stand for a while, 20-25 minutes will be enough.

Need a cold air intake filter?

If the turbocharger is not equipped with an air filter, dirt and debris can easily enter the turbocharger, causing serious damage.

In this case, your vehicle’s cold intake filter will serve as an oxygen mask.

There are many types of dry and refueling air filters available on the market. You should make your decision based on your requirements.


Can you wash a cold air intake filter?

Yes, in a gallon of water, combine a few drops of dish detergent and a few drops of dish soap and soak the air filter in it for 15 minutes.

Remove the filter from the solution and shake it to remove any remaining solution.

Prepare a new batch of cleaning solution and soak the filter for another 15 minutes before discarding it.

How much is an air intake filter?

The average cost of replacing an engine air filter ranges from $20 to $85, depending on whether you go to a mechanic or do it yourself.

How often should you clean your cold air intake filter?

The air filter should be cleaned and serviced every 12,000 miles or when the vehicle is first purchased. The frequency with which dry filters should be cleaned is determined by driving circumstances.

Which is better oiled or dry air filter?

A dry filter can often capture up to 99% of incoming contaminants, since the micron size of the filter media is smaller, while oiled filters only capture about 98% of what passes through, which may seem like a minimal difference, but it is significant.

Final Thoughts

It is possible to get more power and overall performance from your car by using a clean and well-maintained cold air intake filter.

If you follow the steps below and clean the filter on a regular basis, the filter will last much longer than expected. If you have read the entire article, you will have no doubts about how to clean cold air intake filter.

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.