An air cleaner or air filter is a device for filtering, cleaning, and removing debris from the air being sucked into the engine. A dirty air cleaner will cause a motorcycle engine to exhibit decreased performance – the engine will run rich, burning more fuel than necessary – it may even foul the spark plug(s). Air filter designs have changed over the years but are the same in principle – they are typically manufactured from paper, oiled foam, oiled gauze, or wire mesh. Paper and oiled gauze air filters are usually pleated to increase the surface area for better breathing and longer service intervals.
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