ZX-6R Maintenance: Clean Air Filter

The bike in these photos is a year 2000 ZX-6R.


I am not a mechanic or a representative of any motorcycle or tool manufacturer or anything else official. This page is only my notes on doing this procedure myself. Although I believe what I have documented here is correct, I make no promises and you do this at your own risk.


Cleaning your air filter is part of the regular service schedule for your bike. If it has become clogged with dirt, you’ll notice an improvement in performance and fuel economy.


Tools Required

  • Rear stand (recommended)
  • Phillips screwdrivers
  • Hex wrenches
  • Metric sockets, including a long extension shaft.

Supplies Required

  • Air filter cleaner (Commercial Product or kerosene)
  • Air Filter Oil, or motor oil of appropriate grade

Difficulties & Warnings

Some difficulties could be:

  • Tearing the foam filter element by being too rough with it when cleaning.
  • The cleaning and oiling procedure is somewhat messy.


Putting the bike on a rear stand makes this job much easier by levelling the bike and holding it steady.

First you must remove the gas tank. Then:

Remove Airbox Cover

Remove the 10mm bolts around the outside of the air filter cover.
And lift the cover off. Just leave it dangling in the bike, still connected by the breather hose.
The air filter element is foam enclosed in a plastic frame. Be careful not to puncture or damage the foam or you’ll have to replace it.
Lift out the plastic frame and the enclosed foam element.
You’ve now exposed the openings leading into the carburetors.
To avoid getting dirt or parts in the carburetors, put some rags into the openings.
Carefully remove the foam filter element from the plastic frame.

Clean Filter Element

The manual says you can use any low flash-point solvent, like kerosene, to clean the element. But you can also get convenient ready-made products like this “K&N Air Filter Cleaner”.
Spray a generous amount on the filter, it says, until it is thoroughly saturated. (Have the filter on a disposable surface like this piece of cardboard.)
The instructions say to let the soaked filter sit for 10 minutes.
Then, rinse it under gently running warm water, making sure the water flows through the filter from the clean side (grey) to the dirty side (yellow) so the dirt is carried out of the foam.
Gently squeeze the clean element to get most of the water out, then set it somewhere to air dry. My service manual suggests drying with compressed air, but the cleaner bottle says that might blow a hole in the foam, and suggests just air-drying.

Re-Oil Filter Element

Now you need to saturate the clean, dry foam with oil. You can use engine oil, or buy a special product like this Spectrol Filter Oil. The advantage of this product is it is coloured, so you can see where you have put it.
Spray a liberal amount onto the filter,
both sides. Gently massage the foam to ensure the oil penetrates evenly.
This product says to let the oiled filter sit for 20 minutes.
Then, reassemble the plastic frame.


Put the clean filter back in the housing,
making sure it is properly seated in the rubber seal on all side.
Put the cover back on the air filter housing,
and reinstall the cover bolts. You’re done.


  1. DO NOT TRY THIS. The stock ZX6R j1 filters do not need oil. They are dry air filters. This will disintegrate the entire filter if you degrease it while it is not an oil air filter.

    1. After your warning, I checked my documentation and both the shop manual for the bike and my Hayes manual agree with these instructions. YMMV of course – I’ll believe the manual, and these instructions help make what’s in the manual clearer.

  2. Thank so much for this help! My 2002 ZX6R is my first bike and these instructions are a life saver!

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