How to fit an air filter to a MINI R56 Cooper S & JCW
13 August 2020
How to fit an air filter to a MINI R56 Cooper S & JCW

Taking care of your Gen 2 MINI’s air filter is a simple but essential part of keeping your engine running smoothly. Its main role is to ensure that the air-to-fuel balance within the engine isn’t compromised by external debris such as dust or dirt.

If your air filter becomes too clogged up or contaminated then there’s a chance it can start to lose its effectiveness. A torn air filter could result in harmful debris entering the engine, whilst a blocked air filter may mean that insufficient levels of oxygen within the engine causes a drop in performance or damage to internal components such as your spark plugs.


Choosing a replacement air filter for your MINI

The OEM filter for your MINI will do the job just fine for regular driving and general use, but as with just about every component for MINI, there are a plethora of aftermarket options available to suit just about every need.

Aftermarket filters can provide a much higher level of performance and improved airflow capability, which is ideal for fast road driving or track days.

Our pick for both N14 and N18 Cooper S / JCW models would be the ITG Profilter Foam Air Filter. Replacing the standard paper filter with a high-performance foam based one not only provides improved engine performance but saves you money in the long run.

Paper filters are usually changed every 3 to 4 years, but by investing in a foam filter and cleaning it, rather than replacing it, you can get far more use out of it.

If your Cooper S has been upgraded with the JCW tuning package then your airbox will look slightly different and therefore requires a different filter such as the ITG Profilter for Stage 1 JCW, which can still be cleaned and reused.

If you’re going down the aftermarket route, you must make sure that your replacement filter will fit your MINI accurately and provide protection from debris.


Changing an air filter on a MINI R56 Cooper S & JCW

As a general rule, your air filter should be changed during your annual service, or after every 10,000 miles, in order to ensure that it’s most effective.

If you’re taking part in track or race days, are doing higher than the usual mileage or are noticing a drop in performance then you might want to consider changing your filter at an earlier stage.

As we all know, not all MINIs are created equal. So we’ve also covered how to change an air filter on a MINI R53 Cooper S & JCW here.

Changing an air filter on your MINI R56 isn’t an overly arduous task. With the right equipment, a bit of patience and our step by step guide you can easily complete this job on the driveway.

If you’re unsure, or just don’t fancy doing it yourself - contact our team on 01785 859999 or [email protected] and we can arrange to do this for you or as part of a service.


Equipment required

1x performance air filter (we recommend the ITG Foam Filter)

1x ITG Air Filter Cleaning Kit (optional)

1x flat-headed screwdriver or 8mm socket

1x Torx T20 screwdriver 


Step by Step Guide

Step 1

Open up the bonnet then locate the airbox, which is towards the rear of the engine.

How to fit an air filter to a MINI R56 Cooper S & JCW

Step 2

Unscrew the jubilee clip which holds the intake hose against the airbox using a flathead screwdriver or an 8mm socket. Once loose, remove the intake hose from the airbox completely by pulling firmly.

How to fit an air filter to a MINI R56 Cooper S & JCW

Step 3

Using a Torx T20 screwdriver, loosen the four screws which are located at the front of the airbox. These will not be removed completely but should be loose enough to manoeuvre.

How to fit an air filter to a MINI R56 Cooper S & JCW

Step 4

Once this has been unscrewed, remove the airbox by lifting up and unhooking from the back.

Step 5

Once the airbox is safely out of the way, remove the old air filter. If you’re removing your filter to be cleaned, then you’ll need to apply another coat of grease. We recommend the ITG Air Filter Cleaning Kit, which removes grime and reapplies oil to catch additional dust particles.


How to fit an air filter to a MINI R56 Cooper S & JCW

Step 6

If you’re fitting a new performance filter, like one of ITG’s foam filters, they usually come pre-greased. Place the filter in the housing and ensure that it fits without any gaps.

Step 7

Once the filter is installed, follow these steps in reverse to rebuild the airbox, making sure that the filter cover and intake hose are both secure.


Hopefully, this step by step guide will have given you all you need to undertake this task on your driveway. Remember, make sure you at least clean your air filter every 12 months or 10,000 miles to ensure that it performs to the best of its ability.

For more help or to get your MINI booked in at Lohen for an air filter change, please contact our team on 01785 859999 or [email protected]



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