How to Change a Lawn Mower Air Filter

What You'll Need
Clean Dry Cloth
Cleaning Solvent
Small Crescent Wrench
Mower Air Filter

A lawn mower that fails to run smoothly or is sometimes hard to start may not be getting the air it needs. This lack of air can be caused by a clogged or dirty air filter. You will find this kind of problem to be easily correct by changing the filter. Follow these 6 easy steps for a successful project.

Step 1 – Locate Your Filter

If you need a new mower filter to replace one that is dirty or damaged, you'll need to know what kind of filter your mower uses. To determine this, locate your mower's filter, its housing and the screw or bolt that holds the cover in place. You'll recognize the filter and its housing by its cylindrical or square shape.

Step 2 – Remove the Filter

Remove the filter cover. If your filter housing is square or rectangular you will likely need to remove a bolt and nut that holds the filter cover in place. Once you've removed the cover, take out the filter and examine it. If it appears dirty, damaged or clogged with oil, you will likely need to replace it.

Some dirty filters can be cleaned. Paper filters are an exception. When immersed in cleaning fluid, they have a tendency to lose their shape and their filtering qualities. Consequently, paper filters should always be replaced when dirty.

Step 3 – Purchase the Right Replacement

Make a note of your mower brand and model as well as the position of your filter. Most mower filters are available at home improvement stores. You can avoid purchasing the wrong filter if you take your dirty filter and/or the name and model of your mower with you to the store.

Step 4 – Prepare Your Mower to Receive New Filter

Examine surfaces near the filter opening for dirt or debris that could enter your mower's engine and cause damage to sensitive components. If there is oil, grease or gasoline residue, remove it with a cloth and solvent so it does not inadvertently contaminate your new filter or become drawn into the mower's engine.

Step 5 – Install New Filter

Insert the new filter in its compartment. If it fails to fit properly, avoid forcing it. If it is not as it is intended it will not filter as it should. If it is a paper filter, remember to insert it so that the air flows through it in the right direction.

Step 6 – Test Filter

Start the engine to test whether the mower will run properly with the new filter. A smooth running engine will tell you the new filter has been successfully replaced.