How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter – Step-by-Step

Air filter is an important part of a lawn mower. It protects the engine from dust, dirt and grass debris. Overtime, air filters get clogged and this can damage your lawn mower’s engine or affect it performs. Fortunately, filters can be cleaned or replaced. Let’s look at how to clean lawn mower air filter.

A visual inspection can be the first confirmation of a clogged or dirty air filter. In a good condition, the filter should appear white and clean. If it appears brown or black, this is a telltale sign that you should clean or replace the lawn mower’s air filter. Other signs of a clogged air filter include the following:

  • Decreased engine performance – Low amount of oxygen available in the fuel reduces the ignition and burning rate of fuel for production of power.
  • Lawn mower smoking black – This happen as a result of a decreased rate of fuel burning due to inadequate air supply.
  • Noisier engine than before – With clogged air filters, your lawn mower will become louder than before or you may notice strange sounds from the engine.
  • Trouble starting the lawn mower – Engine does not easily start without air, fuel and working spark plugs. You will have problem starting your lawn mower if one of them is compromised.
  • More fuel consumption – More fuel goes unburnt and as a result you will notice reduced runtime of your lawnmower.

Should you clean or replace lawn mower’s air filter?

Most lawn mowers are equipped with two types of air filters namely; foam air filter and dual element filters consisting of foam and a paper filter. Both types of air filters can be cleaned if their entire component is still intact and should be replaced if there are tears or holes in their fibers.

Briggs and Stratton – a leader in production of small engines common in lawn mowers and other garden tools recommends servicing air filter system every 25 operating hours and more often if you are working in dirty conditions. This will prevent the engine from premature wear and tear resulting from debris in the fuel/air mixture.

Replacing air filters is one of the fix of a lawn mower that won’t start after sitting. You can replace or clean the air filters yourself without taking your machine to a repair shop. You’ll only need to read and follow guidelines in the user manual for any specific recommendations.

How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter

Once your owner manual Okays cleaning of the foam or dual element air filter, then following the following steps:

  1. The first thing to do is to turn off the lawn mower engine and disconnect the spark plug cord. This is to prevent the engine from starting or other accidents when working.
  2. Next, remove the air filter housing and proceed to remove the air filter and tap it on a hard surface to remove loose dirt and debris. Be careful not to damage or tear the fibers.
  3. Wash the foam or dual element filter with hot water and a grease cutting soap. Rinse it and use a paper towel to drain as much water as possible.
  4. Clean any dirt or debris from the rubber gasket that seals the air filter to the carburetor and inspect if there are any tears or damages for a replacement.
  5. Dab the filter with a clean motor oil, but not too much to drip off it. If you accidentally sprinkle too much oil, then wrap a paper towel around the filter and squeeze out excess oil.
  6. Fix the air filter back to its place on the carburetor and put the housing back on.

Final Thought

Apart from cleaning or replacing air filter, cleaning a lawn mower’s carburetor is also an important aspect of engine maintenance. If you operated your lawn mower for longer without cleaning air filters, then chances are that the carburetor is also getting clogged and there is need to clean it.

Other things you also need to do include cleaning your lawn mower before storage, replacing spark plugs every season and changing engine oil as recommended in the user manual. By doing this, your lawn mower engine will powerfully last longer without any problems.

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