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The fuel filter on your lawn mower is a disposable component that clogs up over time and eventually must be replaced. So is it time to change your lawn mower’s fuel filter? The answer depends on the type of filter you have, whether you have changed it this year, and how your lawn mower is currently running.

What kind of fuel filter does your lawnmower have?

Product photo of a clear plastic in-line replacement lawn mower fuel filter.
In-line fuel filter | Bobcat

Some smaller, walk-behind lawn mowers have an in-tank filter that should only be changed by an experienced technician. That said, this filter is a screen engineered to catch the coursest debris: it may take years to clog up.

Some larger lawn tractors and riding lawn mowers have an in-line fuel filter. This filter bisects the fuel line running from the gas tank to the carburetor. A few lawn mower owners have even upgraded to an aftermarket in-line filter by cutting their fuel line and installing a filter.

How often do you regularly change your lawn mower’s fuel filter?

Orange Husqvarna lawn tractor parked on cut grass, by a treeline.
Husqvarna lawn tractor | Zac Gudakov via Unsplash

According to the Tractor Supply Company (TSC) you should change a lawn mower’s in-line fuel filter once a year, minimum. Some lawn mower owners prefer to change this filter as part of their spring maintenance. Others do it before putting their mower away for the fall.

In addition, TSC recommends you change your lawn mower filter more than once a year if you are using your lawn mower often enough. TSC suggests you keep track of how many hours you are running your lawn mower every season. Once you’ve operated your mower for more than 100 hours, you should change its in-line filter if you have one.

Can fuel filters fail?

Orange, Scag riding lawn mower parked above a road and town.
Riding lawn mower | Elias Null via Unsplash

Is your lawn mower running poorly? Are you beginning to suspect that a clogged fuel filter is impeding gas flow?

Impurities in your gasoline may end up in your fuel filter. More likely, dust or debris in your gas tank will fill up your fuel filter. Not much can clog an in-line fuel filter as fast as a rusty gas tank: powdery red rust breaks off the inside of the tank and heads straight for the filter.

If you have a transparent in-line fuel filter you can always do a visual inspection: look for any gunk, dust, or other impurities covering or discoloring the filter’s paper filament. But it is also completely possible that your filter is clogged and looks normal. Because of this, it is never a bad idea to change your filter to be sure. While changing your fuel filter, you may also be able to judge how well gasoline is flowing into the filter which can help you diagnose other problems.

Next, see a full lawn mower maintenance schedule.


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