How to Remove a Lawn Mower Oil Filter: A Step-by-Step Guide?

The whirring roar of your lawnmower brings peace and order to your yard. But just like any other machine, it requires regular maintenance to keep running smoothly. One crucial aspect of this maintenance is changing the oil filter. This seemingly simple task can be daunting for the uninitiated, but fear not! This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, from identifying the filter to safely removing it. We’ll cover everything you need to know, including the tools you’ll need, safety precautions, and common mistakes to avoid. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be confidently changing your lawnmower oil filter like a pro.

A Quick Overview

Changing a lawnmower oil filter is a relatively straightforward process that involves identifying the filter, loosening it with a wrench, and carefully removing it. It’s important to handle the filter with care, as any damage could lead to oil leaks and engine problems.

Locate the Oil Filter

The first step in changing the oil filter is to locate it. Most lawnmower oil filters are situated in a readily accessible spot on the engine, often near the oil drain plug.

Tips for Finding the Oil Filter

  • Refer to your Owner’s Manual: The most reliable way to locate the oil filter is to consult your lawnmower’s owner’s manual. It will provide a clear diagram and detailed instructions.
  • Look for a Cylindrical Shape: The oil filter is usually a cylindrical object, often with a metal casing.
  • Check Around the Oil Drain Plug: The oil filter is frequently found close to the oil drain plug, as both are associated with the engine’s lubrication system.
  • Look for a Wrenching Surface: The oil filter has a designated area designed for a wrench to tighten and loosen it.

Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you start removing the oil filter, ensure you have the following tools on hand:

  • Oil Filter Wrench: This specialized wrench is designed to grip the oil filter and remove it securely. It’s essential for preventing damage to the filter during removal. You can purchase an oil filter wrench at most auto parts stores or online.
  • Gloves: Wear gloves to protect your hands from oil and dirt.
  • Rag or Paper Towels: Keep a few rags or paper towels handy for cleaning up any spills or drips.
  • Oil Drain Pan: You’ll need a drain pan to collect the used oil when you drain it from the engine.

Safety First: Taking Precautions

Working with engine oil requires caution. Here are some safety precautions to follow:

  • Work in a Well-Ventilated Area: Engine oil can release harmful fumes. Make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling them.
  • Wear Eye Protection: Protect your eyes from oil splashes and debris with safety goggles or glasses.
  • Avoid Contact with Skin: Engine oil can irritate the skin. Wear gloves and avoid prolonged contact.
  • Dispose of Used Oil Properly: Used engine oil is harmful to the environment. Dispose of it responsibly by taking it to a designated oil recycling facility.

Removing the Old Oil Filter

Now that you have your tools and safety precautions in place, you can begin the removal process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Warm Up the Engine: A slightly warm engine will help loosen the oil and make removal easier. Run the engine for a few minutes.
  2. Locate the Oil Filter: Identify the oil filter using the tips mentioned earlier.
  3. Position the Oil Filter Wrench: Place the oil filter wrench around the filter, ensuring a firm grip.
  4. Loosen the Filter: Turn the wrench counter-clockwise to loosen the filter. Be prepared for oil to drip as you loosen it.
  5. Remove the Filter: Once the filter is loose, you can remove it completely. Some oil will likely drip from the filter, so have a rag or paper towels ready to catch it.

Inspecting the Oil Filter

Once the old oil filter is removed, take a moment to inspect it. This can provide valuable insight into the health of your engine and help you identify any potential problems. Here are some things to look for:

  • Corrosion: Check for signs of corrosion on the filter’s surface. This could indicate a problem with the engine’s cooling system or a leak in the oil filter housing.
  • Debris: Inspect the filter for any debris or dirt. This suggests that the filter is doing its job of protecting your engine.
  • Oil Gunk: A significant amount of oil gunk or sludge on the filter can signal that the engine needs a more thorough cleaning.
  • Tears or Punctures: If you find any tears or punctures in the filter, it’s crucial to replace it immediately as it might not be functioning correctly.

Installing the New Oil Filter

Now it’s time to install the new oil filter. This process is essentially the reverse of the removal process. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prepare the New Filter: Before installing the new oil filter, lightly coat the rubber gasket on the filter with clean engine oil. This will create a seal and prevent leaks.
  2. Position the New Filter: Align the new oil filter with the threads on the filter housing.
  3. Tighten the Filter: Use the oil filter wrench to tighten the filter. Be careful not to overtighten it as this can damage the filter or the filter housing. It’s usually recommended to tighten it until you feel resistance, then give it an additional 1/2 to 3/4 turn.
  4. Check for Leaks: After tightening the filter, start the engine and check for any leaks. If there are any leaks, you’ll need to tighten the filter a bit more.

Maintaining Your Lawn Mower

Changing the oil filter is just one part of maintaining your lawnmower. Here are some additional tips for keeping your lawnmower running smoothly:

  • Change the Oil Regularly: Check your owner’s manual for recommended oil change intervals. Typically, you’ll need to change the oil every 25 to 50 hours of use or once a year.
  • Clean the Air Filter: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, leading to reduced performance and potential damage. Clean or replace the air filter regularly, following your owner’s manual instructions.
  • Inspect the Spark Plug: The spark plug plays a vital role in igniting the fuel. Inspect it for wear and tear and replace it if necessary.
  • Keep the Blades Sharp: Dull blades will struggle to cut grass effectively and can damage your lawn. Regularly sharpen or replace your blades.
  • Store Properly: When not in use, store your lawnmower in a dry, clean place to prevent corrosion and damage.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Changing an oil filter is generally straightforward, but there are some common mistakes to avoid that could lead to problems:

  • Overtightening the Filter: Overtightening the filter can damage it or the filter housing.
  • Leaving the Old Filter On: This might seem like a quick fix, but it will hinder the engine’s performance and increase the risk of oil leaks.
  • Not Using the Right Wrench: Using the wrong wrench can damage the filter and make removal difficult.
  • Ignoring Leaks: Oil leaks can lead to engine damage. Always address them promptly.
  • Using the Wrong Oil: Different lawnmower engines require specific types of oil. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil type.


Changing a lawnmower oil filter is a vital part of maintaining your lawnmower and ensuring it runs efficiently. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can confidently handle this task and extend the life of your lawnmower. Remember to use the right tools, prioritize safety, and avoid common mistakes. With a little effort, you can keep your lawnmower in tip-top shape, ready to tackle any lawn maintenance challenge.


What tools do I need to remove a lawn mower oil filter?

You will need a few basic tools to remove a lawn mower oil filter. These include a wrench that fits the oil filter, a drain pan to catch the used oil, paper towels or rags, and gloves to protect your hands from the oil. It’s also a good idea to have a new oil filter on hand, ready to install after removing the old one.

Having the right tools will make the process easier and ensure a smooth, efficient oil change. Always prioritize safety and use proper tools for the task.

Can I remove the oil filter without draining the oil first?

While it’s possible to remove the oil filter before draining the oil, it’s not recommended. Removing the filter before draining the oil can create a mess as oil will spill out from the filter and the engine. It’s best practice to drain the oil first to minimize the amount of oil spilled during the process.

Draining the oil first also allows you to inspect the oil and determine if there are any signs of contamination or wear, which can provide insight into the health of your engine.

What if the oil filter is stuck?

If the oil filter is stuck, you can try several methods to loosen it. First, try using a filter wrench, which is specifically designed to grip and remove oil filters. If the filter is still stuck, you can try using a strap wrench or a pair of pliers to grip the filter.

Remember to be careful not to damage the filter or the engine when using these tools. If the filter is extremely stuck, you may need to use a filter cutter, which cuts through the filter to remove it.

How often should I replace the oil filter?

The frequency of replacing your lawnmower’s oil filter depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations and the type of oil used. Generally, it’s recommended to replace the filter with every oil change. This ensures that the filter is clean and free of debris, which can affect the performance and lifespan of your engine.

Following the manufacturer’s guidelines is crucial for optimal engine performance and longevity.

What happens if I don’t change the oil filter?

Not changing the oil filter can lead to several problems. The filter will become clogged with dirt and debris, restricting oil flow and causing the engine to overheat. This can lead to reduced engine performance, increased fuel consumption, and even engine damage.

Regularly changing the oil filter is a crucial aspect of maintaining your lawnmower’s health and ensuring its optimal performance.

What should I do with the old oil filter?

After removing the old oil filter, it’s important to dispose of it properly. Oil filters contain used oil, which is harmful to the environment and should be recycled. Many auto parts stores and recycling centers have designated bins for used oil and filters.

Always check with your local municipality or recycling center for specific disposal instructions in your area.

Can I reuse an old oil filter?

It is strongly advised against reusing an old oil filter. Once an oil filter has been used, it’s filled with dirt, debris, and used oil. Reusing the filter will not effectively filter the oil, potentially damaging your engine.

Always invest in a new oil filter for each oil change to ensure optimal engine performance and longevity.

Leave a Comment