Do Lawn Mowers Have Oil Filters?

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Do lawn mowers have oil filters? The answer is, it depends. Some lawn mower models have oil filters why some don’t.

In this article, you will learn about the lawn mower models that come with built-in lawn oil filters and those that don’t. In addition, there’s a step-by-step guide on how to change your lawn mower’s oil filter if it comes with one.

Which Lawn Mowers Have Oil Filters and Which Don’t?


Most modern walk-behind mowers don’t have oil filters, especially older or smaller models with single cylinders. If you have any of these types of lawn mowers, you can keep it clean by replacing the oil when necessary.

Nevertheless, there are many other models with this essential component. Kohler and Briggs & Stratton are some examples of manufacturers that specialize in producing lawn mower models that use oil filters.

The most reliable way to determine if your lawn mower has an oil filter is to reference the mower’s users’ manual. If it is missing on the list of the mower’s components, the mower doesn’t require one.  

Why Should You Change Your Lawn Mower’s Oil Filter?


Oil filters catch and remove contaminants such as debris from the mower’s engine. This keeps the engine sparkling clean and in top operational condition. Conversely, if you leave the engine oil unfiltered, over time, hard particles will saturate the engine and hamper its efficiency.

Prolonged use of a bad oil filter allows for more contaminants in the oil. As these contaminants congeal, they prevent oil flow through the engine. The engine is subject to wear and tear when it is forced to function without engine oil.

The contaminants prevent oil flow through the engine. As a result, you can’t achieve much with a filter in bad shape. It expectedly won’t function at optimum capacity. The unfiltered or badly filtered oil will put the mower’s engine in grave danger.

Machinery Lubrication, a company that specializes in engine lubrication, throws more light on using a deficient oil filter in your lawn mower. Here’s what they have to say: “If you install a less effective filter, or leave a filter on too long, it can be just as bad as operating an engine with oil past its prime.”

How do you determine the most appropriate time to change your mower’s oil filter? Stanley and Sons, an outdoor power equipment sales and service company offers this helpful tip: “Engine oil and oil filters should be replaced at least once every spring or summer, or every 50 hours of use – whichever comes first.”

The advice above isn’t written in stone. You may change the oil filter before meeting either of the conditions listed above. You must replace the oil filter whenever it goes bad. How do you know the right time to consider a replacement for your mower’s oil filter?

Signs of a Bad Lawn Mower Oil Filter


If you notice any of the following signs while working on your lawn, change the oil filter without delay:


Sputtering is a big issue you will notice in a lawn mower engine with a bad filter. A well oiled lawn mower engine works smoothly. You can’t say the same about a sputtering lawn mower. 

When the filter is bad and thus clogged, the engine’s efficiency feels the negative impact of the poor oil flow. The engine will sputter while trying to manage the little oil it gets.

It is needless to say that a sputtering lawn will be jerky and won’t run smoothly. In that condition, you won’t get the best out of the mower.

Strange engine sound

 A dirty oil filter may trigger some clanking in the mower’s engine. Dirt clogging in the engine cuts oil flow to the crankcase, starving it of the engine oil that lubricates the engine. 

Without proper lubrication, the metallic parts grind against each other, producing a cranking sound. If you ignore the sound and continue using the lawn mower unattended to, the poor lubrication may damage its engine. 

Black smoke from the exhaust

If your lawn mower has recently started emitting black smoke from the exhaust, check the oil filter for clogging. 

Clogging interferes with the smooth burning of engine oil. The result is the black smoke coming out from the mower through the exhaust.

Reduced performance

All things being equal, you shouldn’t have any difficulty starting or operating your lawn mower.  If the mower isn’t starved of oil, it won’t show any of the signs discussed above. You will have a functional lawn mower doing a great job.

However, if the oil filter is bad, clogging will interfere with the engine’s smooth running. The engine’s overall performance will drop.

Machine Lubrication summarizes the danger of using a malfunctioning filter in your mower thus: 

An under performing filter can negate the protection a premium oil provides, and so accelerate engine wear, affect reliability, and diminish service life. The takeaway here is that an oil’s ability to protect the moving parts in an engine from wear is only as good as the filter and its ability to remove contaminants from that oil.

If you experience any of the problems highlighted above while operating your lawn, it’s high time you changed its oil filter or risk damaging the engine.

How to Change Lawn Mower Oil Filter

If you are not confident about your ability to change the lawn mower oil, contact an expert to help you out. If you’d like to go the DIY route, here’s a step-by-step guide to follow:

  • Put an oil drain pan under the oil filter to collect dripping oil from the filter.
  • Unscrew the old filter by turning it counterclockwise with a strap wrench.
  • Remove the unlocked oil filter and remove spilled oil from the mower frame with a rag.
  • Lubricate the seal on the new oil filter with new oil.
  • Position the lubricated new filter well on the engine.
  • To lock the new filter properly, turn it clockwise.  

If your lawn mower has an oil filter, maintain it properly and keep it in shape. That’s one of the easiest ways to extend its lifespan. 

A functional oil filter does a good job of keeping the lawn mower in good condition and ensures its smooth operation.

Look out for signs of a faulty oil filter when operating your self-propelled or push lawn mower. If you notice any, you want to replace the oil filter as soon as possible to prevent any damage to your lawn mower engine.