January 1, 2015

How to replace a riding lawn mower fuel filter

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower fuel filter

This step-by-step riding mower repair guide shows how to replace the fuel filter in a riding lawn mower. The fuel filter keeps dirt from getting into the carburetor. A clogged or dirty fuel filter doesn’t let enough fuel reach the carburetor, so the engine run roughs or stops running completely. Remove the old fuel filter and install a new one when you tune up your lawn tractor each year, using a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

This procedure works for common Briggs & Stratton engines that power Craftsman, MTD, Husqvarna, Murray, Toro, Troybilt, Snapper, Yard-Man, Ariens, Poulan and John Deere riding mowers and lawn tractors.

Quick links
Tools required
2 hose pinch-off pliers
Pliers
Shop rag
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Replacing a fuel filter on a riding lawn mower

This video explains how to replace the fuel filter on a riding lawn mower.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the spark plug

    Park the tractor on a level surface in a well-ventilated area.

    Set the parking brake.

    Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key.

    Let the engine cool.

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

    Lift the tractor hood and disconnect the spark plug wire.

    Tip: Disconnect both spark plug wires if your tractor has 2 cylinders.
    Disconnect the spark plug.

    Disconnect the spark plug.

  2. 02.

    Remove the old fuel filter

    Remove the lower dash fastener and pull off the lower dash.

    Clamp hose pinch-off pliers onto the fuel line on each side of the fuel filter to block the flow of fuel.

    Position the shop rag under the fuel filter to catch drips.

    Release the hose clamps and remove the hose from each side of the fuel filter.

    Wipe up any spilled fuel.

    Clamp off the fuel line.

    Clamp off the fuel line.

  3. 03.

    Install the new fuel filter

    Connect the hose on each side of the new fuel filter using the hose clamps.

    Release the hose pinch-off pliers from each side of the fuel filter.

    Reinstall the lower dash and secure it with the fastener.

    Install the new fuel filter.

    Install the new fuel filter.

  4. 04.

    Reconnect the spark plug

    Reconnect the spark plug wire and lower the tractor hood.

    Tip: Reconnect both spark plug wires if your engine has 2 cylinders.
Warning: Undertaking repairs to lower lawn-care equipment can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

Choose a symptom to see related riding mower and lawn tractor repairs.

Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Main causes: damaged tie rods, bent or worn wheel spindle, worn front axle, damaged sector gear assembly
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment

Repair guides common to all riding mowers & tractors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your riding mower or lawn tractor.

How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

If you hear the solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor spin when you turn the key, follow these steps to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower spark plug

If the engine is hard to start or if the spark plug electrode is burnt or cracked, take 15 minutes to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower carburetor

If the engine of your lawn tractor surges or is hard to start, the carburetor could be the problem. Follow these steps to install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all riding mowers & tractors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your riding mower or lawn tractor.

May 1, 2017

Riding lawn mower engine spins but won't start video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Troubleshoot fuel, spark and compression issues.

June 1, 2016

How to mow a lawn for healthier grass

By Erin Hynes

How often and tall you mow your lawn has a big impact on its health. Check out these 3 rules.

March 1, 2016

How to change the Smart Switch Ignition password on a lawn tractor video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

See how to unlock the factory default start code so you can set your own passcode.