How to Replace the Air Filter on a Riding Lawn Mower



This DIY riding mower repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the air filter on riding lawn mowers. The air filter traps dirt from air going into the carburetor. If the air filter is clogged with dirt, the carburetor won't get enough air to mix with the fuel for combustion. A dirty air filter could be the problem if the engine stalls after starting or if it runs rough or sputters. Check the air filter regularly and replace it with a manufacturer-approved replacement part if it’s dirty. While you’re replacing the main air filter, it’s a great idea to install a new foam pre-filter too.

Follow the steps in this repair guide and video to replace the air filter on common Briggs & Stratton engines that power Craftsman, Husqvarna, John Deere, Ariens, Toro, MTD, Troybilt, Murray, Snapper and Cub Cadet riding mowers and lawn tractors.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 15 min.

Parts Required

  • Air filter and pre-filter

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Tools Required

  • Work gloves

Before you begin

Park the tractor on a level surface and set the parking brake.

Let the engine cool.

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.


 Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable 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 or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

How to Replace an Air Filter in a Riding Lawn Mower

Step 1: Disconnect the spark plug

Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key.

Lift the tractor hood and disconnect the spark plug wire.

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

Step 2: Remove the old air filter

Rotate the air filter cover’s retaining knobs counterclockwise to release them and then pull off the air filter cover.

Release the air filter from the intake tube and pull out the filter and foam pre-filter.

Step 3: Install the new air filter

Slide the foam pre-filter onto the air filter.

Connect the new air filter to the intake tube and slide the filter into the housing.

Reinstall the air filter cover and rotate the retaining knobs clockwise to lock the cover in place.

 Tip: Replace the foam pre-filter when you replace the air filter.

Step 4: 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.