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Lawn Mower Air Filter Soaked In Oil? Why This Happens + How To Fix

Have you noticed your lawn mower’s air filter soaked in oil and wondered what the heck is going on?

An oil-soaked air filter can be a real bummer, causing poor mower performance and even damaging your trusty machine in the long run.

But don’t stress — we’re here to help you understand why this happens and, more importantly, how to fix it.

So, let’s dive in and get your mower back in tip-top shape.

Common Causes of an Oil-Soaked Air Filter

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of why your lawn mower’s air filter might be soaked in oil.

We’ll break down the most common causes so you can identify the issue and get that mower back in tip-top shape.

lawnmower 1

Overfilling the Oil Reservoir

Too much of a good thing ain’t always good, and that goes for oil too!

Overfilling your mower’s oil reservoir can lead to that excess oil making its way into the air filter.

When there’s too much oil, it can’t flow smoothly, and it’ll find its way into unwanted places.

The good news is, this issue is easy to fix – just drain out the extra oil and top it off at the correct level.

A quick check of your mower’s manual will give you the lowdown on the right oil amount.

Incorrect Oil Viscosity

Oil’s a slippery subject, and using the wrong type can cause problems.

If you’re using oil with the wrong viscosity, it might not flow properly, causing it to seep into your air filter.

To avoid this, make sure you’re using the recommended oil for your mower’s engine.

You can find this info in the user manual or by checking with the manufacturer. 

Mower Being Tilted or Stored Improperly

If you’re storing or transporting your mower with the air filter side down, you’re asking for an oily mess.

Oil can flow into the filter and soak it, causing performance issues.

Always store and transport your mower with the air filter side up or level to avoid this problem. 

Worn or Damaged Components

Let’s face it, everything eventually wears out.

If your mower’s got a few years on it, you might have some worn or damaged components like piston rings, gaskets, or seals.

These bad boys help keep oil where it belongs, but when they’re worn out, oil can sneak into your air filter.

To fix this, you’ll need to replace those worn components.

If you’re not a DIY’er, it’s best to consult a pro to get your mower back in fighting shape.

Clogged Crankcase Breather

Last but not least, a clogged crankcase breather can be the culprit.

This little part helps regulate pressure in the engine, and if it’s clogged, oil can be forced into the air filter.

To remedy this, you’ll need to clean or replace the breather. A quick inspection will let you know if it’s time for a replacement. 

Symptoms of an Oil-Soaked Air Filter

Now that we know the common causes of an oil-soaked air filter, let’s chat about the telltale signs that you’ve got one.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms, and you’ll be able to address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.

man working on lawn mower

Reduced Engine Performance

If your mower’s engine isn’t running as smoothly as it used to, you might be dealing with an oil-soaked air filter.

When the filter’s clogged with oil, it can’t do its job of keeping dirt and debris out of the engine.

This can lead to poor combustion and a serious dip in performance.

If your mower’s suddenly acting like it’s got no pep in its step, it’s time to check that air filter.

Difficulty Starting the Mower

Having trouble getting your trusty mower started? An oil-soaked air filter might be the culprit.

When the air filter’s clogged with oil, it can’t supply enough fresh air to the engine for a smooth start.

The result? You’ll be yanking that starter cord like there’s no tomorrow. 

Increased Fuel Consumption

Feeling like you’re burning through fuel faster than a hot rod on the drag strip?

An oil-soaked air filter can cause your mower to use more fuel than it should.

When the engine can’t breathe properly, it has to work harder, guzzling down more fuel in the process.

If you’ve noticed a spike in your mower’s fuel consumption, it’s time to give that air filter a once-over.

Visible Oil Leakage

If you’ve got visible oil leakage around the air filter or the air filter housing, it’s a pretty good sign that your air filter’s soaked in oil.

Don’t let that slick situation slide – address it before it gets worse!

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing an Oil-Soaked Air Filter

Now that we’re pros at spotting the signs of an oil-soaked air filter, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to fixing it!

Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll have your mower running like a dream in no time.

man working on lawn mower

Inspecting and Cleaning or Replacing the Air Filter

First things first, let’s check that air filter. Remove the air filter cover and take a good look.

If it’s soaked in oil, give it a gentle cleaning with some soapy water and let it air dry.

If it’s too far gone or damaged, you’ll need to replace it with a fresh one. 

Checking the Oil Level and Viscosity, and Changing the Oil if Necessary

Next, let’s make sure your mower’s got the right amount of oil with the right viscosity.

Whip out that dipstick and check the oil level.

If it’s overfilled, drain out the excess oil and top it off at the proper level. If the oil seems too thick or too thin, it’s time for an oil change.

Consult your mower’s manual for the proper oil type and amount. 

Inspecting and Cleaning the Crankcase Breather

Don’t forget about the crankcase breather!

This little part plays a big role in keeping your engine running smoothly.

Remove the breather and give it a good inspection.

If it’s clogged, clean it with some carburetor cleaner and a soft brush.

If it’s damaged or too dirty, you’ll want to replace it. 

Examining and Replacing Any Worn or Damaged Components

Time for a little detective work! Take a close look at your mower’s engine components, like the piston rings, gaskets, and seals.

If you see any wear or damage, it’s time to swap them out for new ones.

If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, don’t be afraid to call in a pro. 

Proper Mower Storage and Handling Practices

Last but not least, let’s talk about how you’re treating your mower when it’s off the clock.

Always store and transport your mower with the air filter side up or level to prevent oil from soaking the filter.

And when it’s time to put your mower away for the season, be sure to follow proper storage procedures.

A little TLC goes a long way in keeping your mower running like a champ.

Preventive Measures: Keepin’ That Air Filter Oil-Free

Now that we’ve tackled how to fix an oil-soaked air filter, let’s talk about how to keep it from happening again.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to preventing future air filter oil mishaps.

worker in a special suit cleans the electric lawn mower from the grass

Regular Maintenance

Give your mower some TLC by regularly checking and cleaning the air filter, changing the oil, and inspecting engine components.

Sticking to a maintenance schedule will not only keep your air filter oil-free, but it’ll also help your mower run like a champ for years to come.

Using the Correct Oil Type and Quantity

Always use the recommended oil type and quantity for your mower’s engine.

You can find this info in your mower’s manual or by contacting the manufacturer. 

Proper Mower Storage

How you store your mower makes a big difference in keeping that air filter oil-free.

Always store your mower with the air filter side up or level to prevent oil from seeping into the filter.

And when it’s time to put your mower away for the season, follow proper storage procedures. 

When to Consult a Professional

Alright, folks, we’ve covered a lot of ground when it comes to fixing and preventing oil-soaked air filters.

But sometimes, DIY just ain’t gonna cut it.

So, let’s chat about when it’s time to call in the pros for some expert help.

Complex Repairs and Replacements

If you’ve got some worn or damaged engine components, like piston rings, gaskets, or seals, swapping them out yourself can be a bit of a challenge.

If you’re not confident in your mechanical skills, it’s best to call in a professional mechanic or lawn mower service technician.

They’ll have your mower back in fighting shape in no time, and you won’t have to worry about making things worse by attempting a repair you’re not comfortable with.

Persistent Issues

Have you tried everything in this guide, and your air filter is still a greasy mess?

It might be time to call in the cavalry.

A professional can help diagnose and fix more complex or hidden issues that could be causing your air filter to become soaked in oil.

Routine Maintenance and Tune-Ups

Even if you’re on top of your mower’s maintenance, it’s still a good idea to have a professional give it a once-over every now and then.

A pro can spot potential issues before they become big problems and ensure your mower’s running at peak performance.

Think of it as a checkup for your mower – better safe than sorry!

Remember, there’s no shame in calling in a professional when you need help with your lawn mower.

They’ve got the skills and know-how to get your mower running like a dream, so you can focus on what’s really important – mowing that lawn to perfection! 

Final Word

We’ve covered the ins and outs of why lawn mower air filters get soaked in oil, how to spot the signs, and how to fix the problem.

Plus, we’ve thrown in some tips on how to prevent it from happening again, and when it’s time to call in the pros.

Remember, addressing an oil-soaked air filter in a timely manner is key to maintaining your mower’s performance and longevity.

Ignoring the issue can lead to bigger problems down the line, like reduced engine performance, increased fuel consumption, and even engine damage.