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How to Change Air Filter in Your Generator: 6 Step Guide & Videos

Do you want your generator to be a reliable companion that starts on the first pull? Then you need to maintain it on a regular basis. Besides replacing the old oil and spark plugs, the basic maintenance also includes inspection of an air filter.

I have great news for you! Our team here at Generatorist has helped over 600,000 visitors find information about generators and we will help you as well. You will learn how to change air filter in your generator with our 6 step guide & videos. Let’s begin. 

Air filter is a crucial part of any generator.

It protects the engine from dirt and larger particles that could otherwise get into combustion chambers and cause premature wearing of materials. That is why you should always try your best to keep your air filter clean and properly maintained.

Depending on the brand and model of your machine, you need to either clean or completely replace it. Luckily, this is a very simple process that anyone can do on their own as long as they follow certain safety rules.

All you need are just a few items and a little bit of your time and patience.



To change air filter in generator

Always think about your safety first. Before you even start inspecting your old air filter, put on some protective gloves and glasses. Also, make sure you have all the necessary equipment at hand (see the list above).

Once you got everything at hand, you need to make sure that you have the power switch on your generator in the off position and that all your power cords are unplugged from it. Only then you can proceed to the following steps.

Unplug the spark wire


The first thing you need to do is to unplug the spark wire to prevent accidental starting of your engine without any air filter. To do so, you need to locate your spark plug first.

In most cases, this wire will be easily accessible. However, some brands and models hide the spark plug under a plastic cover. If you have problems locating your spark plug, just check out the owner¬īs manual.

It may indicate where precisely to look for a spark plug and how to get the best access to it. Also, some brands and more powerful models may include more than one spark plug.

That is¬†why you should always¬†check out the owner¬īs manual to your generator.¬†Once you have located where your spark plug is installed, you need to remove the wire that is connected to it.¬†To safely do so, you need to¬†grab onto the boot firmly, twist it in either direction and pull off at the same time.

If you have never seen the boot of a spark plug wire before, here are the two most common designs you need to look for:

This way you¬†will easily break free the¬†wire even if it’s slightly corroded. Rotating motion helps to unclip the connection from the spark plug and will reduce the strain on the¬†wire.

Just never¬†pull the¬†wire portion as you can damage it that way easily. Also, secure your¬†wire in a place on the generator that¬†allows no possibility of it coming into the contact with spark plug as you’re changing the oil.

Prepare for air filter removal


Once the spark wire is unplugged and secured in a safe place, you need to locate the air filter housing.¬†Its location depends on the brand and on the model of your generator so the easiest and quickest way to locate this housing is to again read through the owner¬īs manual.

There you will find all the necessary information you need to safely clean or change the air filter.

Once you locate the housing, you need to inspect it. If this housing or parts all around it are dirty, you need to take your time to wipe away any dirt, residue, and grime. Once everything is clean enough, you need to open the air filter cover.

You may encounter Phillips or Flathead screw in the front.

Remove the old filter


The next step is to remove the old air filter. The type¬†of a¬†filter and the amount depends on the brand and model of your generator.¬†Just have a look into owner’s manual to learn more about the type and number of air filters.

Based on our experience, there usually is a pre-filter and an actual air filter. Just remove these and take your time to clean the air filter housing from the inside as well.

Clean & inspect old filters


Once you have removed your old filter/filters, you need to inspect them. Do they have a hole in them or are too compressed? If this is the case, you need to get a completely new filter before using your generator again.

See users manual for the precise type you need to get.

In most cases, your air filter will only be dirty and requires some cleaning. However, the cleaning procedure depends on the type of filter you have:

  • Paper filters –¬†If you have a paper filter, all you need to do is to dust it off. Of course, if you assume that it is too worn down or dirty to clean then get a new one.
  • Foam filters –¬†If you have a foam filter, you need to place it in a solution of warm water and household detergent. Let it soak and then rinse the excess water. Repeat these steps until the water coming from the filter is clean, then let it dry out. Once dried, you need to pour air filter oil onto it (I like to use the Twin Air brand) and distribute it evenly (get rid of excess oil).

The oil in the foam air filter helps to catch even the tiniest particles of dust and dirt. If at any point during the cleaning process you manage to damage your filter, then you need to get a new one before using your generator again.

Reinstall the filter


Once your filter is ready, you can reinstall it into the air filter housing. Pay attention to install it properly (see owner¬īs manual you got to your generator). Then, reattach the main air filter cover and fix it firmly in place.

Reconnect spark plug wire


The last step you need to do is to re-connect the spark plug wire. Again, grab the boot of this wire and slide it over the top of the plug. Then, press it until it goes all the way in.

Often, you will either feel or even hear a click from the connector getting into the right position. Once your plug is reconnected, you can reattach any covers you had to take down and you are done.

Start your generator and let it run for a couple of minutes to see if everything works well. Thanks to the new/clean air filter, your generator will start more easily and the engine will be well protected against dust particles.


TO REPLACING air filter

Although you should be able to easily inspect and replace old air filter in your generator according to our guide above, you may still have some issues with finding the air filter housing.

That is why we have created this video section to locating and changing the air filter in many different types of generator. Just find the brand and model you have at home and watch the video.


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About Generatorist

Matthew Gerther

Founder, Generator enthusiast

Our aim here at the Generatorist is to become the No. 1 resource for all things related to generators & your power needs. We have helped over 600,000 visitors with our tips, articles and reviews and we will help you as well.

Our work has been featured in many publications around the world –,,,,,,,, or ADT Solar. Generators are our passion, and we strive to provide the most reliable & most comprehensive information out there.

2 thoughts on “How to Change Air Filter in Your Generator: 6 Step Guide & Videos”

  1. It seems all generators are relatively easy changing the air filter.
    Except Generac 10000.
    The filter is sandwiched, between the engine and the gasoline tank.
    There is about a one-inch clearance and impossible to lift the gasoline tank for more clearance.
    It is embraced by a very rigid frame.
    Your suggestion showing how to would be appreciated.

    1. Hey there Manny,

      I am sorry for not responding to your comment sooner.

      I have been looking all over the internet but had no luck finding any video guide. Although User Manual shows the way to replace the air filter, it does not take into account the lack of space due to the presence of a fuel tank.

      Generac 10 000 air filter

      Based on the information that is available to me, there is no comfortable way to replace this filter. That small gap is all you got.

      I was not able to find any info on how to easily move the fuel tank.

      Maybe try to take a look at the “exploded view” of your generator to see, if there is an easy way to move the tank.

      Either way, let us know if you manage to find any trick on how to do so easily.

      I bet there are others who have the same problem.


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