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How To Check and Clean Your Generator's Air Filter

All WEN generators come equipped with an air filter, which catches dust, sand, debris, and any other airborne impurities that might make it into the engine. Over time, however, debris can build up and cause engine problems, like hunting, surging, or sudden shutdowns. Regularly cleaning your air filter is an important part of regular generator maintenance, and will help keep your engine in tip-top shape. This guide will walk you through the cleaning process. For a video demonstrating this procedure, please see below (or click here if the video isn't showing up).


Before beginning, make sure the generator’s engine and muffler are fully cool. Make sure the engine switch and fuel valve are turned off. Disconnect the spark plug boot. If your generator has a battery, disconnect it. Make sure to have your owner’s manual on hand, as it has specific step-by-step instructions for your particular model. You’ll need a clean shop towel or cloth, as well as a small amount of engine oil.

First, locate the air filter cover. Depending on the model, you may need to remove a side panel in order to access it. The air filter cover is usually next to, in front of, or just below the carburetor, and is often a black rectangle or square with a knob or snap-fit tabs.

The air filter on a traditional generator is usually just left of the recoil starter.

The air filter on a closed-frame inverter generator is usually just below, or next to, the carburetor. Accessing it usually requires an access panel to be removed.

Next, open the air filter cover and remove it. Remove the foam air filter element, and clean out any excess dirt from the housing. Inspect the air filter for any tears. Damaged filters should be replaced. Replacement air filter elements can be purchased here on Just find your air filter element's part number in your generator's owner's manual, and search the part number in the search bar above.

Good elements can be washed in soapy water, then rinsed. Dry the element in a clean cloth or shop towel, making sure not to twist it. Add a few drops of engine oil to the filter element, and spread it around evenly.

Only a small amount of oil is needed.

Lastly, replace the air filter element and air filter cover, as well as any side panels. If you have any questions after reading this guide or watching the video, please feel free to give us a call at 1-847-429-9263 (M-F, 8 AM to 5 PM CST) or drop us a message at to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable technical support team.

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