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How to Easily Clean a Carburetor?

Cars, trucks, buses, and practically every internal combustion engine uses a carburetor. However, a dirty carburetor can cause multiple issues for an engine, including causing it not to start.

If you want to keep your carburetor running efficiently and avoid any problems with your vehicle, keep the carburetor clean.

Keeping it clean is much easier than you might think. Today, we’re looking at how to clean your carburetor easily. Let’s get started!

What Is a Carburetor?

Internal combustion engines depend on several factors to operate efficiently, including fuel and air. A carburetor is a component that controls the mixing of fuel and air to ensure the engine can run efficiently. Both gas and air enter the carburetor and leave a mixture into the intake manifold.

A properly functioning carburetor will create the proper balance of both air and fuel. An engine getting too much air or not enough fuel will make sneezing or popping noises. On the other hand, when there’s too much fuel and not enough air, getting into the engine will cause black smoke to appear out of the exhaust.

The engine cannot start with a dirty carburetor (or if dirt and debris prevent the needle valve from closing) and must be kept clean to avoid damaging your engine.

Man cleaning dirty carburetor
A dirty carburetor can impact your engine.

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Carburetor Without Taking It Apart? 

First, turn off the engine if you want to clean a carburetor but aren’t comfortable taking it apart. While the engine cools down, gather gloves and eyeglasses to stay safe. Remove the air filter and check for any blockages or debris on the filter itself. This filter prevents dirt and debris from getting into your carburetor and allows it to run smoother.

You can then vacuum away loose dirt, dust, debris, and any grime on the surface. Use a cordless vacuum and then an air compressor to remove any remaining debris. Set old rags or cloths under the carburetor to help catch any cleaning fluids that drip. You can then start applying the carburetor cleaner evenly over it. Let it sit for a few minutes to eat away at the grime before wiping it clean.

Use a microfiber towel and a bristle or wire brush to give it a good scrubbing. Grab a few cleaning cloths to wipe down the carburetor before putting the air filter and the casing back in place.

Pro Tip: Cleaning your carburetor isn’t the only easy car repair you can do. This is How to Easily Reset Your Check Engine Light.

What Is the Best Things to Clean a Carburetor With?

If you want to clean your carburetor, you’ll want a high-quality carburetor or throttle cleaner. WD-40 Specialist Fast-Acting Carb Cleaner is one of the best options. This special formula can clean up stubborn carbon deposits and is safe for cars, generators, and any other type of engine. This product should start working the second it hits your carburetor and will help you wipe away the dirt and grime in no time.

Once you spray the cleaner onto your carburetor, you’ll want to use several cloths and brushes to scrub and wipe the debris off the carburetor.

Wire brushes can help get the stubborn gunk off the carburetor and get it looking like it did new. Finish it up by wiping down the entire carburetor with a clean cloth.

Clean carburetor sitting on table
Cleaning your carburetor is an easy DIY, but always make sure you use the right products to not cause extra issues.

How Do You Clean a Gummed Small Engine Carburetor?

If gasoline is left to sit in a small engine carburetor for too long, it can gum up and cause the engine to run rough. To clean a gummed-up small engine, first, remove the spark plug cap. This helps protect you from the engine turning over while working on it. You can then check and ensure the fuel valve is in the off position.

The next step is to drain the carburetor bowl by removing the fuel drain screw. Any remaining fuel in the carburetor will drain out, so make sure you have a container to avoid making a mess. Make sure to take notice of the gas coming out of the carburetor and look for any signs of dirt and debris. You can then remove the carburetor bowl, clean it out with carburetor cleaner, and scrape any residue out of the bowl.

At this point, you should have a clear view of the main carburetor jet that pumps fuel into the carburetor. You can remove it with a screwdriver and then spray it with a carburetor cleaner and use a wire brush to clear the hole in the jet.

At this point, you’ve done a basic cleaning of the carburetor. We don’t recommend taking further steps to clean or disassembling your carburetor unless you know what you’re doing. If you can find a video that walks you through disassembling and cleaning your specific carburetor and are comfortable giving it a try, go for it.

However, if you lose pieces or don’t follow the directions precisely, you could cause a much bigger problem for yourself.

Pro Tip: When checking your car to make sure everything is working smoothly, this is How To Easily Spot a Bad Timing Belt (Before It’s Too Late).

Can You Clean a Carburetor With Alcohol?

While alcohol may help with other cleanings, it’s not good for cleaning your carburetor. Compared to carburetor cleaners, alcohol is much weaker.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if you don’t clean up all of the alcohol off the carburetor, it can cause corrosion on any of the aluminum or zinc parts in the system. Save yourself the trouble and use a proper carburetor cleaning.

You want your carburetor to run smoothly to help ensure your engine runs efficiently and lasts a long time. Failing to do so will cause the engine to run roughly and reduce the power and performance. Cleaning your carburetor can be a rather easy task for you to do yourself.

However, if you don’t have the tools or the technical skills to do it correctly, you could cause severe damage to your engine. Ensure you know what you’re doing before disassembling any part of your engine.

Do you clean your carburetor yourself or pay a professional? Tell us in the comments below!

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