How To Clean A Carburetor?

A vehicle’s carburetor is one of the essential components that enable the engine to work effectively. The part is responsible for supplying the engine with air and fuel mixture in a correct air-fuel ratio to assist the combustion process.

A carburetor works well when there are no buildups of dirt, carbon, grease, or grim. However, these deposits can build up over time and affect the proper functioning of the carburetor.

Once dirt builds up over time, the remedy is to carry out a carburetor cleanup exercise to get rid of the dirt and wastes. Follow the procedure below to understand how to clean a carburetor. It is also helpful for those asking how to clean a small engine carburetor.

How To Clean A Carburetor

how to clean a small engine carburetor

Cleaning a vehicle’s carburetor is the best way to keep it running effectively and efficiently. If you are asking how to clean a carburetor on a four-wheeler, the exercise will require a pair of needle-nose pliers, flat screwdriver, Philips screwdriver, wrenches/socket set, and wire brush.

You also would need these supplies: carb and choke cleaner, carb rebuild, or gasket set kit. Once the equipment and other materials are available, you are good to go. The following steps will help you clean your vehicle’s carburetor perfectly.

Before taking off the vehicle’s carburetor, get a Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner to be used in washing and scrubbing the carburetor components. Once that is done, proceed to step 1.

Step 1: Take off the carburetor

First and foremost, you will need to remove the carburetor from its place to perform a perfect cleaning exercise.

Meanwhile, it is a must to replace old cracked hoses to avoid any form of leakage. Then, also remove the overflowing hose that comes from the carburetor. After that, loosen the front and rear clamps screws. Then, wiggle and twist off the carburetor to remove it.

Once the carburetor is removed, it will be held aside by the throttle cable. Then, twist the top cap and unscrew it and get the carb off. After the carb is removed, take off the throttle slide away from the cable that is attached to the car. Then, pull everything off the cable.

Step 2: Take off the float

The next thing is to take off the carburetor float. To do this, take off the bolt that holds the carburetor float (which is a container like a bowl). Be alert so that you don’t spill any leftover gas in the float. Then, dispose of the gas properly (if any).

After that, take off the pin which the float pivots on while ensuring that it is kept somewhere safe. Then, pull out the float from its place.

Step 3: Take off any other removable parts

At this point, if you find any other parts that need to be cleaned, be sure to take them off. Before that, ensure to note the positions to enable easy replacement.

Step 4: Soak and scrub the carburetor float and other parts

Get the carburetor float and other parts that were removed and soak them in a big container with the Simple Green Pro HD solution or any alternative cleaning solution that you have for at least 10 minutes. For those asking what to soak carburetor in to clean, the options above answer it all.

Then, get a brush to enable you to scrub the various metal parts and use a nylon brush in scrubbing any plastic parts. Make sure that you clean the tiny vents properly and any other small parts.

Step 5: Rinse the parts and dry them.

Get a bucket with some solvent and rinse all the components of the carburetor properly. By then, you will need a can with compressed air that will enable you to get rid of any excess moisture in the tiny areas.

Then, place the carburetor components on a clean surface to dry completely before fixing them back.

Step 6: Reassemble the parts and fix them back.

Once the parts are completely dry, get them assembled and mounted back to the vehicle’s engine.

Connect all removed hoses, wires, and clamps back to their appropriate positions (the reason why you needed to note every location of disconnections when the carburetor and other parts were being removed).

The step-by-step process above can also be helpful if you were wondering how to clean a carburetor on a generator, as well as how to clean a carburetor on a motorcycle.


Can you clean a carburetor without taking it apart?

If you were wondering “how to clean a carburetor without removing the part”, it is also possible. But it’s okay only when you feel this method is best for you. However, the cleaning process will not be as effective as the wholesome cleaning pattern.

When you clean a carburetor without taking it apart, the cleaning will not impact the complete length and breadth of the vehicle’s engine. So, it would be best to imbibe the wholesome cleaning process that reaches every part of the carburetor and effectively impacts the engine.

Can you use WD 40 to clean a carburetor?

Of course, WD 40 specialists can be used to clean a vehicle’s carburetor perfectly. It can also be used to clean a vehicle’s throttle body and other unpainted metal parts. The WD 40 is a cleaner spray with a unique dual-action cleaning system.

The dual-action cleaning system consists of powerful solvents that break up hard, baked-on deposits of carbon on the carburetor or metal part to be cleaned. The cleaning spray also helps blast off the carbon deposits and other wastes without a trace of any residue.

When a WD 40  cleaner is used on a carburetor, you can be sure of a perfect wipeout of the carbon buildups and other dirt. This guarantees a quick engine start once the cleaning is completed.

What are the symptoms of a dirty carburetor?

A vehicle’s carburetor is as important as any other vital components you treat with so much preference. It is responsible for supplying an engine with fuel and air mixture.

If the carburetor is used over a long time without regular maintenance, it becomes dirty and stops responding accordingly. It is pretty easy to know when a vehicle’s carburetor is dirty because it will usually be characterized by the following symptoms.

  • Engine runs rich or lean.
  • Exhaust emits black smoke.
  • Reduced engine performance
  • Overflow of fuel into the carburetor.
  • Engine backfires.
  • Overheating
  • The engine cranks without starting

What can I use at home to clean a carburetor?

Cleaning a vehicle’s carburetor isn’t a very stressful exercise. It can be done in a mechanic’s workshop or at home if you are a DIY enthusiast. If you’re trying to clean your vehicle’s carburetor at home and cannot access a carburetor cleaner, you can opt for a substitute.

Get 1 quart of alcohol, 1 quart of Xylol, and 1 quart of acetone, and mix them in a 1-gallon paint thinner can. Once this is done, there you have an alternative carb cleaner. The mixture will help you dissolve the dirt and other wastes that may have built up in the carburetor.

Since you can get household items to clean the carburetor, endeavor to do all you can never to let your vehicle’s carburetor stay dirty for too long.

What is a substitute for carburetor cleaner?

Brake cleaner can be used as an alternative or a substitute to carburetor cleaner. It can dissolve any buildup of carbon, grease, or grim on the carburetor. This works almost exactly like the regular carburetor cleaner.

If you have scheduled to clean up your vehicle’s carburetor only to discover that you didn’t make any provision for carburetor cleaner, simply find a way to get a brake cleaner. It will do the job just the way you want it.

You must take your time as you use the brake cleaner to ensure that the carburetor is cleaned adequately without any dirt, grease, or grim residue.

How much does it cost to get a carb cleaned?

Cleaning a carburetor does not cost a fortune; hence, it should be a regular exercise to enable the component to deliver its best at all times.

The cost of cleaning a carburetor is estimated at around $100 per carburetor. However, the cost depends on how many carburetors are to be cleaned.

Also, note that cleaning a carburetor will not take the whole day; therefore, you better schedule a cleanup exercise for your vehicle’s carburetor once you discover that it is dirty due to several malfunctioning symptoms.

how to clean a carburetor on a four wheeler

Final Words

Knowing how to clean a carburetor is one of the nicest skills you could learn as a car owner, especially for a DIYer.

The guide above will help you ensure that your vehicle’s carburetor is free from dirt and other wastes that can hinder its proper functioning. The information above is also helpful for those asking how to clean a carburetor on a pressure washer.

However, if you are not sure about cleaning the carburetor perfectly despite the guidelines provided above, do not hesitate to contact an expert auto mechanic to get the job done. It will only cost a few bucks.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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