How to Clean a Car Carburetor? – 6 Steps (with Pictures)

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean a car carburetor

Car carburetor cleaning is not as hard as it seems. The task might sound complicated, but you don’t need to be a carburetor connoisseur.

Keeping your carburetor clean is no easy task, especially when this machine is in charge of getting the fuel to air mixture just right to provide the internal combustion happening inside your engine, which allows it to run. But by following the steps we have picked for you, cleaning your carburetor is easy as 1, 2, 3!

In this post, we’ll be walking you through the step-by-step process on how to clean a car carburetor and the tools you need to achieve this.

What Is the Equipment You Need to Keep a Clean Carburetor


Before you get started, you have to make sure you know what to use to clean a carburetor; thankfully, these are tools and supplies that you can easily acquire from a store, or maybe you even have them stored already in your home!

To get the job done, you will need the following tools:

  • Phillips screwdriver: Widely known as the “cross-head” screwdriver, it provides greater traction in tightening screws.
  • Flat screwdriver: Mainly used on slotted screws with a single indentation located on their heads.
  • Needle nose pliers: A type of pliers most commonly used for their fine tips that allows precision as well as serving as a cutting tool.
  • Wire brush: To be used in cleaning rust, dirt and polishing metal surfaces.
  • Wrench set or socket set: To offer a variety of wrenches and/or sockets to use on various sized bolts and/or nuts.
  • Carb and choke cleaner: A specially made cleaner for your carburetor that effectively removes clogs, breaks down gum and varnish as well as wash away dirt.

Another set of equipment that you need to don is a mask, safety goggles, and gloves. The safety items are required since there would be chemicals involved in cleaning your clogged and dirty carburetor using carb cleaners.

It is also important to work in a well-lit and well-ventilated area since the fumes from the carb cleaner can make you feel a bit dizzy.

Remember to store anything that may start a fire far away from the gasoline and chemicals to make sure you can clean in one piece!

Cleaning Your Carburetor: a Step-by-step Guide


Step 1. Remove the carburetor


It’s better to remove the carburetor when working on it to make sure that you get to clean every bit and inch; you do so by first shutting the fuel valve off from the fuel tank, then detaching the fuel line from the carburetor.

Next, you have to loosen the screws and clamps holding the carburetor into place, then slowly wiggle it or lift it away from the manifold.

Another Option: Cleaning a Carburetor Without Removing It in 8 Steps

Step 2. Drain the fuel inside


To make sure that your workspace is kept clean for your convenience, it’s better to tilt the carburetor to drain any fuel left inside into a catch pan.

Step 3. Disassemble the carburetor


You first remove the “float” which is the bottom part of the carburetor by unscrewing the four screws holding it in its place. Then, take the needle nose pliers and take off the float pin to fully remove the float from the carburetor.

Next, you want to remove the jets, which are the screws with a hole in the center; they are responsible for mixing air and fuel. The main jet is short and thick; you would need to use a Phillips screwdriver for this one; the pilot jet is thinner and longer. Usually, you would use a flathead screwdriver for this one.

Now you remove the parts you can see from the outside, starting with the air screw and idle screw located on the sides of the carburetor; they can both be removed using a flathead screwdriver. You would also want to remove the O-rings and gaskets located inside to lean and inspect them.

Most importantly, remember to place all of these components sorted out and in places where you can easily see them since you would need to put everything back together after cleaning.

Pro tip: You should take pictures or even a video as you disassemble to place the components back with ease.

Step 4. Give them a soak

After donning your safety goggles and gloves, take the carburetor parts and soak them in carb and parts cleaners, keeping them there for 20 mins to half an hour for bigger parts.

You have to make sure that each part is fully submerged, so for bigger components, you can opt to use a bigger or deeper container; just make sure that you open more doors and windows for ventilation since the fumes are harmful when inhaled.

Step 5. Scrub the grime away

Using the wire brush, you can opt to start scrubbing the smaller carburetor parts while they are soaking so that the dirt and grime could be removed, drying the parts off when you are satisfied with their cleanliness.

For bigger parts, it’s best to leave them in to soak first, then take them out to scrub meticulously afterward; by taking them out, you ensure that they would not be overexposed to the carb cleaner, which can make them brittle in the long run.

Step 6. Reassemble the carburetor


After air-drying everything off (you may also use compressed air to dry things off faster), you can now start reassembling your carburetor, using your previous photos or videos to guide you.

It’s best to start reassembling the carburetor; you follow the same way you found them to make sure that everything will run smoothly. Double-check which screws go in which place and that you have all the parts returned completely.

It is also best to check if you have screwed things back on and that the o-rings and gaskets are sitting snugly inside before returning the carburetor to the manifold itself.

The Takeaway

Isn’t it a relief that car carburetor cleaning isn’t all that hard? By following the step-by-step process, you will be able to successfully have a clean carb, saving you money and time in going to the mechanic? This task is pretty easy, and in the end, you will have learned how to clean a car carburetor efficiently.

We would love to hear how we have helped you in your conquest of cleaning a carburetor, so please feel free to leave a comment below to share your experience with us, and if possible, please do share this article to reach others who are having the same dilemma as you had.

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