How To Clean A Motorcycle Carburetor

Last Updated on 2 years by Honest Bikerz

If the engine is the brain, then the carburetor is the heart of a vehicle, and motorcycle carburetors can get dirty sooner than you can think. As it is more open to the environment, dirt and grimes get into the internals quickly. Cleaning a carburetor is a difficult job. And today, we will share some basic ideas on how you can clean a carburetor quickly and effectively. Also, get the knowledge about carburetor cleaners. Keep on reading.

How to clean a motorcycle carburetor

What is a carburetor?

A carburetor is a mechanical device used to supply a specific air and fuel proportion to an internal combustion engine. In every vehicle like buses, trucks, cars, airplanes, etc., air and fuel are mixed in their internal engines, converting them into energy and engines run by the carburetor. The carburetor manages precisely how much fuel and air each internal engine needs.

What is motorcycle carburetor and How To Clean A Motorcycle Carburetor

What is the best way to clean carburetors?

In all small engines, the carburetor is the most frequent source of problems. The carburetor is the engine where the gasoline is combined with the air to be burned. Carburetors are used on nearly all types of internal combustion engines. When an engine rests for an extended amount of time without being used, the fuel begins to degrade. If you don’t refill the fuel in your tank until starting your engine after washing the carburetor, you’ll only be reliving your problems.

This carburetor is from an old motorcycle and would look like any other carburetors from a bike. Although most carburetors will not look exactly like the one has seen, they will execute the same roles or have the same configuration.

Here are some tools you will need to clean the carburetor. these are

  • Gloves
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Old toothbrush
  • Aerosol solvent
  • Compressed air
  • Thin wire

Cleaning way

  • Since you are working with machinery, you have to wear gloves first and work carefully.
  • Before you start work, you first remove the carburetor from the car or equipment and then clean the carburetor outside with an aerosol solvent and old brush.
  • Now unscrew the carburetor and remove the piston. Then flip the carburetor and remove the flowing tank using the Philip screw. If there is plenty of dust inside the flow tank, use the aerosol cleaner and toothbrush to scrub it up.
  • The float is then detached by cutting the float Bowl hinge screw, and the float quickly lifts forward, pulling the float needle with it. Take a good look at the float needle. It’s time to repair it if the tip has a worn band.
  • Now you have to remove the jets. The larger is the main jet in the center, and the smaller jet is the pilot. The pilot jet is sometimes interchangeable and often fixed. Discharge the main jet first and keep it to the light for clean If it is blocked, use the compressed air accompanied solvent. If the solvent and compressed air do not unlock the jet, it needs to be cleaned with wires.
  • To make sure all the holes are clean, You have to use your solvent and compressed air within the method. Then clean the small holes on the needle under the main jet.

How often should motorcycle carburetors be cleaned?

This is not a limited number of how often you should clean. The more frequency meant, the better. Cleaning the carburetor means the dirt and grime got no chance to damage the carburetor.

It is recommended that we should clean the carburetor every six months. It will improve the performance and make sure the fuel costing is low. Besides, cleaning the carburetor often will enhance its lifetime.

How Do You Know Motorcycle Carburetor Need Cleaning?

Many points will help you understand that your carburetor is not cleaned.

Starter Problem

While starting the engine, you will feel the crank but not starting movements. This indicates that the carburetor is dirty and is blocking the airflow and fuel. And is causing the motor to turn but not get the engine started.

Fuel Finishes Quickly

If you are losing too much fuel, earlier, then the carburetor is to blame. The fuel pipe controls the flow of fuel to the carburetor. If the carburetor collects too much grime, then the stopping valve fails to work. That results in too much fuel in the carburetor.

That also hampers the air to fuel ratio. And the overflow of fuel can cause a wet spark plug. Whenever you feel that the spark plug is getting too wet, then the problem is known to you. Clean the carburetor as soon as possible.

Bike release lots of Smoke

While riding, if you see that your bike is releasing a lot of dark Smoke, you have to take a look at the carburetor because an uncleaned carburetor can cause releasing Smoke through the silencer. That happens because too much dirt in the carburetor blocks the stopping valve of the fuel pipe. With results, uneven air to fuel ratio and the engine burns the excess fuel. Then you will see a lot of dark Smoke coming out. It is also known as running rich. If this happens, it’s time to clean the carburetor.

Running Lean

It’s the opposite of running rich. In this case, it may happen that your engine is running low. Because the unclean carburetor clogged the fuel pipe, there is too much air in the engine. The lower amount of fuel will run your engine with low efficiency. If this situation occurs, then it’s necessary to clean the carburetor fast.

How do you clean a motorcycle carburetor without removing it?

Removing the carburetor is way more difficult than cleaning it. So, it is a good option to clean it without getting that out of its chamber. However, the ease of the process depends on the positioning of the carburetor. If there is more gap under it, then you have no problems.

How to clean a motorcycle carburetor without removing it

The position of it, the more in the air, the better. So before moving to the cleaning process, you have to get rid of other parts. Take your bike to a clean place is so if something comes out automatically, you can easily find that.

  • Use mechanics gloves for safety purposes as the fuel and carburetor cleaner both are harmful to human tissues.
  • Keep a heavy plain colored cloth under the carburetor. That will help you in two ways. The heavy cloth will absorb any fuel coming out of the carburetor, and also, it will catch if any part comes out unintentionally. The last thing you want to start a search party.
  • First, you will have to turn off the petrol. Now, the next thing to do is drain out the carburetor. For that, what you have to do is, unscrew the bolt under the carburetor base. That will start leaking fuel. And with a pipe and pot, save that for the future.
  • Now you have to remove the float bowl. Usually, you can recognize that by looking at the 4 crosshead screws. You may find that the bowl is full of dirt. Use a carburetor cleaning spray and take them out.
  • Take out the float. For that, you will find a small pin that is pushable. Just a click on that will help you to take it out easily. Locate the fuel stopper. The valve stops fuel from entering the carburetor when it is balanced by air. That should be coming out, and you have to clean it thoroughly.
  • Peek under the carburetor through the holes in the jets. If your view is blocked, then it means there is dirt in the carburetor that is jamming the jet holes. Spray the carbs cleaner generously and rest for some minutes.
  • Use a compressed air releaser to clean it unless every bit of dirt is cleaned. And repeat using the cleaner to get a quick and good result.
  • Now put everything back together and try to start the bike. If everything alright, then the carburetor is cleaned.

Can you use WD-40 to clean a carburetor?

Yes, you can use the WD-40 to clean a carburetor, but it won’t be enough alone. The WD means Water Displacement, and 40 refers to the 40th formula. It is a light cleaner that works for cleaning the sticky gummings. But you can use it after cleaning the carburetor with the carbs cleaner. That may result in the sparkly-looking carburetor.

Will vinegar clean a carburetor?

Vinegar is oxalic-acid, so that has grease-cutting power like lemon or soda. The Vinegar can clean a carburetor alright, but it may not be the best alternative to carburetor cleaner. You can use it after wash to remove excess dirt left behind by the carburetor cleaner.

Can you clean a carburetor with acetone?

Acetone is already used in the carburetor cleaner formula. And it can clean metals without dissolving. But to clean it properly, you have to take out your whole carburetor and dip it into the solution. Also, the acetone evaporates very quickly. Using a brush is a handier when cleaning with acetone.

Can you use brake cleaner to clean the carburetor?

Break cleaner is a great alternative to carburetor cleaner. The brake cleaner is acid-based, and the carburetor cleaner is oil-based. So there is less residue in using a brake cleaner instead of a carburetor cleaner. Some people recommend it more than the carburetor cleaner. However, don’t use any with chlorine cause it can cause harm to you and the parts.

What can you use instead of a carburetor cleaner?

If you don’t have carburetor cleaner, you can go for quick alternatives. You can also use some materials for the permanent replacement of carburetor cleaner. The list goes: Spray cleaner, Break Cleaner, Acetone, Vinegar, WD-40, Washing Soda, All-purpose cleaner, and so much more.

How do you clean a gummed carburetor?

  • First, clean up all the fuel from the tank.
  • Open the floating bowls.
  • Use some carburetor cleaner with fresh gasoline. The ratio should be 1:2.
  • Use the mixture to clean the carburetor and also soak in it for 24 hours.
  • After the rest, start the engine and keep the solution cleaning the wastes.
  • Then use new fuel to operate the engine after the cleaning process.

What do you soak carburetors in to clean them?

You can soak the whole carburetor into carbs cleaner to clean them. But this is a costly and one-time cleaning. But you can also use Brakes cleaner to soak a carburetor. That evaporates too. You can also soak your carburetor into Vinegar or acetone to get a shiny clean.


The techniques to clean a carburetor can differ from person to person. But we have covered every possible way to clean a carburetor. The carburetor can help you to run your engine smoothly as well a dirty one can make a mess. But now you about how to clean a motorcycle carburetor, your next ride should be smooth.

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