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Carb cleaners are an essential item when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Whether you need a motorcycle carb cleaner, a carb cleaner spray, or a simple small engine carburetor cleaner, we’ve developed a list of the top products available. Check out our list below to see what we really love about the products and what sets them apart from all the others available.
We know there’s a lot of competition out there, and it can easily become overwhelming when searching for the right tools – even when it’s something as simple as seeking out the best carb cleaners. As always, we do the heavy work, so you don’t have to, giving you the freedom to truly choose what carb cleaner is best for your needs.
The Best Carburetor Cleaner
This non-chlorinated, nonflammable carb cleaner gets to work on all that gunk and grime, quicker than you can say “best carburetor cleaner”. Safe for use on metallic, rubber and plastic surfaces, this is an easy way to get all your parts clean in one fell swoop. This cleaner comes with a basket, so there’s no danger of losing all your bits and pieces during cleaning and is great for reaching all of those elusive nooks and crannies that can so easily slip by, unnoticed, when cleaning your carburetor.
Fast and effective
Easy to use
- BrandBerryman Products
- Weight7.5 pounds
This offering from the team at Gumout is designed to be used even when the carburetor is still in situ. This is an easy-to-use item that can cut cleaning time in half. This is perfect for quick boosts to your deep clean project or to blast through tiny holes during a full clear-out. The major drawback is that it isn’t suitable for total cleans of the full mechanism, as it would take too long to get everywhere to a high standard.
Carb cleaning spray
Easy to use
No need to remove carburetor
- Weight0.16 ounces
CRC are in third place with their carb and choke cleaner. Another spray, this runs along similar lines to our No.2, without the huge brand behind them. They do, however, have a certified organic product that isn’t harmful to other components of your car- meaning your oxygen sensors and catalytic converters won’t be harmed if you decide to use this carb cleaner while the carb itself is still in place, in your vehicle.
- Weight14.4 ounces
Owned and operated by a family in NC, the Gunk carb cleaner is the first on our list to be a chlorinated cleaner. Naturally, this means this spray carburetor cleaner is likely to be extremely powerful, but unfortunately this also makes it unsuitable for other parts that are made from rubber or plastic. In short, this is a great bit of kit to have if you’ve taken your carburetor apart completely, but would need to be used very carefully, otherwise.
Great for cleaning specifics parts
Shouldn’t be used near rubber or plastic
- Weight1.1 pounds
This brand is known in the mechanical world as being amazing at cleaning all the odds and ends you’ll likely find when looking to clean your carburetor. Its powerful formula works fantastically when cleaning, but be sure to suit up when in use as users note that this has a powerful odor and can easily burn if in contact with skin.
Not available in California
- BrandBerkebile Oil 2 + 2
- Weight1 pounds
This item from Berryman is VOC compliant in several states and lets you get into the tiny holes in your carburetor. According to the company’s guide, this product is a great help if you find your engine is hard to start (gasoline engines only – not diesel) and can get rid of any gunk in and around your engine.
Range of sizes
- BrandBerryman Products
- Weight1.1 pounds
Our second offering from Gunk is their non-chlorinated version of the above carburetor cleaner. While it isn’t as powerful as it’s predecessor, the lack of chlorination makes for a much more engine-friendly spray that can used across the various parts, as required. Proudly marketed as the best choice for tradesmen across the US, this is a great addition for those looking to maintain their engine.
Low VOC solvents
- Weight1.35 pounds
This carburetor submersion dip works brilliantly for big jobs. The Yamalube carb cleaner is extremely potent and should be used with caution, however this makes it ideal for those hard-to-clean carburetors who don’t seem to bow down to any other brand. While you most likely won’t need this for domestic vehicles, it is perfect for commercial vehicles or those with higher mileage who need to get rid of a lot of debris and rubbish from the carburetor.
Can be combined with water for ultrasonic cleaning
- Weight3 pounds
The first cleaner on our list designed to work through the fuel injectors, this is the ideal solution for those who a little phobic of carrying out any heavy-duty maintenance work on their vehicle. All you need to do is pop this in with your usual fuel and let the Gumout cleaner do it’s work, while you drive around. This is a great addition to keep your carburetor in tip-top condition, without ever having to lift up your bonnet!
Easy to use
Great for maintaining a clean carburetor
No mechanical skills required
- Weight0.16 ounces
Our final entry comes all the way from Germany and is highly rated by users. Despite its low price, this is one of the highest reviewed items available when it comes to fuel injector cleaners. From disappearing faults to engines running like new, people can’t praise this enough. Add to this, the fact that this is another great option for those who don’t want to go through the trouble of completely cleaning out their engine, this is the ideal option to maintain your car.
Easy to use
- BrandLiqui Moly
- Weight10.4 ounces
Best Carburetor Cleaner Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying a Carburetor Cleaner
The answers to this are somewhat obvious yet are easily forgotten. The main things you should be looking out for when buying a carburetor cleaner include:
- The ease of use
First and foremost, a carb cleaner should be easy for you to utilize. There’s no point having an amazing cleaner that you aren’t even able to set up and get ready- it’s all well and good having the finest item in the world if it won’t do its job. The most effective cleaner will be one that you can pull out or buy whenever you need it, use quickly and safely, then get on with your day. Otherwise, you might as well head to a local mechanic.
- How effective it is
Another major component in your decision-making skills should be just how effective your cleaner is. As with all things, a cheaper brand may save you money in the short-term but the costs can add up easily over time, if you have to keep buying it, to do the same job a more expensive brand can do first time.
- What type of carb cleaner is best for your needs
As it turns out, you may not need to take apart your carburetor completely to give this cracking piece of engineering a clean. If you have a newer car, it can be worth just grabbing a carb cleaning spray that does the trick. Of course, an older car will probably need a full carburetor dip, which would involve taking each piece apart and leaving them to soak overnight.
It depends entirely on how much build-up there has been and where, along with how old the car is and whether you’re doing a quick once-over or a full, deep clean. We’ve given you a good selection to help you get a better idea of what’s on offer, above.
- The materials used
If your carburetor or nearby equipment has rubber or plastic areas, some carb cleaners may be too strong and, ultimately, cause more damage to your car. If you’re not sure what your vehicles designs include, it can be best to play it safe and get yourself a multi-fabric cleaner, which leaves you feeling much more secure in your usage.
- The speed of the carb cleaner
Some cleaners can take a few minutes, depending on how much it needs to shift, whereas others will need you to take your vehicle off the road overnight while the liquid gets to work, shifting the dirt. You’ll usually see this in more of the deep-cleaning carb cleaner types, but they can appear in any form. Be sure to read the instructions before purchasing your product, in case you need to be somewhere ASAP.
This comprises of multiple facets- you’ll need to check the ingredients used, if you’re allergic to anything, and be sure to get the right cleaner for your needs. A standard car with a dirty carburetor shouldn’t need anything too dangerous, but some stockists may sell for garages and mechanics, as well as yourself, and therefore sell the more corrosive or dangerous stuff.
Benefits of Cleaning Your Carburetor
A clean carburetor isn’t going to have a build-up of gunk in valves and general mechanisms, which means you’ll see some great benefits. For example, your fuel will ignite perfectly, as you car will be able to maintain the correct ratio of oxygen to gas, leading to increased fuel economy- so more miles per gallon! Of course, this allows you to then save money over time, so it can be completely worth the extra effort.
On top of this, your car is much less likely to break down if you keep up with regular maintenance. If you aren’t getting your carburetor cleaned regularly, by yourself or a mechanic, it’s very likely that the build-up will eventually block your valves and fuel injectors, meaning your car will rumble and, eventually, refuse to budge. On the other hand, getting them cleaned out keeps your car happy and cuts out any unnecessary trips to a garage!
Related Post: Best Fuel Injector Cleaners
Carb Cleaner: Chlorinated vs. Non-Chlorinated
Chlorinated cleaner will always be more powerful- however, with that power comes the higher likelihood of abrasion. This is great for soaking up the larger pieces of the carburetor, that don’t move, and have less chance of being made out of a softer substance. For the smaller pieces, such as the valves and injectors, you would probably want to try a non-chlorinated carb cleaner, since this is less likely to cause any damage to finer parts of the motor, while still being strong enough to shift the gunk off.
How to Clean a Carburetor
Removing and cleaning your carburetor will be slightly different for each vehicle type- but equally messy for all! Be sure to cover yourself up, keep some soap and water handy for spills, complete this task somewhere quiet and away from busy streets, and get yourself some good, thick gloves.
- Turn off your vehicles and fuel valve- ideally on an empty tank.
- If you’re cleaning a motorcycle carburetor, be sure to turn off your petcock if you don’t have a fuel-injected carburetor.
- Next, you’ll need to loosen up the screw clamps and rubber boots, if required.
- You’ll now need to remove the fuel throttle, plus any overflows or vent hoses if required. Be sure to make a note of where you’ll need to reattach these, later- otherwise things can get a bit confusing.
- Being careful not to spill any fuel on the ground (there will usually be latent fuel in the system, even if your tank is completely dry), take out your carburetor and place it, carefully, on a clean mat, on the floor.
- Grab a bowl (that you don’t mind getting dirty) and pull the drain pan, if you have one- this will allow the rest of the fuel to leave the carburetor.
Disassembling the carburetor
Be sure to lay out any and all pieces you take apart in an order that makes it simple to reassemble your carburetor. Otherwise this can become a massively time-consuming task that will have you pulling your hair out.
- The first thing you’ll need to do on any carburetor, is detach the float bowl. It’s located at the bottom and should be held in by four screws. Take these out carefully, as they can easily become damaged. Then set your items aside.
- Next, use long-nose pliers to remove the float pin, if it didn’t come out with the bowl.
- Take a good look around the inside of your carburetor. Aside from being interesting to look at, this will help you get your bearing during the next series of tasks. Get a good look at the small jets available through the item- the ones with a hexagon shape are screwed in and can be removed, although some may simply have a spot which can fit in a flathead screwdriver.
- Unfortunately, you’ll need to remove each piece in order to clean them, so get to work on that and then place them somewhere out of the way but easy to find. We’ll wait.
- The air screw and idle screw now need to be removed from the sides of the carb.
- If the choke can be removed, gently but firmly remove this with a wrench.
- Remove all gaskets and O-rings, placing them aside with your other, small parts ready for a clean.
You should now be ready to clean your carburetor!
- The easiest and most effective method is to soak your parts and carburetor in a cleaner dip- much like our top pick in the list. These usually come with a basket- but not always, so be sure you can get your items back out before dropping them in.
- You can also use a spray to get into the finer holes you might be able to see in the carburetor.
- Get rid of all the gunk with a wire brush, paying attention to health and safety by wearing google and appropriate clothing. In some cases, you can also use wire wool, although this method requires more elbow grease.
- After everything has gone, let your parts dry and then simply place them all back as they were, by reversing the steps above!
Best Carburetor Cleaner FAQ:
Q: What does a carburetor do?
A: As most of us know, all things require oxygen before they can burn, including gasoline, diesel, petrol and so on. Of course, not all things ignite at the same speed once a spark has been lit. Indeed, our vehicle fuel is one of the most “explosive” form of ignitions due to the speed at which the fuel itself ignites when coming into contact with oxygen, once lit.
A carburetor is a nifty piece of engineering that allows for the correct mixture of oxygen to the ratio of fuel needed for the speed at which you require your car to travel. In other words, it uses a series of valves and precise measurements to ensure that your car doesn’t complete explode with a rush of excess fuel, while also allowing the fuel to actually come into contact with the oxygen at all.
Naturally, you can see that this is one of the most important parts of the car and is unique to the engine type your car has (depending on the size of the car and the fuel it uses). It’s an impressive feat that requires many smaller parts to make up the entire carburetor, all of which can become dirty or hold more gunk than is advisable, over time.
Thus, as you can probably already tell, it’s an important factor in your vehicles upkeep, to maintain the cleanliness of your carburetor. Doing so can keep your car performing at its optimum level, long into its lifespan and can mean lower fuel costs for you, along with less chances of the engine failing.
Q: How does a carburetor cleaner work?
A: Over time, particularly with extended use and poor fuels (each gas station tends to have a varied quality of fuel, as we all know), the parts and mechanisms in the carburetor get bogged down with debris and general dirt which can eventually lead to a paste-like gunk. This sticks to the sides of the fuel injectors, valves and inside of the carburetor itself.
Eventually, this will clog up the inner workings of the carburetor, which results in poor fuel consumption and, in the worst cases, complete failure. Luckily, carb cleaners counteract this by using a strong mixture of chemicals (all slightly different, depending on the brand) that break down these deposits and work to remove them from your system.
As these can be quite stubborn, however, not all carb cleaning types will work for all things. Sometimes, you might just need a dash of spray over a specific area to loosen the debris and get things moving. Other times, you’ll need to take out the entire carburetor and take it apart in order to reach any and all difficult areas and have each section dipped in the chemicals, in order to loosen the gunk enough to get it to shift away from its beloved home.
Thus, we can understand that cleaning the carburetor with carb cleaners is an essential part of regular vehicle maintenance and staying on top of this work- inconvenient as it may be- eventually leads to a happier vehicle with less of the big issues and, therefore, a happier owner.
Q: Can I use fuel injector cleaner in a carburetor?
A: A fuel injector does exactly what it says on the tin- injecting fuel into your carburetor cleaner. Therefore, a fuel injector cleaner runs through the injector itself and works its way through the mechanisms, using a little force and some clever chemistry to loosen the gunk in the carb cleaner. Since these are one of the most likely places for build-up of debris and general gunk to appear, it can be handy to run an injector cleaner through your system before taking the entire carburetor out and apart, with a view of cleaning the entire bit of kit from top to bottom.
There are, however, a few things you should be aware of if you’re looking to use a fuel injector cleaner:
- If your fuel injectors are blocked or have a massive build-up, it’s unlikely that an injector cleaner will work well, since the fluid itself won’t work its way through the contaminates in order to reach through the nozzle.
- Not all of the cleaner fluids work for all vehicle types. If you are looking to use this, you’ll need to shop around and find the right fuel injector cleaning fluid for your car. An older car might respond to any form of cleaning, while a new car may need something that is a little stronger and more likely to break down smaller build-ups, that are more likely in newer cars.
- There is still some debate as to whether fuel injector cleaners actually work. Of course, it may be due to the fact that some folk may be using cleaners that are incompatible (as mentioned in the last point) and others may be using these when it’s too late.
With all of the above taken into account, it’s important to note that fuel injector cleaners aren’t a complete waste of time. They’re cheap enough to use regularly and can be a great way of “topping up” your cleanliness, once your carburetor has been thoroughly de-gunked. Using one every 20-30,000 kilometers isn’t going to do your engine any harm and can even help keep your car in tip-top shape. Essentially, it all comes down to your own preference- the best advice in this sense would be to ask your local mechanic to pop one in, during your annual service.
Q: How often should I clean my carburetor?
A: The answer to this question can be as complex as your driving style. There are some mechanics out there who would recommend a fuel injection cleaner at least ever fuel top-up and a carb cleaner spray every month, with a full carburetor cleaner dip every 3 months. Of course, for most drivers this is a tad overkill.
In order to decide on the best times for you, you’ll need to put the what you drive, how far you drive and what fuel you use under scrutiny. For the former, it’s simply the case that older cars will probably need a scrub out more often, since the erosion caused over time can produce more areas for the debris to catch and become stuck on. It’s also less likely that an older, with many owners, would have been regularly cleaned. In this case, you’ll probably need to go the whole hog from the start and give the carburetor a full, deep clean before regularly “topping up” your system with a spruce-up.
How far you drive matters too, because the more you drive, the more work your carburetor will have had to complete in order to get you to your destination. As well as this, it’s more likely that you will have had a range of fuels from different brands put into your vehicle, meaning a mixture of high- and low-quality fuel.
Speaking of fuel, this is one of the biggest contributing factors to maintaining a healthy carburetor. Lower quality fuel is less likely to go through the filter correctly, meaning more debris and general rubbish is likely to work its way through your carburetor and more likely to leave this in the nooks and crannies of your car.
A higher quality fuel filters more easily and uses just the right number of octanes for the standard road vehicle, meaning they ignite under different levels of compression and give you more miles per gallon. Essentially, you’ll prolong the life of your carburetor and save yourself money in fuel economy. Meaning you won’t need to use a carb cleaner nearly as much as you would if you travelled longer distances using lower-quality fuel.
Long story short, the best average time for cleaning out your carburetor is between 20-30,000km- making the distance slightly shorter if you aren’t the type to keep on top of your carb cleaning, and longer if you know you regularly top-up your carburetor cleaning with fuel injector cleaning liquids and by using high-quality fuel, as well as by using dips and spray as necessary.
Our Top Pick
With its usability, powerful ingredients and incredibly fast-acting effect on even the toughest of grime and muck, it’s not hard to see why we chose the Berryman carburetor dip cleaner. For those looking to get the most out of their engine and start afresh, this is the most powerful carb cleaner on the market while also remaining one of the simplest and most effective available. Great for use across the board, with any material, this is perfect for those who want to have good go at cleaning their carburetor from top to bottom, for a great price.