Best Carburetor Cleaner for Small Engines in 2020

Looking to give your vehicle’s engine a well-deserved clean? Look no further than this list of the top 5 carburetor cleaners!

If your engine was made in the '90s or earlier, then there's a good chance it is fitted with a carburetor. While most modern cars are equipped with fuel injection (which superseded carburetor technology), for those engines that have them, the carburetor is a crucial part of the engine. Furthermore, carburetors are commonly still used in smaller engines such as those found on a lawnmower, strimmer, or snowmobile. No matter what the size or application, if your engine has a carburetor then this list of carburetor cleaners is just for you. Read on and find out more!

Comparison Table for Best Carburetor Cleaners on The Market in 2020

Name

Type

Suitable for:

Safe to use with sensors?

Price

WD40 Specialist

Spray

Non-removal of Carb & Teardown of Carb

Yes

Gumout Carb & Choke

Spray

Non-Removal of Carb

No

Berryman Chem-Dip

Chemical Dip

Complete removal and tear-down of carb

No

CRC Carb Cleaner

Spray

Non-removal of Carb & Teardown of Carb

Yes

Liquimoly Carb & Valve Cleaner

Pour-in additive

No disassembly of carb or engine components

Yes

How We Wrote This Review

With many carburetor cleaners available on the market, whittling the list down to five was no easy task. However, we managed to so by scouring the internet for the most popular options, speaking to real-life users, and consulting mechanics and industry experts before finally thinning the herd.

We then broke down each carburetor cleaner into their base attributes, weighing up their pros and cons one by one. Price was also a consideration but, where possible, we’ve tried to add emphasis not just on low cost, by the best value as well.

The results of our testing are detailed for each of the five products below, but we’ve tried to give a general overview. As a potential buyer, we recommend you study this list thoroughly so that you can make the best-informed decision. There are no bad products on this list — some will perform better in specific applications than others, and it all depends on your exact need.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the product reviews!

1. WD40 300314 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body and Parts Cleaner - Overall Best in 2020

WD40 is a trusted household name across the globe. It should be of no surprise that their specialty carburetor and throttle body cleaner makes it to the top of our list. WD40 is best known for their propriety all-purpose fluid which forms the basis of their brand name. But with a wide range of products under their belt, the WD40 Carb & Throttle Body Cleaner is just one of them.

Features & Benefits of WD40 300314

  • Powerful Solvent-Based Formula: The WD40 Specialist Carb & Throttle Body Cleaner features a uniquely formulated solvent-base specifically designed for carburetor cleaning applications. This formula quickly and effectively tackles even the toughest of baked-on carbon deposits, leaving any carburetor clean with minimal effort.
  • Multi-purpose: WD40’s carburetor cleaning product can also be extended for use on throttle bodies, as well as other unpainted surfaces that may need cleaning up. This gives you the flexibility of using the WD40 Specialist cleaner for several applications around the car or garage and is especially useful for those who own both fuel-injected and carbureted vehicles.
  • Dual-Action Cleaning: Not only does WD40’s Carburetor cleaner break down those gunked-up and difficult to remove deposits, but the action is twofold. The high-pressure spray has the benefit of also blasting any remnants of grime away, ensuring that even less time is spent cleaning sensitive parts.
  • Minimal Residue: The specialist Carb & Throttle body cleaner from WD40 uses a solvent base, which is not only great for its cleaning properties but quickly evaporates leaving minimal residue. This is great for minimizing drying time and saves you from any messy cleanups later on down the line.
  • Safe for SensorsThe WD40 Specialist Carburetor and Throttle Body cleaner is great for cleaning modern applications and delectate engine components thanks to it being safe to use on sensors and catalytic converters. This means you can use the product without having to worry about protecting such sensitive areas of your vehicle’s engine, saving you time and effort, as well as protecting you from the potential cost of a new O2 sensor.

Pros

  • Great for use on both old and modern applications
  • Harmless to sensitive sensors
  • Easy-to-use spray application
  • Trusted industry name
  • Can be used as an effective cleaner and degreaser

Cons

  • Spray tube not included
  • One of the more expensive options

Verdict

The specialist range of WD40’s vehicle maintenance products is known for their quality and effectiveness. Their Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner is no different. That said, it does have a few minor drawbacks, such as not having a hose nozzle attachment to reach those awkward places. But WD40’s product has already garnered a lot of fans, and for good reason!

We’d certainly recommend taking a look at this carburetor cleaner on Amazon. It could be the all-in-one solution you need!

2. Gumout 800002231 Carb and Choke Cleaner

The original American hero, Gumout is a well-known name for those used to doing their own maintenance. Founded during the second world war, Gumout was formulated to clean out carburetors that became jammed during the transit of military vehicles. This time-tested formula is still a firm favorite today, and is one of the most effective products on the market.

Features and Benefits of Gumout 800002231

  • Time-tested formula: If not the original carburetor cleaner, the Gumout Carb and Choke Cleaner is a time-proven chemical composition that has literally won wars. Therefore, you can have confidence that the Gumout Carb & Choke Cleaner is up to the task.
  • Great for quick clean-upsAs it’s a spray can Gumout Carb Cleaner can be sprayed directly into parts of the carburetor and choke assembly. This makes it ideal for those jobs that don’t require a complete carb and choke tear-down, allowing you to instead spray it directly and solve common rough idling and hard starting problems.
  • Ideal for thorough cleanupsAs it comes with a plastic nozzle the Gumout Carburetor and Choke Cleaner is also great for the more intense jobs that require complete disassembly. This enables you to use it in tighter spots and blast the spray liquid through smaller holes and gaps within the carburetor.
  • Quick-drying formulaWith a quick-drying formula, the Gumout Carburetor Cleaner has a comparably quick dry time compared to other carburetor cleaners on the market. This not only saves time when cleaning but also ensures minimal runoff and fewer worries about messy cleanups.

Pros

  • Trusted Name & Formula
  • Quick-drying Formula
  • Included tube attachment for tight spots
  • Ideal for jobs that don’t require disassembly
  • Formulated to tackle the hardest of carbon build-ups

Cons

  • Not suitable for soaking
  • Not recommended for use on rubber/plastic
  • Not suited with sensors or throttle body

Verdict

The Gumout Carburetor and Choke Cleaner is an ideal option for those who want a fast-acting and easy to use carb cleaning spray. It may not be suitable for every application but, depending on the requirements, you could do a lot worse than shortlisting Gumout's product.

Why not do just that and shortlist it? The Gumout Carburetor and Choke cleaner is available on Amazon right now!

3. Berryman 0996 Chem-Dip Carburetor

The Berryman 0996 Chem-Dip Carburetor cleaner is one for the more involved of jobs. Rather than acting as a spray, Berryman’s solution is a dip that allows you to submerse carburetors and other crucial metal parts for an effective hour-long or overnight soaking. The powerful chemicals have been proven highly effective, especially on carburetors that have been gunked-up for years.

Features & Benefits of Berryman 0996

  • Deep Cleaning Action: The Berryman Carburetor cleaner is a dip and not a spray which allows you to soak the entire disassembled carburetor for as long as overnight. This is great for carburetors and parts that need a thorough cleaning, and that have intricacies that can’t be reached with a spray.
  • Dissolves the toughest of gunkThe Berryman Carburetor Chem-Dip is a powerful formulation designed to effectively and thoroughly clean any carbon deposits. The powerful formula makes light work of deposits that have been left unattended for years, either completely cleaning the carb, or leaving a light residue that can be easily wiped off.
  • ReusableOne of the biggest advantages of the Berryman Carburetor Chem-Dip is that it is not a one-time-use application. The chemical solution will stay effective even after several dips. This means if you have multiple carburetors (such as found on twin-carb engines) or even multiple vehicles, you could buy one tin of the Berryman Carb Cleaner and get multiple uses out of it.
  • Included Dip BasketThe Berryman Carburetor Chem-Dip comes with a dip basket included in your purchase. This eliminates the need to buy separate apparatus to carry out your dipping and soaking procedures—just grab the can off Amazon and you’re good to go!

Pros

  • Strong chemical formulation can tackle caked-on deposits.
  • All-in-one product
  • Great for overnight soaking
  • Reusable for multiple carburetors
  • VOC compliant

Cons

  • Requires complete disassembly of carburetor
  • Takes time to yield results

Verdict

The Berryman Chem-Dip won't be for everyone. It's perfect for those confident in their own ability that are willing to go that extra mile for a deep and thorough cleaning of a carburetor. The Berryman Chem-Dip requires a complete tear-down of your carburetor assembly, which can be a long and time-consuming job. But, if you want peace of mind and are willing to put in the extra time, the Berryman carburetor cleaner might be perfect for you.

If this kind of product appeals to you then check it out on Amazon now.

4. CRC Carb and Choke Cleaner Aerosol Can 

A firm favorite amongst many value-conscious consumers, the CRC Carb and Choke Cleaner is an admirable product in its own right. It's able to effectively hold its own by being an effective solution to dissolving tar and varnish that can gum up the jets of a carburetor, and its easy spray action means that it's even suitable for projects that don't require the disassembly of the carb.

Features & Benefits of CRC Carb and Choke Cleaner

  • Suitable for use without disassembly: The CRC Carb and Choke cleaner can quickly and effectively dissolve any buildup of sludge, varnish and carbon deposits. This allows you to simply squirt a small amount of the carburetor cleaner into the carb before it begins to work its magic.
  • Environmentally FriendlyThe CRC Carb & Choke Cleaner has been formulated using eco-friendly organic ingredients that make it kinder to the environment compared to other carburetor cleaners in the market. This allows the CRC carb cleaner to comply with California's strict laws on low VOC content and gives peace of mind for those wanting to limit their impact on the environment.
  • Fast Acting FormulaThe CRC Carburetor cleaner has been specifically designed to act in a short amount of time when cleaning away contaminants that result in rough running and poor gas mileage. This means that you can spray the CRC carb cleaner and not have to wait too long for it get to work before you drive away.
  • Safe for Electronics and SensorsThanks to the CRC Carb & Choke Cleaner’s careful formulation, which includes organic compounds, this carb cleaner is safe for use on parts that may have sensors, sensitive electronics and vehicles that have catalytic converters. This allows it to be used without worrying about damage or potential replacement of key components within your engine such as O2 sensors.
  • Multipurpose Use: The CRC carb cleaner can also be used on various other vehicle and engine components that are unpainted and need a heavy cleaning solution. This includes items such as throttle bodies, valves and other parts that form the intake, making it a useful cleaner to have in your garage arsenal.

Pros

  • Great Value
  • Fast-acting formula can halve cleaning time
  • Safe for critical components & sensors
  • Meets US EPA and California VOC regulations.

Cons

  • Unsuited for use with sensitive plastics and rubber
  • Does not include a bundled straw

Verdict

The CRC Carb & Choke Cleaner is a great product for those looking for a good balance of value and effectiveness. Since the CRC carb cleaner is on the less expensive side of the spectrum it’s especially appealing to budget-conscious buyers. Furthermore, with the ability to use the CRC carburetor cleaner for a variety of applications—not just carb cleaning—CRC’s product makes itself even more attractive as a multipurpose tool.

Why not check the CRC Carb & Choke Cleaner for yourself? It might be the best-suited product for a range of applications.

5. Liquimoly Carb and Valve Cleaner

Liquimoly’s Carb and Valve Cleaner is a different take from the German oil and additive brand. Liquimoly’s product is one of the easiest solutions for clogged carburetors that rob a vehicle of power, and has the added benefit of working through the fuel system to clean the valves as well. It’s an ideal solution for the less-mechanically able and has proved a great remedy for engines that suffer from lumpy idling, hard starting and poor gas mileage.

Features & Benefits of Liquimoly Carb and Valve Cleaner

  • Pour & Forget: The Carb & Valve cleaner from Liquimoly is so simple in its use that even the most mechanically illiterate could use it. Simply add the contents of a can to your petrol tank at your next fill-up and continue driving (one can treats up to 70 liters).
  • Requires No Part RemovalThe Liquimoly Carb and Valve cleaner doesn’t require you to disassemble your car’s components. While even carburetor cleaning spray requires some removal of covers and throttle linkage, Liquimoly's product works without that need and instead cleans through the engine.
  • Great Cleaning Properties for the Entire Fuel SystemLiquimoly's Carb and Valve cleaner will effectively clean other parts of your vehicle's engine as well. It does so as it is an additive mixed with fuel, and will also clean up any deposits associated with valves, combustion chambers and spark plugs.
  • Can be used for Long-term storageAre you planning on storing your car, truck or machinery for an extended period of time? Are you keeping a classic car indoors over the winter months? Then Liquimoly’s Carb & Valve cleaner can be used as a preventative measure, to protect against fuel fouling and keep your carburetor clean and fuel system free of gunk.

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Requires no mechanical knowledge
  • No mixing required
  • Can be used for all engines, both large and small

Cons

  • Not suitable for specialized cleaning
  • Not a substitute for thorough cleaning

Verdict

The Liquimoly Carb and Valve cleaner is a great alternative to using spray cleaners or chemical dips to clean your carburetor. Regular usage will ensure that your engine’s carburetor and fuel system, including valves and combustion chambers, are kept clean and free of the regular buildup of varnish, carbon and other detrimental deposits

If you’re looking for an easy option to clean out your vehicle’s carburetor, or just want something that can be used as a regular preventative step, then check it out on Amazon now.

Things to Consider Before Buying

If you're buying a carburetor cleaner for the first time, you may want to consider a few key points before settling on which cleaning product you invest in. Firstly, you need to assess and understand how far you want to go with your carburetor cleaning.

Scale of Job

Do you want to do a quick job with minimal effort? Then a pour-in fuel additive would be your best bet.

If you’re confident with a little disassembly, but don’t actually want to remove and strip the carburetor then a spray cleaner is also a great idea, as it can be used with the carb in-situ.

For a more thorough cleaning of carburetors—especially those that may have been out of commission for several years, you’re more likely to want to do a complete strip and soak of the carburetor parts to ensure that all remnants of any deposits are completely removed. For this purpose, a chemical dip is your best option.

Speed

Looking for a quick fix, or are you prepared to sit it out overnight? Do you need your car running on the road in five minutes, or do you have some time to spare? These are all vital questions to consider when you’re selecting a good quality carburetor cleaner for your usage. Some claim to work in seconds, while others are better suited for overnight soaking. Choose the right substance for your schedule.

Condition of Carburetor

Your choice will likely depend on how badly gunked-up the carburetor in question is. If it’s an engine that has seen regular use, and only has a few minor noticeable hiccups then a quick clean via either a pour-in additive or spray carb cleaner is a great and cost-effective way to deal with the problem. But, if the engine hasn’t been cleaned for some time, or has been out of commission, then you might be better off investing in a stronger cleaner, with a proven ability to get tough grime off.

Chlorinated vs Non-Chlorinated

Chlorinated Carburetor cleaners are banned in California due to their non-compliance with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) regulations. But chlorinated cleaners are known to be the most effective solution for tough deposits that may have built up over the years. Non-chlorinated cleaners are considered to be less harmful and less toxic to the environment, and won't dry as fast. They also have the advantage of being safer for use around plastics and rubber.

Allergies

While most carburetor cleaners are safe for use, it’s advisable not to inhale the fumes that are emitted. If you’re particularly sensitive to such, or are even allergic to any known chemicals, it’s always a good idea to double check the label before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a carburetor do?

The carburetor is where air and fuel are mixed before they are combusted inside the cylinder. For this reason, having a clean and efficiently working carburetor is essential for smooth running, better gas mileage and reliability. And if you're handy with your own maintenance, cleaning a carburetor is a cinch—provided you have the right carburetor cleaner!

Why does a carburetor need cleaning?

An engine’s carburetor is an essential part of the combustion process. It is where air and fuel are mixed before combustion. Some of the remnants from combustion, mostly known as carbon, can make their way into the carburetor chamber, and over time clog up the carburetor. That’s where periodic cleaning is advised, as these deposits will, over time, reduced efficiency.

How often do I need to clean my vehicle’s carburetor?

A car’s carburetor may only need cleaning once every year or so, but there’s no harm in increasing those intervals. If you notice a problem with the smooth running of the engine, or if you feel there is a loss in power, and your engine is equipped with a carburetor, then cleaning it is a good option to eliminate this.

Do all engines have carburetors?

No, most modern engines use fuel injection. But many classic and “youngtimer” models do have carburetors, as they were once the most common method of fuel delivery in engines. However, it is commonplace for some certain smaller engines, like those found on lawnmowers, go-karts, mopeds, and some motorbikes, to feature carburetors.

Why does my carburetor need frequent cleaning?

You may find that your car’s carburetor needs frequent cleaning. If cleaning is necessary at intervals greater than 12 months it’s very likely there’s an underlying issue that should be addressed. This could include your driving style, the quality of fuel in your area, and the tuning of your car’s engine and carburetor. Engines that do not combust properly will likely end up with greater carbon deposits. If this is your worry then a trained mechanic should be able to give your engine a tune-up to restore efficiencies and reduce the rate at which your carburetor needs cleaning.

My engine hasn’t run for a long time. Should I clean the carburetor before starting?

Cleaning the carburetor of a long-dormant engine is a prudent step. Fuel can often “expire” and when it does so it can foul areas within an engine. By cleaning out the fuel system before the first fire-up you give yourself a better chance of success, and will likely reduce your time attempting to crank and get fuel moving through the system again.

Wrapping Up

With many options on the market, the five top carburetor cleaners mentioned here all have what it takes to get the job done. Each of the five carburetor cleaners mentioned has the potential to deliver outstanding results, with powerful cleaning action to clear away dirt and grime seen across the board. However, which product you select will likely depend on several factors including the scale of the job, and how confident you are in your own mechanical abilities. But you can be sure that with any of the products listed here, you won’t be purchasing a bad product.

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