How to Clean a Motorcycle Carburetor

Guide to Motorcycle Carburetor Cleaning

There are lots of benefits associated with cleaning your bike regularly. Due to this, people cleaning their motorcycle is a common sight. One of the many benefits of cleaning your bicycle regularly is it will look good. While cleaning the exterior of your bike is essential, there is a lot more to cleaning a bike than merely keeping its exterior clean. Beyond cleaning your bike’s surface, you should take time to also clean inside parts.

There are many internal parts of a motorcycle that you should clean. Nonetheless, for the sake of this article, we will pay attention to a motorcycle carburetor.

A motorcycle carburetor is an integral part of a bike, and cleaning it is not the easiest thing, especially for new bike owners.

Cleaning a Motorcycle Carburetor

Your bike’s carburetor is responsible for helping it run efficiently. When there is a lot of dirt in your bike’s carburetor, it will not be able to perform at its optimum.

Cleaning a carburetor is no doubt a bit complicated. However, when you follow the right steps, you will get things done just correctly. A carburetor is made up of several delicate parts. Therefore, you will have to carefully take it off your bike and dismantle it before going ahead to clean it.

What Tools do you need to clean a Carburetor?

When cleaning a motorcycle carburetor, you must be very safety conscious. Therefore, you will need to have your safety glasses on. In addition to putting on safety glasses, you should put on safety gloves throughout the entire process. This will help you protect your hands from chemicals that can cause irritations to your skin.

Once you have your safety glasses and gloves, please clean up your workspace and light it up properly. Some of the tools you will need to clean your motorcycle carburetor are;

  • Gloves
  • Low/medium strength thread locker
  • Compressed air
  • Wrench
  • Socket Wrench
  • Small screwdriver
  • Screwdriver
  • Hex key / Allen wrench
  • Carburetor cleaner
  • Several cleaners
  • Several rags
  • A service manual.

Although all the tools you need to clean a motorcycle carburetor are essential, you will be unable to do much without the service manual. The service manual is of extreme importance because there are various types of bikes with different carburetors. With a service manual, you can tell the differences. That’s not all. With a service manual, you will have a perfect understanding of the size of tools you need for cleaning your motorcycle carburetor.

Compressed air is essential. You might be unable to get the industrial compressed air in your neighborhood. If you can’t get this where you stay, you do not have to be worried. There are pressurized air cans in retail stores.

It would be best if you merely had rudimentary tools to clean your carburetor. Nonetheless, you have to use perfect screwdrivers as they will be needed to take off the brass jets. This is important as the brass jets might get damaged if you fail to find them with your screwdriver correctly. 

Take Off the Carburetor from your Motorcycle

It is standard for motorcycle manufacturers to keep a carburetor in a motorcycle’s inlet manifold with two bolts or a circular clamp. It is important that you shut out the bike’s primary fuel supply before taking out the carburetor. Also, you need to empty the bike’s float chamber with a hose and a screw located in the motorcycle’s chamber base.

With lots of carburetors, you can easily take off the slide, as well as the control cable when you take out the carburetor from the motorcycle’s engine.

Four screws hold the carburetor’s float chamber in place. You, therefore, need to turn it upside down to locate these screws. Not all units come with these screws. Some feature a wire clip.

Once you take out the screws, take out the chamber from the gasket. As soon as you take off the float chamber, you will come across the jets, air float, overflow pipe, and primary jet. It would be best if you took time when taking out the floats as they are delicate.

When cleaning a carburetor, the first thing you should do is clean the float bowl. It would help if you did this with a carburetor cleaner and a piece of cloth. This should be followed by cleaning and inspecting the carburetor’s different parts. With the carburetor cleaner, ensure all the holes in the carburetor’s body get flushed. Once done, with the compressed air, blow through these holes.

When blowing the carburetor, protect your eyes with goggles.

Reassemble the Carburetor

Reassembling the carburetor is easy. It is merely a reversal of the disassembly process. Nonetheless, before reattaching the float chamber, take a close look at the float height.

The engine’s mixture and functioning are affected by the float’s height setting. To adjust the height, you will have to bend the metal tang. Turning it excessively will cut off the chamber’s fuel delivery. You can find out the right height by going through the workshop manual

Why Should Your Motorcycle Carburetor be cleaned?

When your bike carburetor is clean, it can perform at its optimum. A dirty carburetor, on the other hand, makes it difficult for your bike to function. It could even halt the engine.

In a situation in which your bike’s engine halts because the carburetor is dirty, all you have to do is clean your carburetor. Although carburetors are complex, you should not be intimidated by their complexity when the need to clean your bike carburetor arises.

Other benefits of cleaning your bike carburetor include;

  • Increased fuel efficiency
  • Better bike acceleration
  • The engine starts quickly.

How Do You Know It is Time to Clean Your Motorcycle Carburetor?

The carburetor can be easily said to be the heart of your bike. If it is healthy, then your bike is healthy. However, if it is unhealthy, you will struggle while moving around with your bike.

The presence of fuel residue in your carburetor will get it clogged up. This occurrence will severely affect your engine’s capacity and might cause a failure.

Some signs that indicate it is time to clean your carburetor are;

An overflow in your bike’s carburetor: The presence of dirt or debris in your carburetor’s fuel bowl will lead to a blockage of its needle valve. This will prevent it from closing. When this occurs, the carburetor gets flooded, leading to fuel flowing out and spark plugs being wet.

It Begins Running Rich: When an engine starts running rich, it indicates an insufficient air supply and excess supply of fuel. In situations like this, the engine ends up producing black smoke.

The Engine is Unable to Start: If your bike’s engine turns over without starting, it just might be a sign of a dirty carburetor. When there is a lot of debris in your carburetor, it becomes difficult for air and fuel to mix up properly. When this happens, the fuel is unable to get to the engine.

These issues do not always mean you need to clean your carburetor. However, in most cases, problems like these arise when your carburetor is dirty.

Is It Okay to Clean a Motorcycle Carburetor with a Brake Cleaner?

Brake cleaners are pressurized sprays that can help in clearing dirt in clutch and brake assemblies. They are useful because they can dissolve unwanted substances. A lot of times, they function without leaving any residue.

Brake cleaners might be useful in cleaning brakes. Nonetheless, can they be used in cleaning carburetors? Yes, they can. So, when you are trying to clean your carburetor, if you have a brake cleaner around, you can go ahead and use it.

If you want to clean your motorcycle carburetor with a brake cleaner, ensure you do not make use of a non-chlorinated brake cleaner. If you use a non-chlorinated brake cleaner, you might end up with so much residue on your carburetor. Additionally, it does not get the job done as well as chlorinated brake cleaners do.

Is it Okay to Clean your Bike Carburetor with a WD40 cleaner?

The WD-40, which means Water Displacement, 40th Formula, is a spray that you can rely on to clean your bike’s carburetor without going through any form of stress.

How frequently should you Clean Your Bike’s Carburetor?

If you have the time, you can clean your bike’s carburetor as frequently s you clean your bike. When you do this, your bike will always function at its optimum. If you do not have the time to clean your bike carburetor as frequently as you clean the bike’s exterior, you can do the cleaning once in six months.


If you have ever had to deal with motorcycle problems because your carburetor is dirty, you can attest that it is not something any bike owner should go through.

Issues such as your bike struggling to start, an overflow of fuel in the carburetor, etc., can be avoided if only you will clean your carburetor frequently.