How Often Should You Clean Motorcycle Carburetor?


Carburetor supplies the air-fuel mixture to the engine for its combustion.

The cleaning and maintenance of the carburetor is important to the motorcycle since it controls the supply of fuel to the engine.

How Often Should You Clean Motorcycle Carburetor? The motorcycle carburetor should cleaned once a year (every 12 months). In addition, the carburetor should be tuned and adjusted for idle speed every 6 months.

The carburetor is factory pre-set in order to achieve optimum performance and meet the emission standards.

However, the carburetor would still need a time to time tuning and cleaning to maintain better performance and work optimally.

When To Clean The Motorcycle Carburetor

It is always advised to clean the motorcycle once every year to maintain the carburetor in its optimum working condition.

In addition, the carburetor should be tuned and adjusted for idle speed every 6 months.

The idle speed should be adjusted to around 1400 rpm usually. It is better to check the owner manual in case the manufacturer has recommended a different idle speed.

The carburetor is factory pre set in order to achieve optimum performance and meet the emission standards.

However, the carburetor would still need a time to time tuning to maintain better performance and work optimally.

That’s why carburetor needs tuning periodically for every 6 months.

In addition, the carburetor should also be cleaned to remove any dirt accumulated. For this reason, the carburetor should be cleaned once every year.

A cleaning frequency of one year should be sufficient to keep the carburetor clean and running in a good condition.

Why Motorcycle Carburetor Should Be Cleaned

Carburetor mixes the air and fuel to the desired air-fuel ratio and then transfer the fuel mixture to the engine.

For the engine to generate optimal power with as less possible fuel consumed, the carburetor should provide an optimal supply of air-fuel mixture.

If the mixture is lean, i.e., less fuel and more air, the engine will overheat.

If the mixture is rich, i.e., more fuel and less air, there will be unburnt fuel leading to low mileage and exhaust backfiring.

Carburetor works on mechanical linkages and components. The desired air-fuel ratio is manually set and the mechanical components control the air-fuel mixture basis the ratio set by the operator.

As a result, it is easier to tune the carburetor since unlike fuel injectors carburetor is not controlled by an ECU.

On the downside, the air-fuel ratio is not dynamic based on the engine load, speed, the riding conditions, engine temperature, throttle response etc.

Fuel injectors, on the other hand, provide high power output, engine speed, fuel efficiency, and low emissions.

Carburetors compensate the shortcomings in the form of low cost, requiring minimum maintenance, easy replacement and economical.

The minimal maintenance required for the carburetor is tuning adjustment every 6 months and cleaning every once in a year.

Effects Of Dirt In Carburetor

Dirt in the carburetor can block the fuel flowing into the combustion chamber. Insufficient fuel in the system, as described earlier, will cause problems in starting the motorcycle as well as in accelerating.

Clogged pilot jets blocking sufficient fuel flow, dirt in the petcock, clogged fuel lines and dirty fuel filters are all the possible causes that needs to be checked in the carburetor.

If the dirt gets accumulated in the carburetor parts, there won’t be sufficient air-fuel mixture entering to the engine for combustion.

And when there isn’t sufficient fuel mixture to burn in the engine, the power generated by the engine will be subpar to the required power in the bike.

As a result, the motorcycle won’t accelerate and will have problems starting and running as well. The motorcycle may not be running without choke as well.

Tips To Clean The Carburetor

First and foremost, if you feel disassembling and reassembling your carburetor is a herculean task, do not stress out. Take your bike to a mechanic.

Removing a carburetor and cleaning it is not easy. And if you are not sure how to do it, it is better to handover the task to the service shop or the dealer.

On the other hand, if you are willing to get your hands dirty, below are some of the tips to clean the carburetor.

  • Note the make and the model of your carburetor and the motorcycle before disassembling. This is because in case the carburetor is damaged and you have to replace it with a new one, the model and make comes in handy.
  • Keep the appropriate carburetor kit ready with you for a smooth cleaning and reassembling. Having the kit at your disposal makes the cleaning process much smoother and stress free.
  • Nuts and Bolts – organize them properly. The rust on the parts makes them impossible to interchange. So, you would need to fit them back in the same place. Either mark them or place it in an organized fashion.
  • Clean them with carburetor solution – use a proper carburetor cleaning solution to clean the carb. Do not use any other spray or oil for the cleaning.
  • Air hoses can be handy. Use air hoses to get to the parts where cleaning with hands is difficult. Air hoses can be your ally here to clean the intricate components or parts.
  • Adjust the pilot jets first while reassembling the carburetor back into the motorcycle.

Related Questions

Carburetor vs fuel injector – which is better in a motorcycle? Fuel injectors provide high power output, engine speed, fuel efficiency, and low emissions. Whereas carburetors require minimum maintenance, easy to replace and are economical. If you want high performance, fuel injector is the best. And if you are tight budgeted, carburetor is the preferred option.

Why does motorcycle won’t accelerate? Poor acceleration problems are associated with the spark plugs not being in a healthy condition. The spark plugs have worn out or had gotten dirt into it to ignite the fuel mixture properly. Other possible reasons include clogged carburetor or dirt in the air filter.

Why motorcycle won’t run without choke? The main reason for why your motorcycle is not running without a choke is because of clogged petcock, fuel lines, fuel filters or pilot jets of the carburetor. Cleaning the dirt in these parts should solve the issue. Other possible reasons can be dirt in air filters or air leakages.