How to Clean an ATV Carburetor

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The carburetor is responsible for controlling the air/fuel mixture that gets delivered to the ATV engine combustion chamber. 

A clean and properly tuned carb will ensure that your ATV starts right up and runs smoothly at all throttle positions on both acceleration and deceleration. 

A dirt carburetor can cause all sorts of problems. 

Use this guide to clean your ATV carburetor the right way. Plus, find other resources for cleaning, adjusting, and tuning carburetors at MotorcycleZombies.com. 

How to Clean an ATV Carb

Cleaning an ATV carburetor is a straightforward process. You’ll just need to be sure to take your time, keep track of the small parts, and assemble everything correctly when you’re done. 

If you need to replace any jets or gaskets, be sure to have a replacement kit on hand. 

When changing jets, be sure to use the correct size for your engine specs and your carb. Changing jet sizes will require tuning. 

To begin, you’ll need to drain any fuel in the carb and remove the carburetor from the engine. Unscrew the throttle cable, airbox, and engine manifold clamp to remove it. 

Create a clean and clear workspace where you can begin disassembling the carburetor. 

Begin by turning the carb upside down and unscrewing the float bowl screws. 

This will give you access to the float, gaskets, and internal jets and passages you’ll need to clean. 

Be sure to unscrew all the jets, remove all gaskets, and springs. 

With the carb fully disassembled, you’re ready to start cleaning it. 

For badly gummed or varnished metal parts, you can soak them in a carb cleaning solution for a while. 

Do not use carb cleaning on any rubber or plastic parts. 

You can use carb cleaner, a toothbrush, and carb cleaning wires to unclog the jets and remove any varnished fuel. 

Use a carburetor cleaning spray to spray through the carb passages to ensure they’re clear. 

Once the carburetor is cleaned and all the old grime has been removed, be sure to dry it completely. You can use compressed air to clear out and dry the small passages and jets. 

After the carb has dried, begin reassembling. Avoid over tightening the jets, and be sure to replace any old or worn gaskets. 

Refer to your owner’s manual to set the idle screw in the proper position. 

Once the carbs are back on the quad, you’ll need to start it up and finish setting the idle, and confirm carb performance at different throttle positions.  

How to Clean an ATV Carb Without Taking it Off

If you’ve never done it before (or even if you have) removing the carbs and cleaning them can feel like a daunting task. 

Many home mechanics wonder if they can clean their carburetor without taking it off. 

Unfortunately, the answer is no, you cannot fully clean your carbs without removing them from your quad. 

A badly clogged or gummed up carb requires a deep cleaning that cannot be achieved when they’re still attached. 

However, you can help prevent the need for a deep carb cleaning by:

  • Using good quality fuel. 
  • Using a fuel system cleaner or treatment regularly. 
  • Riding regularly. 
  • Keeping your engine tuned. 
  • Keeping your air filter cleaned and free of debris. 

Regular maintenance and use will help keep your carbs in good condition for longer. 

Carburetors that have been sitting for a long time, dirt air filters, and low quality fuel (or a lack of a filter) can lead to them getting clogged or gummed up with burnished gasoline. 

Best Things to Clean ATV Carbs With

A proper carburetor cleaning requires the right tools and supplies. 

To clean your carbs, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Small screwdrivers to unscrew the float bowl and remove the jets. 
  • A small socket wrench, if necessary. 
  • An air compressor. 
  • A small, soft metal wire or paperclip.

You’ll also need the following cleaning supplies:

  • Carb cleaning wires/picks.
  • Carburetor cleaning spray. 
  • Carburetor cleaning dip. 
  • Rags.

When cleaning your carbs, be sure to wear proper eye protection and gloves as well. 

How can you tell if your ATV carburetor is clogged?

If your ATV won’t start or is running poorly, your carburetor may be the culprit. 

A clogged carburetor can cause all sorts of problems. Signs that your ATV carb is clogged may include:

  • Not being able to start the engine. 
  • A lean running condition. 
  • A rich running condition. 
  • A flooded engine. 
  • Backfire. 
  • Bogging or stuttering at different throttle positions. 

For more information about cleaning, tuning, and adjusting your ATV carburetors, check out some of these other free guides from MotorcycleZombies.com:

Find all of our Carburetor Maintenance guides here.