The 10 Best Carb Cleaners of 2020
Once your vehicle develops acceleration or startup problems, it's probably time to clean out the carburetor. Gunk, varnish, and gum form on the different carburetor parts over time, resulting in poor acceleration and other performance issues.
But besides improving performance, cleaning your carburetor comes with other benefits, such as better fuel efficiency, improved acceleration, and faster engine starts. That said, you need the best carb cleaner for this job.
In this review, we provide a list of some of the top-rated carburetor cleaners in the market, plus a buying guide to help you make the right choice.
10 Best Carb Cleaners – Review
1. CRC 03077 (Best Overall)
2. Berryman 0996 (Best Dip)
3. Briggs & Stratton 100042 (Best for 2- & 4-Cycle Engine)
4. Gumout 800002231 (Best Inexpensive)
5. WD-40 Specialist (Best Spray)
6. Genuine Ford Fluid PM-2 (Best for Gasoline Engine)
7. Berryman 113 (Residue-Free)
8. Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 B101 (Super-Concentrated)
9. Gunk M4814/6 (Powerful Chlorinated)
10. Gunk M4815NC (Safest Non-Chlorinated)
1. CRC 03077
2. Berryman 0996
3. Briggs & Stratton 100042
(Best for 2- & 4-Cycle Engine)
4. Gumout 800002231
5. WD-40 Specialist
6. Genuine Ford Fluid PM-2
(Best for Gasoline Engine)
7. Berryman 113
8. Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 B101
9. Gunk M4814/6
10. Gunk M4815NC
1. Best Overall Carb Cleaner: CRC 03077
With the fast-acting and more effective formula, the CRC 03077 carb cleaner spray is our best overall option. It comes in a 12-oz aerosol can that is ready to spray on a range of automotive parts. Also, it works on all kinds of deposits, including sludge, gum, and varnish.
What's more, this carb cleaner comes with a straw for those times you might need some level of precision or have to spray the compound in the hard to reach places.
CRC makes the carb cleaner with low VOC formula and is safe for catalytic converters and oxygen sensors.
This product will be legal to use in almost all jurisdictions, as it meets a host of regulatory requirements, including the US EPA and the California VOC.
On the flip side, it is not safe on plastic and rubber, but if you are careful not to get it on parts with these materials, you should be okay.
2. Best Carb Cleaner Dip: Berryman 0996
The Berryman 0996 is a highly effective carb dip that will make it easy to clean your carburetor with a simple immersion without having to aerate, agitate, or heat the parts. And you also get an immersion container to make the job easier for you.
Better yet, the dip is fast-acting and effective on all kinds of deposits, including hard carbon, gum, sludge, oil, grease, and varnish. Simply dip the carburetor inside for 15 to 30 minutes, and that's it.
The formula is non-chlorinated and is VOC-compliant across the entire United States. It's safe for use on plastic and metal parts made of aluminum, steel, and various alloys.
While the price is a little steep when you compare this product to others on our list, it is for a 1-gallon container, meaning there is enough product to last you many applications. Also, dipping is not always the best method for cleaning larger parts, but it should be ideal for most carburetor types.
3. Best Carb Cleaner for 2- & 4-Cycle Engine: Briggs & Stratton 100042
Briggs & Stratton is a popular tool and small engine maker. They make their model 100042 carb cleaner to work for both 2 and 4-cycle engines to suit almost any vehicle.
This carb cleaner will remove all kinds of carburetor deposits fast and effectively by dissolving them. Better still, you can use it to clean chokes and any other metal parts very quickly.
With this carb cleaner, you can be sure of minimal downtimes given the fast-acting formula. And besides cleaning the carburetor, it will help improve starting.
Despite not coming with a spray straw, this product is still quick and easy to apply. Also, the manufacturer does not make it clear whether it is safe for plastic or rubber, but this should not be a big issue.
4. Best Inexpensive Carb Cleaner: Gumout 800002231
The inexpensive Gumout 800002231 is a fantastic carb cleaner for motorists looking for an effective product for cleaning their carburetor without spending a lot of cash. Furthermore, this product helps solve various engine issues like stalling, rough idling, and hard starts.
This carb cleaner is quite versatile as it cleans all kinds of unpainted metal parts, including choke valves. Better yet, it is quick-drying to minimize downtime, no matter the component you might be cleaning.
The Gumout carb cleaner will remove gum, varnish, and other deposits quickly and thoroughly. This carb cleaner leaves you with a shiny and new-looking carburetor. The spray head additionally includes a straw for more accuracy when you need it.
What's more, this product is safe for use with oxygen sensors and catalytic converters. Still, Gumout advises to avoid spraying directly on oxygen sensors to ensure no disruption of regular engine operation.
Read More: 5 Best Catalytic Converter Cleaners
This product is not safe for painted surfaces, but you will hardly ever need to use it on any. It is also highly flammable, but with extra keenness when using it, you should be okay.
5. Best Carb Cleaner Spray: WD-40 Specialist
WD-40 Specialist comes in a spray bottle that makes it easier to apply. It is also an all-in-one product that is useful for cleaning carburettors, throttle body and unpainted metal parts.
You can use this carb cleaner on both old and new engines and equipment as it does not damage them. Besides vehicles, it cleans other things like lawnmowers, motorcycles, and boats.
The dual-action system ensures that this will be a more effective product as it breaks up the tough deposits and blasts them away.
This carb cleaner helps optimize performance at high RPM and is safe on the oxygen sensors and catalytic converters.
The spray straw does not seem good quality, but the good news is that it still works fine and should not be a deal-breaker.
6. Best Carb Cleaner for Gasoline Engine: Genuine Ford Fluid PM-2
Motorcraft is an OEM parts maker, founded in 1972 by the Ford Motor Company. It's well-known for making vehicle-specific spare parts and cleaning products like the Genuine Ford Fluid PM-2 carb cleaner that will be ideal for gasoline vehicles.
It removes gums, sludge, and carbon deposits, leaving you with a clean carburetor. You can also use it on other engine parts, including cylinder valves, cast iron, and varnished steel parts.
Its 18-oz spray-can offers enough solution to last you for a while, and you also get the dip version without a spray head.
On the flip side, it's not for diesel engines. However, this should not be a big deal as the manufacturer makes this clear in the description. And despite being a little pricier, it is worth every buck.
7. Residue-Free Carb Cleaner: Berryman 113
Berryman 113 is your best bet if you want a carb cleaner that will clean the carburetor effectively and dry without leaving any residue. What's more, this will be an ideal product for cleaning other components like choke and PCV valve.
This carb cleaner is also fast-acting to ensure you have minimal downtime when cleaning your carburetor. You can use it to dissolve and clean gum, sludge, and varnish from the carburetor.
Besides the effective cleaning, this product leaves parts with an extra shine to make them look almost new. You can also be sure of the quality and safety as it is carb compliant.
When you compare this product to others on our list, it seems quite pricey, but it is worth every buck. Also, there is no straw in the package, but this is still an easy product to apply precisely.
8. Super-Concentrated Carb Cleaner: Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 B101
With the Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 B101, you get a super-concentrated carb cleaner that is more effective to ensure you only need a little of it to clean your carburetor and other vehicle parts.
This cleaner has a fast-acting formula that ensures you get results fast. It cuts gum and other deposits almost instantly. Because it comes with an extension tube, you can get into hard to reach areas and apply the cleaner more precisely.
You can use this product on carburetors, chokes, choke linkages, hoses, PCV valves, and lots more. What's more, the formula is safe for oxygen sensors and catalytic converters.
Like most carburetor cleaners, this one is extremely flammable, so it is not ideal for hot environments or a running engine. This carb cleaner seems a little expensive, but you can be sure it is worth every buck.
9. Powerful Chlorinated Carb Cleaner: Gunk M4814/6
The Gunk M4814 is Gunk's answer for those searching for the best carb cleaner for small engines. It features a powerful chlorinated formula with all the right chemicals to quickly and easily bring your carb back to life.
It will clean out sludge, dirt, gum, varnish, and carbon deposits from your carburetor, cylinder heads, as well as other metal parts that you might like to clean.
The formula is safe for catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. And when it comes to using this product, you will not need any additional tools as it is straightforward to use.
10. Safest Non-Chlorinated Carb Cleaner: Gunk M4815NC
Non-chlorinated carb cleaners like the Gunk M4815NC provide a safer way of cleaning your carburetor. Lack of chlorine also makes this product safe in jurisdictions with strict standards like California.
With this Gunk cleaner, you get a cleaning formula made from low VOC solvents, making it even safer for the users and the environment.
This carb cleaner will clean dirt, gum, varnish, sludge, and carbon deposits from the carburetor, choke, engine cylinders, and any other metallic parts that you may want to clean up. Better still, the formula is quick-drying and leaves no residue.
Lack of chlorine might make this product a little less potent, but you can be sure it will still clean your carburetor effectively. Also, the absence of an extension straw is a minor issue that should not be a deal-breaker.
How to Buy the Best Carburetor Cleaners
1. Chlorinated vs. Non-chlorinated
Chlorine is a common ingredient in all kinds of cleaning agents, as it helps break down dirt more easily. However, not all carb cleaners include it, as some have a non-chlorinated formula.
Chlorinated cleaners like Gunk M4814 are more potent and clean faster and more thoroughly, but they can damage delicate materials.
Non-chlorinated cleaners such as the Gunk M4815NC are milder and safer for all surfaces but can struggle with heavy deposits.
2. Spray or Dip
You will also need to decide whether to buy the spray or dip types of carb cleaner. Here each type has its merits and demerits.
Spray carb cleaners are the kinds that you have to spray on the carburetor when cleaning. These allow you to clean the carburetor without removing it, but even with the straw that comes with most, you can have a hard time getting the product to the hard to reach places.
On the other hand, dip carb cleaners are the kinds you have to immerse the carburetor inside a container full of the product. They allow you to soak the carb for more effective results and to get the product everywhere. However, to use these cleaners, you have to remove the carburetor.
Since you will not have a lot of time for cleaning your carburetor, you need a cleaner that provides a fast-acting formula.
A fast-acting formula like what you get with the CRC 03077 dissolves the deposits fast and hence ensuring minimal downtime for the vehicle.
4. Compatible Material
As you shop for the best carb cleaner, it is vital to note that they are suitable for different materials.
While carburetors are mostly metal, some surrounding components are plastic or rubber materials. Hence, if these materials are in areas you are likely to get the cleaner on when cleaning the carburetor, you need to make sure the formula will not damage them.
5. Safety and Eco-Friendliness
You also need to think about safety and eco-friendliness as you choose a carb cleaner. It is essential to make sure the product you buy is safe for users by having non-toxic compounds and being low on VOC.
The eco-friendliness of a carburetor cleaner is subjective. That is, if you care about the environment, then take extra effort to ensure you get an eco-friendly carb cleaner.
6. Ease of Use
Another consideration is how easy it is to use the cleaner. Some come in spray cans, while others come in regular containers, intended for dipping the carburetor into it.
Spray carb cleaners are generally more straightforward to use than dip ones, and this is more so if they come with a straw for precise application.
How to Clean a Carburetor (Step by Step Guide)
The step by step guide below leads you through the necessary stages of cleaning a carburetor, independent of your car's or tool's make or model.
Step 1: Wear Goggles & Gloves
You should keep in mind that most carb cleaners are harmful to both skin and eyes, so it is vital to wear goggles and gloves when using them. In case the solution does spill on you, wash it away as quickly as possible with water.
Step 2: Remove the Carburetor
Engines have different carburetors types, with tools like lawnmowers having simpler ones than cars, whose carburetors are a bit more complicated.
All the same, you may have to disconnect the carburetor from the engine first. In that case, you'll need to remove all the hoses, linkages, springs and separate the carburetor from the engine. Feel free to take pictures along the way, so you remember the location of the components.
Step 3: Dismantle the Carburetor
Once the carburetor is free or you can work on it in place, you need to dismantle. The length of this step depends on your carburetor complexity. Here You will need to find and open the float chamber.
Then remove the float, including any pins, gaskets, O-rings, or other present items, depending on your engine make. It's often a great idea to take pictures before a disassembly, so you'll know how to assemble it back quickly.
You also need to remove any rubber or plastic parts because some carb cleaners contain chemicals that can attack and damage them over time.
Step 4: Cleaning
Now is the time to clean your carburetor in and out. Feel free to brush the outside with a brush, but you have to clean the inside with the carburetor cleaner.
You can either use the spray or the dip cleaner, but if you are cleaning the carburetor in place, then spray is your only option.
If you remove the carb from the engine, you can use an immersion or dip cleaner. Make sure you leave the entire carburetor in the solution for some time to get a complete cleansing.
Step 5: Re-Installation
Once your carburetor is clean and properly dried, it's time to re-assemble and re-install it. Here is where the pictures come in handy, especially if you're not familiar with the carburetor assembly.
After reconnecting everything, including all wires and hoses, start your engine to make sure it works, and if it works, the job is complete.
Q: What Symptoms Can a Dirty Carburetor Cause?
A: Although the symptoms largely depend on the extent of the issue, a dirty carburetor can cause hard starts, backfiring, black exhaust smoke, and a dip in engine performance. If it is too dirty, the engine might also fail to start altogether.
Q: How often Should I Clean my Carburetor?
A: Although you can get away with cleaning your carburetor once per year, experts recommend you clean it at least every 6 months. Also, the frequency depends on how often you use the vehicle. Regularly used ones require more frequent cleaning than occasionally used cars.
Q: Do I have to Take the Carburetor Out of the Car to Clean it?
A: No, you can still clean the carburetor when it is still in the vehicle when using the spray carb cleaners. However, if you prefer using dip carb cleaners, you have first to take out the carburetor.
Whether you are looking for the best carb cleaner for your car, motorcycle, or even an RV, there are plenty of fantastic offers to choose from on or list.
To help you narrow down your choice, the CRC 03077 is our best overall and top recommendation thanks to the fast-acting formula that will remove all kinds of carburetor deposits.
- 10 Best Carb Cleaners – Review
- 1. Best Overall Carb Cleaner: CRC 03077
- 2. Best Carb Cleaner Dip: Berryman 0996
- 3. Best Carb Cleaner for 2- & 4-Cycle Engine: Briggs & Stratton 100042
- 4. Best Inexpensive Carb Cleaner: Gumout 800002231
- 5. Best Carb Cleaner Spray: WD-40 Specialist
- 6. Best Carb Cleaner for Gasoline Engine: Genuine Ford Fluid PM-2
- 7. Residue-Free Carb Cleaner: Berryman 113
- 8. Super-Concentrated Carb Cleaner: Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 B101
- 9. Powerful Chlorinated Carb Cleaner: Gunk M4814/6
- 10. Safest Non-Chlorinated Carb Cleaner: Gunk M4815NC
- How to Buy the Best Carburetor Cleaners
- How to Clean a Carburetor (Step by Step Guide)