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Lawn Mower Carburetor Cleaning Tools

By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2019/11/11 at 11:09 am

All carburetors will need love at some point. A lawnmower is simple, but the carburetor is a precision piece of kit. They won’t tolerate dirt or blocked passageways. Some carburetors are more prone to clogging than others.

Honda carburetors don’t like dirt, and neither do the Briggs & Stratton new type plastic carburetors. Symptoms of dirty carburetors vary; common symptoms include:

  • Surging engine
  • Engine won’t start
  • Starts but stops
  • Dies when cutting
  • Will only run on choke
  • Black smoke from muffler
  • Struggles to cut
  • Dies when blades engaged
  • Dies when cutting a hill

Carburetor Gumming

Most carburetors can be cleaned with good success, but sometimes cleaning won’t fix the problem completely. If you need video help, check out the “Carburetor cleaning video” here.

Gumming is a common problem; the mower gets put away for the winter with untreated gas in the fuel system. (I’m guilty too) Over the winter months, the gas evaporates and leaves behind some nasty chemicals that damage your fueling system.

Of course, you only learn of the when you try to start it in the spring; it’s a dead duck. Sometimes you can clean them successfully, but often it’s just too badly gummed up.

Corrosion is another killer, moisture in the untreated gas can attack the metal components, and rust in a carb will torment you; just go ahead and replace it; carburetors aren’t too expensive.

Most importantly of all get some gas stabilizer into your gas tank, you can use it all season, but you really only need to use it when storing. It works in all gas engines, including two cycles, but it’s not a replacement for the oil mix.

Anyhow, I use a product called Sta-Bil; it’s good stuff and does the job – when I can remember to use it. On this page, I have listed the tools and products you’ll likely need to help you clean and replace your carburetor; I’ll explain what the tools are and why you’ll need them.

Some of the pictures on this page link to and Troy-Bilt, where you can check the price and delivery of products. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Tool Set

Before we can do anything, we’ll need tools. I’ve selected this set as I own some Craftsman tools, and while I have broken them, they did do a lot of work. So I expect this set will last the occasional user quite a long time. This set carries both metric and standard sockets, and that’s important because some mowers will have both types of fastener sizes. Picture links to


Mix this with the gas when winterizing your small engine. Gas isn’t what it used to be; it goes stale, in some cases, after just one month. Bad gas causes gumming, and that’s a carburetor killer. A stabilizer will save you money and stress in the long run. Picture links to

Carburetor Cleaner

When cleaning your carburetor you’ll need this stuff. Gumming is a sticky substance that’s hard to shift. The carb cleaner will remove it; however, if your carb is really bad, save yourself some work, go ahead and buy a new carburetor. Picture links to

Oil Extractor

You’ll find this tool really useful if you need to drain the gas tank, and you will if the gas is stale. The siphon will remove it without fuss or mess, and it can be used for extracting the oil too. Picture links to

Fuel Line Clamp

Some small engines will have a gas tap, which is really handy when removing the carburetor, and stops gas flowing all over the shop. However, most engines won’t have one; these useful clamps simply squeeze the fuel line and prevent a spill while you perform surgery. Picture links to

Carburetor Cleaners

You’ll find these nylon brushes super useful when it comes time to clean those tiny passageways of the carburetor and jet. Use these in conjunction with the WD Carb cleaner. Picture links to

Spark Plug Gapper

This tool isn’t strictly necessary if you have a feeler gauge, but it’s a lot easier to handle. If you haven’t guessed, you use this tool to check the gap in your spark plug, a simple effective tool. Picture links to