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Conquering Clogged Carbs: A Guide to Cleaning Your Push Mower Carburetor

How to Clean a Push Mower Carburetor - Lawn Arena

A well-maintained push mower is essential for a beautiful lawn. But over time, the carburetor, a vital part of the engine's fuel system, can become clogged with debris and gum buildup. This can lead to starting problems, uneven engine performance, and excessive fuel consumption. Fortunately, with a little patience and the right tools, you can tackle cleaning your push mower carburetor yourself.

Understanding the Carburetor's Role:

The carburetor is responsible for mixing air and fuel in the correct proportions for optimal engine combustion. A clean carburetor ensures a smooth flow of this air-fuel mixture, resulting in efficient engine performance.

Signs of a Dirty Carburetor:

  • Engine Difficulty Starting: A clogged carburetor can prevent the engine from getting the proper fuel mixture to start.
  • Uneven Engine Performance: A dirty carburetor can lead to engine sputtering, surging, or hesitating during operation.
  • Increased Fuel Consumption: A clogged carburetor can cause the engine to run rich, meaning it's using more fuel than necessary.

Before You Begin:

  • Safety First: Always wear safety glasses and gloves when working on your mower. Working with gasoline requires caution. Ensure you're in a well-ventilated area away from open flames or sparks.
  • Gather Your Tools: You'll need a set of wrenches, screwdrivers, a socket wrench set (optional), a container for drained fuel, carburetor cleaner, compressed air (optional), a small brush, and a clean rag.
  • Consult Your Owner's Manual: Your owner's manual is a valuable resource. It will provide specific disassembly instructions and parts diagrams for your particular mower model.

Carburetor Cleaning Steps (General Guidelines):

  1. Drain the Fuel: Locate the fuel drain screw on your carburetor and drain the fuel into a suitable container.

  2. Disconnect the Spark Plug Wire: Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug to prevent accidental starting.

  3. Disconnect the Linkage and Lines: Carefully detach any linkages, throttle cables, and fuel lines connected to the carburetor according to your owner's manual.

  4. Remove the Carburetor: Using your wrenches and screwdrivers, remove the mounting bolts holding the carburetor in place. Carefully remove the carburetor, taking note of the position of any gaskets or springs for proper reassembly.

  5. Disassemble the Carburetor: Following your owner's manual, carefully disassemble the carburetor into its major components (float bowl, main jet, pilot jet, etc.). Be mindful of small parts and springs that might come loose.

  6. Cleaning the Components: Spray carburetor cleaner on the disassembled carburetor parts, allowing it to loosen any debris or deposits. Use a small brush to gently clean any clogged passages or jets. Do not use wires or hard tools to poke through jets, as this can damage them.

  7. Compressed Air (Optional): If available, use compressed air to blow out any remaining debris from the carburetor passages and jets.

  8. Reassemble the Carburetor: Carefully reassemble the carburetor components, paying close attention to the order and proper placement of parts. Refer to your owner's manual for guidance.

  9. Reattach the Carburetor: Reinstall the carburetor onto the engine, reattaching all linkages, throttle cables, and fuel lines according to your owner's manual instructions.

  10. Reconnect the Spark Plug Wire: Reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug.

  11. Replace Gaskets (if necessary): If you notice any damaged gaskets during disassembly, replace them with new ones before reassembly.

  12. Refill the Fuel Tank and Check for Leaks: Refill the fuel tank with fresh fuel and start the mower. Check for any leaks around the carburetor and fuel lines.

Important Considerations:

  • Complexity of Carburetors: Carburetor designs can vary between mower models. If your carburetor appears overly complex or you're unsure about any steps, consider consulting a qualified small engine repair mechanic.

  • Replacement Parts: If during cleaning you discover any severely damaged carburetor parts, it might be more cost-effective to replace the entire carburetor than attempt repairs.


Cleaning a push mower carburetor can be a rewarding DIY project, saving you money on professional service calls. However, it's important to approach the task with caution and follow the proper steps for your specific mower model. If you're unsure about any part of the process, don't hesitate to seek help from a qualified mechanic. Remember, preventative maintenance, such as using fresh fuel and regularly cleaning the air filter, can help prevent carburetor

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