Best Carburetor Cleaner

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If you drive a classic car, dirt, grime, and other contaminants are likely sitting inside your carburetor. What is the best carburetor cleaner you can buy?

The best carburetor cleaners for classic cars are as follows.

  • Gumout Car and Choke Cleaner
  • Berkebile Oil 2 + 2
  • WD - 40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body Cleaner
  • 3M Throttle Plate and Carb Cleaner
  • CRC Carb and Choke Cleaner

Let’s face it. One of the essential components of any classic car and its performance is the carburetor. Designed to control the amount of fuel and air that get drawn into your engine, the carburetor plays a vital role in the engine’s performance. Dirt and impurities can often find their way onto the surface of the metal and build up over time, affecting the fuel/air mixture that each chamber depends on to ignite when the spark plug fires. Regular maintenance on a carb cleaner can keep the carb surfaces clean and ensure that any classic car purrs like a kitten every time the key is turned. As a classic car lover, I wanted to offer some of the best carburetor cleaners on the market.

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What are the Best Carburetor Cleaners?

When headed to the store, the first thing anyone notices is how many different brands of carb cleaners there are. While some of the compounds used are better than others, here’s a list of the best and easiest to use.

Gumout Carb and Choke Cleaner

This no-hassle carb cleaner is a spray-on that eats through even the most challenging deposits. The cleaner is the number one carb cleaner on Amazon and has many reviews using the cleaner for other uses, like cleaning the choke of lawnmowers and fire pit pilot lights. Caution should be taken when using the product as the smell can be overpowering, and users should avoid contact with the skin, if possible.

ITW Global Brands owns Gumout (Illinois Tool Works) and manufactures products like Rain-X, Blue Magic, Fix-a-Flat, Slick 50, and Fast Orange, among others. The company is based out of Houston, and Gumout is made in the USA.

Price

See the manufacturer’s website or check out Today’s Price on Amazon for more information.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Cheap Solutions - $10 bucks a can or $23.04 (6 - pack).
  • Great chemical compound - effective at eating grime
  • USA made

Cons

  • Smells awful
  • Avoid skin contact

Berkebile Oil 2 + 2 B101 Instant Gum Cutter

This highly concentrated spray cleaner works very efficiently to remove deposit buildup. It has a 4.7 rating on Amazon and is one of the top sellers. The compound is concentrated, so it uses less than competitors. This cleaner can be used for many modern engine applications.

Berkebile Oil Company produces Berkebile 2+2 out of Pennsylvania. The company has been making oil-based products since the mid-50s and launched the carb cleaner in 1967. While the company is not very big, like its competitors, it more than holds its own regarding the quality of its products. Currently, they produce over 50 different car maintenance products and ship to over 25 countries.

Price

See the manufacturer’s website or check out Today’s Price on Amazon for more information.

Pros

  • Uses Less - very concentrated
  • Cheap Solutions - $10 a can.
  • Small Company - Great customer service
  • USA made

Cons

  • Have Chemicals not allowed in CA
  • Will remove paint

WD-40 Carb/Throttle Body Cleaner

This cleaner produces excellent results on a carburetor, throttle body, and other metal components. It has a 4.7 rating on Amazon and comes from the WD-40 line of products. The compound works quickly, usually a spray on and wipe off, and it is applicable for modern applications as it is oxygen sensor safe.

WD-40 is a small company with global outreach. Known for the chemical spray that inhibits rust, they also make automotive maintenance products. The company has been in business since 1954 and is headquartered in San Diego. This compound is designed to clean dirt and grime off of older model carburetors.

Price

See the manufacturer's website or check out Today’s Price on Amazon.

Pros

  • Very Recognizable
  • Variety of Uses
  • High Rating on Amazon

Cons

  • Smells chemical - avoid contact with skin

3M Throttle Plate and Carb Cleaner

3M is known for making adhesive products, like tape and the like, but they also make a variety of automotive sprays (their Scotch guard has been around for years). This product has a 4.6 rating on Amazon and is a popular option for older vehicles.

The company started as a small mining effort in Minnesota and has grown into the Fortune 500 company it is today over the last hundred years. There are currently 60,000 different 3M products in use around the world. The headquarters are located in Maplewood, Minn.

Price

See the manufacturer’s website or check out Today’s Price on Amazon.

Pros

  • Made by a Large Company
  • Well Marketed
  • Very concentrated formula
  • Use on various applications

Cons

  • Commercial Use only - not for sale on personal use application
  • Smells chemically

CRC Carb and Choke Cleaner

This green can have a low VOC (volatile organic compound), which means it meets CA standards. It is effective against grime, dust, and carbon and can be used on unpainted surfaces.

CRC (Corrosion Reaction Consultants) is headquartered in Warminster, Penn. it started in 1958 with one product and has now grown to produce over 1,700 different lubricants, additives, and sprays for lots of different industries, including automotive. Like Gumout, these folks have patented several formulas and offer their products under many different company names, like CRC, Ambersil, K&W, and Stay-Lube.

Price

See the manufacturer’s website or check out Today’s Price on Amazon.

Pros

  • A lot of different products for automotive use
  • VOC compliant - can use in CA
  • American made

Cons

  • Not suited for rubber or plastic
  • No straw included for targeted spray

What are the Benefits of Using a Carburetor Cleaner?

When used on a classic car, there are many benefits to keeping a carburetor clean.

Correct Air - Fuel Mixture

The primary purpose of the carb is to send the correct mixture of air and fuel into the chambers of the engine. As a result of this constant barrage of fuel and air (both of which contain impurities), the inside of the carb can have grime and deposit buildup. These impurities stick to the surfaces of the carb and, over time, can affect the car’s ability to draw in the right mixture of air and fuel. A carb cleaner solution can remove the dirt and grime that may hinder a clean and properly working carburetor from doing what it needs. Namely, ensuring that the engine runs efficiently and well enough to provide the maximum power to turn the wheels.

Prevents Having to Remove a Critical Piece

The Cleaner comes in a spray, which often means that an owner does not have to remove the carburetor for cleaning. The spray can be applied, allowing time to eat through the grime without disassembling and reattaching a critical piece of equipment on the car.

Saves Time and Energy

Since most carb cleaners are spray-on solutions, the application is straightforward. Just point the can toward the carb and spray. The solution will quickly eat through the dirt and provide a simple fix to remove dirt and buildup.

Saves Money

Many carbs do not have to be rebuilt but need a good cleaning. If the car has been sitting for a while, dirt and dust interfere with the correct operation of the carburetor. A carb cleaner can remove those deposits. Most retail outlets offer good cleaners for around $20 per can, which is significantly less than having to pay for a kit to rebuild a carburetor (which also takes a lot longer).

About THE AUTHOR

Matt Lane

Matt Lane

My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.

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