Can You Use WD40 To Clean a Carburetor?

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor?

Okay, so you’ve found out that your chainsaw’s carburetor is clogged with dirt but can you use WD40 to clean a carburetor as you don’t have a carb cleaner? This is one of the most common questions that people ask us. But before answering this, let’s discover the differences between carb cleaners and the WD40.  

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​

Carburetor cleaners are made mainly for cleaning carburetors. Carburetors are part of engines that are responsible for mixing air and fuel so that these could be efficiently burned up in the combustion chamber and make the crankshaft turn and move the piston in a streamlined cycle. Simply, the job of the carburetor is to balance the ratio of the gas and air so that the process of combustion would be efficient. Carburetors are common on tools with small engines like motorcycles, chainsaws and lawnmowers. They used to be equipped on old car models but were now replaced by the more modern fuel-injected systems which can provide a more precise mixture of air and fuel.  

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor

Moreover, because gasoline can get sticky over time, the carburetor can also develop dirt inside like varnish, not to mention residues coming from outside the carburetor that can seep through the screws and joints. In this scenario, rust and debris can also develop in between the crannies and holes on the carburetor. Carburetors have small parts and holes that when gunk get stuck inside them, there’s no way to clean it out but to flush it out using pressurized cleaning liquid and this is where the carb cleaners can do wonders. 

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor

Carb cleaners are formulated with aggressive chemicals that can dilute and dissolve carbon build-up and debris that clog up the inside of the carburetors. But how about if you run out of a carb cleaner? Would a WD40 work? 

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​

WD40 is an all-around petroleum-based spray liquid particularly designed to dissolve rust and protect metals from rusting and corrosion and covering it with a thin coat of oil. And though it was not made as a replacement for lubricating oil, its ability to penetrate joints and lubricate it is most helpful especially in freeing up stocked-up metal parts that have developed rust and sediments. So can you use WD40 to clean a carburetor? The answer is yes If you need a quick fix and you’re without a carb cleaner.

What WD40 Can Do in Cleaning a Carburetor

Not many people know that certain types of WD40 are made to specifically clean up carburetors with their powerful cleaning actions. A good example is the WD40 SPECIALIST CARB/THROTTLE BODY AND PARTS CLEANER.  This product has a detachable precision straw that you can use to reach and clean hard-to-reach parts of your carburetor. It is also very efficient in cleaning the throttle body and other unpainted parts of your vehicle or any small engine with carburetors. Packed with dual-acting cleaning formulation, this type of WD40 has powerful solvents that can break up hard and tough carbon deposits. 

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​

The most reliable potential of these products is their very powerful spray cleaning actions that can blast deposits and clear away holes and inlets while it leaves no residues on the internal parts of the carburetor. So the result is fast starting and easy pulling of rope for the chainsaws, lawnmowers and weed trimmers or any machine equipped with carburetors. It can also be used even for old vehicles including tractors, motorcycles, cars, grass cutters and won’t affect sensors or digital systems of high-tech units even upon contact.  

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​

So can you use WD40 to clean a carburetor? Certainly yes especially with this specific type of product. If we are going to compare WD40 to other cleaners such as brake cleaners and starting fluid, we can say that the WD40 is the safest. Yes, it can leave a bit of oil in the carburetor but this can easily burn up once ignited in the cylinder. Same with the carb cleaners that also leave out some oily substance on the carburetors, the WD40s for carb cleaning are safe to use and they can also be used for multiple lubricating and cleaning purposes. 

Since we have mentioned the starting fluid and brake cleaners which some people suggest can also be used as replacements for cleaning up carburetors, we will also discuss and clarify if these can be of safe use for carburetors as cleaners.  

Can You Clean a Carburetor With Brake Cleaner?

Okay, now that we’re done discussing can you use WD40 to clean a carburetor, how about answering the question that too many people are also asking – Can you clean a carburetor with brake cleaner? So what’s a brake cleaner and how does it differs from a carb cleaner? 

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​-7

A brake cleaner, as its name suggests, is a colorless cleaning agent for cleaning brake disks of vehicles as well as engine compartments and under the motor of vehicles. It can eliminate oil and grease which is an important aspect when cleaning the brake system of any vehicle. Once the brake cleaner is applied, its solvents will leave no trace which makes this element an important cleaner for motor parts that must not have contaminants after cleaning. So going back to the question – Can you clean a carburetor with a brake cleaner? The answer is yes.

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​

Some people use brake cleaners because accordingly, these can be as effective as the carburetor cleaners as they are also formulated with elements that can dissolve grime and grease buildup. So for most guys who don’t have carb cleaners but have brake cleaners, they tend to use the latter even if sometimes they do have WD40. Accordingly, this is very safe for use on any type of carburetor and can also clean out clogged-up holes and joints because of its pressurized liquid gas. However, many experts warn about the use of brake cleaners on carburetors. Why? 

Can Brake Cleaner Be Used to Clean a Carburetor?

Break cleaners are designed to clean only metal parts so their components can be a bit more aggressive than the elements contained in the carb cleaners. So while break cleaners can eliminate oil, they can also damage rubber and plastic materials. 

Carburetors have small plastic nozzles or jets that when these get damaged or warped could ruin up the carburetor’s functions. Break cleaners can also eliminate oil which is necessary for the normal functioning of the carburetors and which most of the carb cleaners are formulated with to protect and lubricate the carburetor’s small parts. So with the brake cleaners, every-non metal it touches could get affected.   

Brake fluid

Carb cleaners are made to clean carbs equipped with plastic jets and they don’t wash away oils which is needed in maintaining the natural cycle of mixing air and fuel for efficient combustion. Yes, it can disintegrate varnish which is the by-product of gas but it won’t harm the plastic jets of the carburetors. So if we have to answer the question, can brake cleaner be used to clean a carburetor, the answer is still yes but not recommended.      

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​

Now, this goes to say that if you should not use a brake cleaner in cleaning out carburetors, the same goes with the precaution of not using carb cleaners on brake systems. Again, why? Because carb cleaners, as we mentioned, do not dissolve oily substances but only dirt and grime so any oil residue in the braking system of any vehicle could yield an unnecessary result.  

How about starting fluid?

Can You Use Starting Fluid to Clean a Carburetor

We’ve done some research to find the answer to the question people are always curious about – can you use starting fluid to clean a carburetor. Well, to begin with, carb cleaners can be used as a replacement for starting fluid when you’re out of starting fluid to start an engine.  Carb cleaners, because they generally are available in aerosol form and contain propane and ethyls, can clean out the ignition system and can help ignite starters thus can be of use when starting engines.  

Starting Fluid

Since carb cleaners, although contain a small amount of propane and other gas which are not highly flammable, the starting fluids contain ether which is known to be a  highly flammable organic solvent. With this, we could suggest that if you want to use starting fluid in cleaning up your carburetors, you have to be very careful and let the liquid dries out before starting your engines. Yes, if it works with other people, then this could also work for you. But remember that there’s always the risk of using other products that are intended for use only on certain parts of our machines.   

Starting fluid

On the other hand, there are now the highly-advanced starting fluid products that are in today’s market and which according to manufacturers can be used as sprays to carburetors when engines experience hard starting especially during the cold weather. In this case, these products can clean out clogs and  will not harm plastic and metal parts of the carburetor though these should not be the permanent solutions for cleaning up carburetors because as we have mentioned, they can also contain some highly flammable gases.

Some experts also suggest that if you have to spray starting fluid into the carburetor, it should be on the carburetor bore or into the hole of the spark plug to allow fuel to go to the combustion cylinder quickly. 

Can You Clean a Carburetor With Gas

Some of us, as the last option, if we ran out of carb cleaners tend to use gas in soaking up parts of the carburetors after disassembling them. But is this method effective? In this part of the article we shall answer the most usual question about the use of gas – can you clean a carburetor with gas. 

Is gas okay

Usually, the carburetor goes bad due to gunk and gums that have developed over time from the gas itself. Old gasoline in the tank can also contribute to the malfunctions of the carburetors. And this is why we sometimes need to drain all the gas from the vehicle’s tank when you have not used your machine for a long time and then start cleaning out the carburetor. However, if you don’t have a carb cleaner, can we suggest using gasoline in cleaning out the carburetor? 

If we think about it, there’s no harm in using gas to clean carburetors since carburetors are designed to take in gas all along. Nevertheless, you cannot use gas alone in cleaning up a carburetor while it’s attached to the engine so you have to detach and disassemble it and brush the parts using a soft brush and gasoline. 

On the one hand, if you don’t want to detach the carburetor from its socket, experts recommend that you can add additive to be mixed up with gasoline usually at a 1:2 ratio (1 part additive to 2 parts gasoline) and there are many products in the market for this purpose. The direction in using these additives is to let it stand inside the tank with the gas for 12 hours or more so that the dirt inside the tank will disintegrate and dissolve including the stocked up dirt in the carburetor. 

After 12 hours or more, you must drain the gasoline from the tank along with the additives as well as the stocked gas in the carburetor.     

Can You Use WD40 To Clean A Carburetor​

Therefore, the best answer to the question can you clean a carburetor with gas, our answer is yes but you need to disassemble it and brush the parts if you only intend to use gas. If you don’t want to disassemble, consider finding an additive. Yet, when you disassemble a carburetor, you must also check on its movable parts like the idling jet, main jet, and float if these are moving on their spots accordingly. Most of the time, these parts are the causes of frequent clogging in your carburetor’s system as they can get stuck up. 


So for those who are curious and asking can you use wd40 to clean a carburetor, may this article satisfies your curiosity. And how about those who are asking can you clean a carburetor with brake cleaner and can you use starting fluid to clean a carburetor, we hope have also answered your questions completely. 

Hence, if you are still in doubt on which to use, better to stick with carburetor cleaners and stock up on them especially if you have some machines with carburetors. Carburetors are not very expensive though so if your machine always has a problem with this part, better replace it with a new one and buying online takes out the hassle of having a new carb. 


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