Lawn mowers are such great help… until they stop working. A properly running mower one week can become non-responsive the next. What will you do then?
There are several reasons as to why a lawn mower would randomly stop working. The spark plug may be old, or the gas tank may be empty. The starter might not be working correctly. And unless you have a cordless lawn mower, carburetor problems may also be the culprit.
What is a carburetor?
Carburetors, sometimes called “carb” for short, is a device that mixes air and fuel together. Carburetors are directly attached to the engine’s internal combustion chamber where the air and fuel mixture burns. They used to be a staple on automobiles until the 1980s but have since been replaced by the fuel injection system. Smaller engines, such as the one attached on lawn mowers, still utilize a carburetor.
The carburetor’s direct relation with fuel is the exact reason why cordless lawn mowers don’t have this device. There’s no fuel to burn, so there’s no need for a carburetor. But if you’re one of the millions of lawn mower owners who still have a gas-fueled one, keep reading.
Why do carburetors need cleaning?
Regular carburetor cleaning should only be done once a year, but you should never skip it. Because it relies on air suction to take air in, some debris can make its way inside the device. The constant flow of fuel, air, and debris can cause some gunky buildup when not removed. As a result, the carburetor gets “blocked” and can’t take in any air. If there’s no air, there’s no combustion, and the engine can’t start.
Though the carburetor situation may sound scary, don’t let it scare you too much. As long as you keep up with the regular cleaning, your carburetor will serve you well throughout its lifespan.
How do you clean a carburetor?
Cleaning a carburetor usually involves you taking apart the mower’s engine. If you’re not savvy with engines, this might be somewhat scary considering the amount of work required and its location. The easier option would be to bring the mower to a shop that specializes in such, but this could get expensive. Why spend the money when you can do it yourself?
Thankfully, there’s a way to clean a lawn mower carburetor without having to remove it at all. You will need a screwdriver, a carburetor cleaner spray, and some time.
Getting to the carburetor
To safely access the carburetor, make sure your lawn mower is completely powered off, and the engine is cooled down. The ideal time to do this is before a mowing session. Proceed in removing the engine cover.
Next, you want to locate where the air filter is. Find it, and you’ll find the carburetor attached to it; after all, the filter ensures that the engine gets clean air. Use your screwdriver to remove the air filter and expose the carburetor.
Ready the spray
This where the fun begins. Usually, you’d have to remove the bolts that secure the carburetor in place. Then you’d have to disconnect it from the fuel line before removing more parts to clean. If you’re a beginner at this process, the dismantling process can seem intimidating.
But not this time. We’re keeping the carburetor in place, saving us a bit of time later when we have to put everything back together. Remove the carburetor cover and linkage to expose the interior.
Let the exposed carburetor dry up inside, and then start your mower’s engine. Once the engine is running, start spraying around the inside of the carburetor. The idea is to let the cleaner penetrate all areas by allowing the carburetor to move it around.
Let the cleaner move around more before shutting off the engine again. Then, locate your carburetor’s lower plate. There is likely to be some oil and dirt deposit there, so carefully remove them. Afterwards, spray the base of the carburetor throat to remove any grime there. Make sure you’re doing this while the engine is not running.
Once you have everything sprayed down, go ahead and put back everything. Put the carburetor cover back, then reattach the air filter before putting the engine cover again.
Congratulations! You’ve just successfully cleaned your carburetor without removing it. By devoting some time and patience with this process instead of going to a shop, you saved yourself some money.
Though you still have to do a deep clean on your lawn mower’s carburetor eventually, you won’t be able to escape its removal completely. As long as your faithfully spray it down at least once a year, you can avoid having to remove the carburetor for frequent cleaning.