How to Clean a Carburetor on a Craftsman Lawn Mower?

The frustration is palpable. You pull the starter cord on your trusty Craftsman lawn mower, but it sputters and coughs, refusing to roar to life. The familiar scent of freshly cut grass is replaced by the bitter taste of defeat. You suspect the culprit: a clogged carburetor. This article will guide you through the process of cleaning your Craftsman lawn mower carburetor, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to get your mower humming like a well-oiled machine again. We’ll cover everything from identifying the carburetor to the intricate cleaning process, leaving you with a working mower and a renewed sense of lawn-mowing mastery.

A Brief Overview

A clogged carburetor is a common problem with lawn mowers, especially if they haven’t been used in a while or if they’ve been exposed to dirt and debris. The carburetor is responsible for mixing air and fuel in the correct ratio for your engine to run smoothly. When it becomes clogged, the mixture is off, leading to poor performance or a complete stall. Cleaning the carburetor involves removing it from the mower, disassembling it, soaking the parts in a cleaning solution, and reassembling it.

Identifying the Carburetor

The first step is to locate the carburetor on your Craftsman lawn mower. It’s typically found near the engine, often attached to the air filter housing. Here’s how to identify it:

  • Look for a metal or plastic housing: The carburetor is usually housed in a metal or plastic casing, often with a rectangular or oval shape.
  • Identify the fuel lines: The carburetor will have fuel lines connected to it, carrying fuel from the tank.
  • Locate the air intake: The carburetor will have an air intake, which is usually a round opening with a filter attached.

Once you’ve located the carburetor, you can begin the cleaning process.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you dive in, make sure you have the following tools and materials:

  • Screwdrivers: You’ll need both Phillips head and flathead screwdrivers to remove the carburetor from the mower and disassemble it.
  • Carburetor cleaning kit: These kits usually include a cleaning solution, a small brush, and a bowl for soaking the parts.
  • Protective gear: Gloves, eye protection, and a mask are essential to protect yourself from the cleaning solution and any fumes.
  • A clean workspace: A workbench or table will provide a clean and organized space for disassembly and reassembly.

Disassembly and Cleaning

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to dismantle the carburetor:

  1. Disconnect the fuel line: Carefully disconnect the fuel line from the carburetor. Use a fuel line disconnect tool or pliers to gently separate the line.
  2. Remove the carburetor: Use your screwdrivers to remove the carburetor from the mower. The mounting bolts may be located on the sides or bottom of the carburetor.
  3. Disassemble the carburetor: Once the carburetor is removed, use your screwdrivers to take it apart. Be careful not to lose any small parts!
  4. Soak the parts: Place all the carburetor parts in the cleaning solution provided in your carburetor cleaning kit. Allow them to soak for the recommended time, usually 30-60 minutes.
  5. Clean the parts: Use the brush provided in your kit to scrub away any remaining dirt or debris. Be sure to clean the jets, passages, and other small openings thoroughly.
  6. Rinse and dry: After cleaning, rinse all the parts with water to remove any cleaning solution residue. Allow the parts to air dry completely.

Reassembly and Testing

With your cleaned carburetor parts ready, it’s time to put everything back together:

  1. Reassemble the carburetor: Carefully reassemble the carburetor, ensuring that all parts are in their correct positions.
  2. Reconnect the fuel line: Connect the fuel line back to the carburetor, ensuring a tight fit.
  3. Install the carburetor: Carefully install the carburetor back onto the mower, using the screws you removed earlier.
  4. Test the engine: Start the engine and observe its operation. If it starts and runs smoothly, you’ve successfully cleaned your carburetor. If it still isn’t running properly, there may be another issue, and you may need to troubleshoot further.


If your lawn mower still isn’t running well after cleaning the carburetor, here are some possible issues to consider:

Fuel System Issues

  • Fuel tank blockage: Check the fuel tank for any clogs or debris that might be obstructing fuel flow.
  • Fuel filter blockage: The fuel filter can become clogged and restrict fuel flow to the carburetor.
  • Fuel line damage: Inspect the fuel line for any cracks, kinks, or leaks.

Ignition System Issues

  • Spark plug failure: A faulty spark plug can prevent the engine from igniting the fuel-air mixture.
  • Ignition coil malfunction: The ignition coil is responsible for providing the spark to the spark plug. If it’s faulty, the engine won’t start.

Other Possible Issues

  • Air filter blockage: A clogged air filter can restrict airflow to the carburetor, affecting the fuel-air mixture.
  • Engine compression: Low engine compression can prevent the engine from running properly.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Carburetor

To prevent your carburetor from becoming clogged in the future, follow these tips:

  • Use fresh fuel: Always use fresh gasoline in your lawn mower. Old gasoline can gum up the carburetor and other engine parts.
  • Store your mower properly: When not in use, store your mower in a dry, clean place.
  • Change the fuel filter regularly: Replace the fuel filter every 12 months or 50 hours of operation, whichever comes first.
  • Run the mower regularly: Running your lawn mower regularly helps to keep the fuel system clean and prevent fuel from going stale.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning a carburetor on your Craftsman lawn mower can seem daunting, but with the right tools, a little patience, and this guide, you can tackle this task with confidence. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure your mower runs smoothly and efficiently, enabling you to conquer your lawn with ease. Remember, a clean carburetor is essential for a healthy and powerful mower. And don’t forget to perform routine maintenance to keep your carburetor clean and prevent future issues.


What tools will I need to clean my Craftsman lawnmower carburetor?

You will need a few basic tools to clean your Craftsman lawnmower carburetor. These include a screwdriver set, a small brush, a carburetor cleaning kit, a bowl or container for soaking the carburetor parts, and some clean rags. The cleaning kit will typically include a spray cleaner, a small brush, and some o-rings. It’s important to have all the necessary tools before you start the cleaning process.

How do I remove the carburetor from my Craftsman lawnmower?

To remove the carburetor, you will need to first disconnect the fuel line and the choke cable. Then, use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the carburetor mounting bolts. Once the bolts are removed, you can gently pull the carburetor away from the engine. Be careful not to damage any of the connections or parts while removing the carburetor.

What is the best way to clean the carburetor parts?

Once you have removed the carburetor, you can begin cleaning the individual parts. Start by soaking the carburetor parts in carburetor cleaner for several minutes. Then, use a small brush to scrub away any dirt, grime, or debris. Be sure to clean all the small jets and passages. If you find any dirt that is difficult to remove, you can use a small pick to clean it out.

What should I do after cleaning the carburetor parts?

After cleaning the carburetor parts, it’s important to make sure that they are completely dry. You can dry them with a clean cloth or allow them to air dry. Once the parts are dry, you can reassemble the carburetor and reinstall it on the engine.

Should I replace any parts during the cleaning process?

If you notice any damaged or worn-out parts during the cleaning process, you should replace them. This will help to ensure that your carburetor is functioning properly. Some common parts that may need to be replaced include the float, the needle valve, and the gaskets.

What should I do after reinstalling the carburetor?

Once you have reinstalled the carburetor, you should test the engine to make sure it is running smoothly. Start the engine and allow it to warm up for a few minutes. Then, check the engine speed and make sure it is idling properly. If the engine is running rough or if it is not idling properly, you may need to adjust the carburetor settings.

How often should I clean my Craftsman lawnmower carburetor?

It is a good idea to clean your Craftsman lawnmower carburetor every season, or more frequently if you use the mower often. Regular cleaning will help to prevent problems with the carburetor and ensure that your mower is running smoothly. If you notice any problems with your mower’s performance, such as difficulty starting or stalling, it may be a sign that the carburetor needs cleaning.

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