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Blog | Anderson Ford Motorsport

Symptoms of a Failing Carburetor


At Anderson Ford Motorsport, we know carburetors. Their importance is understated in ‘average Joe’ driving situations, but when it comes to high-speed racing, their value in added performance increases tenfold.

Today’s more modern car models don’t always have carburetors, except in the motorsport scene. The carburetor’s primary job is to blend fuel and air — two of the most critical components in combustion — into a mixture that the engine can easily utilize. A great fuel-air mix results in top-notch performance. And when the carburetor fails to do its job properly, the vehicle’s drivability may be affected. Here’s how to know if your carburetor needs repair, cleaning, or even replacement.

Poor Performance

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way — a bad carburetor means the increased likelihood of engine misfires. The car may seem like it’s “sneezing” because the engine can’t get the right fuel-air mixture into the combustion chamber.

Black Smoke

The most important job of a carburetor is to ensure that the engine receives an equal balance of fuel and air. Unusually black smoke means that the mixture is using too much fuel. While this doesn’t directly (and immediately) impact performance, it means terrible fuel efficiency in the long run.

A “Lean” Running Condition

Carburetors can get clogged with a variety of contaminants over time, including gunk from two-stroke oil, ethanol oil, and even varnish. Clogs cause the engine to receive inadequate fuel. Symptoms like overheating and backfiring are indicative of a so-called “lean” running condition. It means that the carburetor is likely “choked.”

Hard Starts

Cold starts are tough to pull off for an engine. There has to be a great air-fuel ratio to be successful. Any imbalance in this ratio causes hard starting: another indication of carburetor troubles. And the hard starts can even vary. Sometimes, the engine works better as it warms up, but not always. Either way, the carburetor needs urgent checking.

Don’t let carburetor problems stall you. If you deem a replacement or repair necessary, contact us today at Anderson Ford Motorsport so you can go back to your high-speed life. 

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