How to paint a carburetor

Written by rich bergeron
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How to paint a carburetor
A nice paint job on a carburettor is often the first thing people notice on the engine of a classic car or motorcycle. (Motor - Hot Rod image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

Painting a carburettor involves some careful steps to ensure proper adhesion, durability and look of the final product. For some classic and vintage car owners, it is also essential to refinish the vehicle to exact specifications or use as close to original materials whenever possible. Take care to prepare the surface of the carburettor and use the right materials to paint it, and your carburettor could look as good as new when you complete the paint job.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wire brush
  • Steel wool sponge
  • Fine sandpaper, 220 grit or finer
  • Carburettor cleaner
  • Shop vacuum
  • Rag
  • Painter's tape
  • Carburettor primer
  • 2 angled horsehair brushes, 1-inch
  • Black, chrome or silver oxide paint

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  1. 1

    Clean and prepare the surface of the carburettor. For rust and corrosion issues, use the wire brush, sponge and sandpaper to loosen any flakes and bring the metal back to the bare, smooth surface. The edges between the painted area and the bare metal should be hard to distinguish when you run a bare hand over the area. Apply a little dab of carburettor cleaner to the steel wool sponge, and wipe the surface in tight circles. Clean up any dust and debris with a shop vacuum, and wipe the carburettor one last time with carburettor cleaner and a clean rag.

  2. 2

    Tape all areas of the carburettor that you do not want paint on or in. The painter's tape should be carefully applied so it does not cover any area that needs paint. Open your carburettor primer can, and use one of the angle brushes to apply the primer to all rusted and bare spots. Primer should be applied anywhere the existing finish has been scuffed. Let the primer dry.

  3. 3

    Open the can of paint. Be sure you've chosen an oxide paint that is heat resistant and approved for use on carburettors. The most common carburettor colours are black, chrome and silver. Using your other angle brush, paint the surface with an even coat, leaving no streaks, drips or runs. Use quick, light strokes to get the best results. Let this coat dry, and inspect the results. If necessary, apply another light coat or touch up areas before you remove the tape.

Tips and warnings

  • If possible, paint your carburettor before you install it to avoid dripping paint on other parts of the engine. If you are comfortable removing the carburettor, take it out, paint it and reinstall it.
  • Collectors of classic and original muscle cars might want to research their carburettor brand to ensure authenticity of the original design.
  • Paint fumes can be toxic. Always wear a mask or work in a ventilated area while painting your carburettor.

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