Signs that your car's carburetor has gone bad

Written by john walker
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Signs that your car's carburetor has gone bad
The carburettor sits directly below the air filter housing on top of the engine. (American v8 engine image by kenmo from

The carburettor mixes air and fuel in the proper proportions before exposing the mixture to a spark inside of an internal combustion engine. The carburettor makes up one aspect of the fuel and intake systems and does malfunction on occasion. Diagnosing a fuel or intake issue requires you to pay attention to the different signs that your vehicle has an issue. These signs and symptoms indicate a carburettor may have gone bad.

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Issues with Starting

The engine cranks but will not start, or dies immediately. The engine starts fine, but at the first sign of low rpms, the engine dies (even if it runs fine after that). A lot of black smoke after starting the engine indicates a potentially bad carburettor. The engine automatically revving up without touching the accelerator, with the engine running very rough or dying after it revs up, is another sign at start-up of a bad carburettor.

Signs While Driving

Stalling and hesitation while driving are other signs of a bad carburettor. Specifically, hesitating at low idle, bogging down with acceleration or dying with deceleration (while idling fine) points at a bad system. Additionally, a warm engine that backfires while driving indicates a bad carburettor.

Gas Mileage and Flooding

A drop in your gas mileage or frequent flooding of the engine hints at a bad carburettor. A strong odour of fuel when the engine is off is a sign as well. A gas odour in the engine or exhaust points towards a bad carburettor, but may be caused by dirty gas.

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