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How To Know When It’s Time for a New Carburetor

A well-cared-for carburetor can give you many years of service, but if you keep a car running long enough, you will eventually need to replace it. As vehicles from before the age of fuel injection get older, it’s important you understand the signs of carburetor wear before you find yourself with a vehicle that won’t run. Luckily, there are a few really easy to spot signs, as well as a few more circumstantial symptoms that are worth investigating further.

1. Declining Fuel Economy

There are a few issues that can cause your fuel economy to tank, so on its own this symptom does not definitively point to your carburetor. It can also happen when sensors malfunction, when your exhaust system has issues, and it sometimes points to various engine problems. If you’re noticing a decline in fuel economy and not seeing a check engine light yet, then it’s worth checking out the part to see if it is dirty or if there are other signs of malfunction. If you do that, you’ll at least rule out the need for a new 351m carburetor early in your troubleshooting process, and you might find that your first guess was correct, which makes for a simple diagnosis.

2. High Idle Speeds

One of the classic telltale signs of a bad carburetor or throttle body system is a higher-than-normal idle speed. Under some circumstances, the idle speed might even spike into territory that puts strain on your engine. If you notice a high idle speed along with decreased fuel economy, then the most likely culprit is a carburetor or TBI.

Inspect the part to see if you notice any buildup or other signs of malfunction immediately, because high idle speeds can signal more serious symptoms to come. You can help your TBI last longer with regular cleaning, and when it is time to replace it, consider a 350 TBI performance kit to turn a repair into an upgrade.

3. Rough Idling

The idle speed doesn’t always increase dramatically when a carburetor goes bad. Sometimes it becomes rough instead, and this can lead to stalling at low speeds eventually. There are a limited number of parts that can lead to rough idling, so it is easy to narrow it down if the symptom does pop up. It’s also important to note that it can happen alongside a faster idle, and when it does that is a pretty good indicator you have a carburetor issue and not a different problem. When the time comes to make that replacement, you’ll find great options from the same supplier you trust for a new 292 comp cam.

Maintenance for a Long Life

Most carburetor problems come from buildup in the part over time. While this can’t be totally prevented, using a carburetor cleaning solution as advised can help you get a longer life from your parts. Once they start to malfunction, it’s typically too late, but you can get a fresh start with your new performance carburetor if you treat it right from day one.

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