We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Carburetor?

Nicole Madison
Updated Feb 08, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A carburetor, called a carb for short, is a device used in an internal combustion engine, such as the type found in an automobile. Invented by Karl Benz in the 1800s and patented in 1886, a carburetor’s job is to mix air and fuel. Up until the mid-to-late 1980s, these devices were the primary fuel-delivery method for engines. After that time, fuel injection took over as the most used method for fuel delivery, as it is considered more efficient and better in terms of emissions. In fact, the mid-to-late 1990s saw an end to the carburetor’s use in new cars.

Though carburetors have lost their places in most cars, they are still used in motorcycles. However, this may come to an end as many newer models also go over to fuel injection. As for now, carburetors continue to have a place in small engines, and they can be found in some specialized vehicles. For example, carburetors are still used in vehicles built for stock-car racing. Carburetors are also found in small-equipment engines, such as those found in lawnmowers.

All carburetors follow a basic type of construction. Basically, a carburetor consists of a tube with an adjustable plate across it. This plate is called the throttle plate and controls the amount of airflow. A narrowing in the tube is called the venturi, which creates the carburetor's vacuum. Within the vacuum is a jet, which is a hole that allows the vacuum to pull in the fuel.

To understand how a carburetor works, you have to look at Bernoulli's principle. This principle explains that the speed of air affects its pressure. When it moves faster, its pressure is lowered. Some people think the throttle pedal or accelerator controls the flow of fuel when a carburetor is used. Instead, the accelerator starts certain carburetor actions, leading to the measuring of air as it is drawn into the engine.

The speed of the airflow, as regulated by the carburetor, influences the pressure and regulates the amount of fuel that is supplied to the engine's air stream. The job of the carburetor is not at all trivial. If the device fails to get the mix just right, the engine will not run properly. When too little fuel is blended with the air, the engine runs lean, fails to run at all, or suffers damage. When too much fuel is allowed in, the engine floods, wastes fuel, emits too much smoke, or gets bogged down and stalls.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WikiMotors writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Discussion Comments

By Almata — On Jun 24, 2011

@bivie - When you decide to turn that old truck into a new one, you won't have to worry too much about that. The fuel injection systems on new vehicles don't have that same problem. That's because when you go to a higher altitude into the thinner air, your vehicle's injection system will compensate for it -- for the most part.

The injector is designed to detect that situation with the thinner air, so you will be all right except for when you are at slower speeds. It won't spit and sputter, but it might not have quite as much giddy-up. It's nothing radical, and you may or may not notice it.

By bivie — On Jun 21, 2011

Well, that explains a few things. I recently took a trip up into the mountains and my old truck started acting up. I figured it was a fine time for my truck to act up while I was so far away from home. It acted up on the whole trip until I got about half the way home. I decided it must have been some dirt or something caught in the fuel line.

Obviously, I don't know much about cars. But I do now; well, at least a little more. It occurred to me while reading this that the air is thinner up in the mountains, and I realize my truck wasn't getting enough air into the "carb," as you called it (I might as well learn the lingo too). I won't have to get a carburetor rebuild, but I will have to figure out how to adjust it next time I go camping. Thanks for the heads up.

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WikiMotors writer, where she focuses on topics like...
Read more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.