How To Drain Fuel from a Carburetor before Storage

If you’re like me and don’t really know all that much about engines and their components (like a carburetor) and just want them to work properly with the associated care needed to keep them running, then you’ll appreciate the advice the experts are willing to share.

The suggestions that follow, then, do not originate with me. I pulled them from the Q&A section of a popular website where someone asked if there was a way to drain the fuel (meaning gasoline) out of the carburetor (of a portable generator or other small engine machine) so it doesn’t gum up the works over time.

The question itself tells you why you would want to do this, unless you run your generator frequently. The thing is…most people don’t because they don’t need to. You use your generator when the power goes out or when you go camping or when you go tailgating or so on. Generally, those kinds of events only occur once every few months or less often.

So, here are the steps in keeping your carburetor – and ultimately, your generator – in good, working condition year round.

1) Turn the fuel shut off valve so that no new gas can get into the carburetor.

2) Start the generator and let it run until it dies; that is, runs out of gas.

3) There will still be a little gas – probably about a tablespoon – left in the carburetor. Drain that fuel using the drain screw on the bottom of the carburetor.

Here are a few samples of what the drain screw may look like and where it may be located. This will vary from one machine to the next.

Drain screw location
Drain screw location
Drain screw location

4) Turn the choke on and try to start the engine again. It will likely run for just a few seconds.

If you’re reasonably sure that all the fuel is now out of the carburetor, you’re done. However, you could take the next couple of steps as additional insurance.

5) Spray some carburetor cleaner into a vent hole of the carburetor. The hole will be small and may be hard to find. The schematic below shows some possible locations.

6) Then run the engine one final time until it stops.

That’s it! The next time you need your generator, be sure to open the fuel shut off valve again. Then give the starter a pull or a twist and enjoy that feeling of power.