Which carburetor should I buy: the one rebuilt by my local garage or by the factory?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm having carburetor problems. I've been told I have two choices -- No. 1: Have
the carburetor rebuilt at my local garage, or No. 2: Buy a "factory rebuilt"
carburetor from an auto parts store. The cost seems to be about the same. I'm
always a little concerned about the level of qualifications at the local garage.
While I'm sure the owner-manager is well qualified, what if he passes the job on
to some high-school kid who works there part time after school? On the other
hand, the "factory rebuilt" unit at the auto parts store may have been rebuilt
in some Third World country by a guy whose previous job classification was
"hunter-gatherer." Which way should I go here? -- Tom

RAY: I'd go with a factory rebuilt, Tom.

TOM: Me, too. While I know there are some wonderful, competent mechanics out
there who rebuild carburetors all the time, and do it very well, most mechanics
do it so infrequently these days that the odds are stacked against them.

RAY: Carburetors are becoming rarities in these days of electronic fuel
injection. So fewer and fewer mechanics really know how to fix them.

TOM: And that's the great advantage of our former hunter-gatherer friend. Even
though his previous experience may have been thatching roofs, now he does
nothing but rebuild carburetors. He does it day in, day out, under some sort of
supervision, and supposedly some measure of quality control.

RAY: And even if he screwed up his first 50 rebuilds, and they had to make him
do them again, he probably figured it out after a few days. So unless you know a
mechanic who is a carburetor expert, I'd say you're better off with a factory
rebuild, Tom.


Get Tom and Ray's best-selling pamphlet, "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car
Without Even Knowing It!" You're probably doing at least one of them! Send $3
and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box 6420,
Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One