Lacquer thinner in gas tank: is it safe to use? (2023)

Have you heard about the benefit of adding lacquer thinner to the gas tank and are you planning to use it? Do not do this before going through the article below.

There are times when your car starts making strange noises accompanied by a smoky exhaust or simply when the fuel system goes haywire. There can be several reasons for this, but in most cases the fault lies with a dirty or clogged exhaust system.

There are suggestions to use a lacquer thinner when it comes to cleaning a gas tank. But is it safe and what can you do about it? Read on to find out.

Lacquer thinner in gas tank: is it safe to use? (1)

What is lacquer thinner and what does it do?

Lacquer thinner is a chemical solution that candissolve resin and plasticof different surfaces. The main components of this solution are acetone and butyl acetate, making it a corrosive substance. It is used to remove lacquer paints from surfaces.

The solution has a component known as a solvent binder that dries by evaporation. It forms a solid layer and dissolves the paint from a surface. Lacquer thinner is a highly flammable liquid and can produce toxic fumes. Therefore, it should be used outdoors and kept out of the reach of children.

What can you use Lacquer Thinner for?

Lacquer thinner is used as a cleaning solvent to remove stains from surfaces. But of course you can only use this thinner on some surfaces. This thinner has been used on various vehicle surfaces to remove stains and paint. At the same time, it can be used to clean gas tanks when used in the right amount.

Here are some common thinner uses to keep in mind:

(Video) Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank Experiment Video

Remove rust and paint

Lacquer thinner can be used to remove paint and strongrust from the surface of a carbecause of the kerosene content. The thin layer of the solvent remains as a solid on the surface of the rust and slowly removes it.

You should know that leaving the thinner on for too long can damage the top coat of the paint. Be sure to use an automotive lacquer thinner that can make removing the stain easier.

Read also:How do you remove red dye from diesel?

Degreasing a vehicle

If grease sticks to the surface of your car over time, a lot of grease stains will form on the surface. Degreasing your vehicle is important to keep the glossy appearance of the paintwork intact. Fortunately, a lacquer thinner can be an easy process to degrease the surface and clean up the paint.

Lacquer thinner in gas tank: is it safe to use? (2)

Cleaning the catalytic converter

A catalytic converter in a car is crucial to the exhaust system that ensures the smooth operation of the fuel filter. A catalytic converter in good condition will allow the fuel pump to function properly, allowing the vehicle to run without any hindrance.

The catalytic converter should be cleaned occasionally to ensure that no clogs or dust particles stick to the inside of the gas tank. Lacquer thinner can be a good option to clean the surface of the tank with an appropriate amount.

Can Lacquer Thinner be identified?

If you have put lacquer thinner in your car's gas tank, it can be easily identified with a close inspection. The composition of the thinner reacts very quickly with gasoline, so when you start the engine you will notice that the smoke density in your exhaust increases.

(Video) PO420 Myth Busted?? PART -1 Lacquer Thinner in your Gas tank? Will It work??

Large amounts of paint are not the best thing to have in your car's engine as they can damage the engine in many ways. The high combustion rate, the sudden rise in the exhaust and the clogging of the engine are some of the basic problems you will notice in your car if the thinner reacts with the gasoline.

How to clean the catalytic converter with lacquer thinner?

Lacquer thinners can be a good way to clean your car's gas tank catalytic converter. Because it acts as a solvent, it dissolves any kind of solid material that clogs the gas tank and exhaust system.

One thing that you should keep in mind is to follow the proper steps to use the thinner so as not to cause any kind of damage to the parts. Here's what to do:

  • Add the thinner to a half-full gas tank
  • Drive your car until the fuel tank is empty; this should be able to clear the clogs in the catalytic converter
  • The thinner cleans the exhaust valves, which helps to increase the efficiency of the engine and fuel pump

It is recommended to use a small amount of thinner to clear the fuel tank of residual and clogged materials. Once it has been cleaned, you will find that several problems with the engine and fuel pump have been resolved. It also clears the strange noises from the exhaust system caused by the blockages.

Lacquer thinner in gas tank: is it safe to use? (3)

Is it safe to use lacquer thinner in the gas tank - what are the effects?

If the amount of lacquer thinner used in a gas tank is more than a certain amount, there's a chance you're doing more harm than good. The solvent, when added to the gas tank in large amounts, begins to corrode the tank from the inside.

Here are some of the important things to know about using lacquer thinner in the gas tank and what damage it can do:

  • Modern car designs have plastic and rubber in the fuel and engine components. Due to the corrosive nature of the thinner, it can damage the metal parts, glue and plastic inside of a car's fuel system or engine. If you plan to use lacquer thinner as a fuel system cleaner, be careful about how much you use and how long you keep the thinner in the tank.
  • Lacquer thinner is a flammable liquid which makes it a fire hazard in a vehicle. When you have added the solvent to the gas tank and you start driving it to clean the exhaust, the rise in temperature can set the solvent on fire. Therefore, you must be very careful when adding the amount of solvent to the fuel.
  • Make sure you exhaust the solution clearly and that no residue is left behind. The residue in the tank can cause a smoky exhaust and slow the engine down. It could also increase pollution from cars.

There can be both short and long term effects that you can expect from using paint thinner in your car. Here are the ones you should watch out for.

(Video) P0420 Scotty Kilmer Challenge Pouring Gallon Lacquer Thinner in Fuel Tank clean catalytic converter

Short term effects

There are certain short-term or immediate effects on the fuel tank of the car when using a thinner. When used in a small amount, it acts as a fast solvent and removes blockages from the catalyst. But the car will also produce more smoke and noise from the exhaust when clearing the clogged parts.

The sound and exhaust fumes should be taken as warnings that there may be engine problems in your car. Excessive use of the thinner can damage the car from the inside.

Long term effects

Cleaning the catalytic converter with lacquer thinner can become a long-term problem due to the corrosive nature of the fluid. The compound itself can react with the compounds in the car, slowly wearing down the inside of your fuel tank.

You should know that the thinner will affect your car incorrectly when you see the colors and strong odors being emitted. So whether you use it as a surface cleaner or to clean the gas tank, you need to make sure you use a balanced amount.

How much lacquer thinner should be used for cleaning?

If you're considering using a quart of lacquer thinner to clean a gas tank, you may have major problems with your car. Mixing a large amount of acetone with gasoline is not something you want with your car's fuel. A small amount of lacquer thinner should be enough for cleaning the gas tank about three to four times.

When the lacquer thinner is mixed with petrol or diesel engines and is not properly cleaned, there is a risk of temporary or permanent engine contamination. In addition, the thinner is not compatible with spark ignition systems, which should be considered before attempting to pour the fluid into your car.

The worst case scenario is that your car's engine is damaged due to excessive corrosion of the gas tank, leading to engine failure. If you are not sure how much thinner to add or if too much has been added, have your mechanic check it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put lacquer thinner in your gas tank to clean your catalytic converter?

You can use lacquer thinner in the gas tank to clean the catalytic converter. It's a simple process that can clear gas tank blockages just by driving the car after the thinner has been added to the fuel.

(Video) Will lacquer thinner clean a catalytic converter? We test Scotty Kilmer's hack.

Lacquer thinner in gas tank: is it safe to use? (4)

Will lacquer thinner damage your car?

Lacquer thinner can be harmful to a car if left on the surface for too long or used indoors in large quantities. This thinner is also flammable, which can be dangerous when added to a gas tank, and temperatures begin to rise over time.

What can I put in the gas tank to clean the catalytic converter?

There are specialized cleaning products you can use to clean the catalytic converter in your car. Lacquer thinner is one such product that can be put directly into the gas tank. Other cleaning products include professional fuel and exhaust and emission system cleaners.

What happens if you put acetone in your gas tank?

When used in a limited amount, acetone can help clear and unclog the gas tank in a car. But when used in large quantities, acetone tends to speed up the combustion process of the fuel. Your car's fuel consumption will increase, creating more smoke.

Lacquer thinner in gas tank: is it safe to use? (5)


If you are considering using lacquer thinner in your car's gas tank, cleaning the tank may not be the safest option. However, it is the easiest way to ensure that the gas tank is free of blockages and debris.

So before using it, make sure you use the correct amount to keep your car's engine and fuel pump safe. Also, don't use lacquer thinner if you're not sure and you're not an expert in DIY car stuff.

We hope this article helps you clean your car. Thank you for reading!

(Video) How to Clean Your Car's Catalytic Converter using Lacquer Thinner

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  3. What kind of paint to use on tires?
  4. Brake fluid in gas tank: will it work?
  5. Where is the converter on my fifth wheel?


Lacquer thinner in gas tank: is it safe to use? ›

Absolutely not. Lacquer thinner formulas vary from brand to brand and may contain substances such as acetone which are harmful to your fuel system, especially rubber and plastic parts. Unless you can positively verify the chemicals in the lacquer thinner you're using, I wouldn't put it in the fuel system.

Can you put lacquer thinner in your gas tank to clean your catalytic converter? ›

To clean your catalytic converter, start by adding pure lacquer thinner to a half-full gas tank. Next, set out for a day trip. You'll want to drive about 150 miles at high speeds. If you prefer, you can run the engine at about 2500 RPMs for about 30 minutes to allow the cleaner to run through the converter.

Is lacquer thinner safe for car? ›

Lacquer thinner can damage plastic and rubber and it can even strip car paint. Lacquer thinner acts quickly and aggressively to dissolve lacquers.

What can I put in gas tank to clean catalytic converter? ›

Top Catalytic Converter Cleaners
  • CataClean Fuel Cleaner 16.7oz. ...
  • Rislone Cat Complete Fuel, Exhaust and Emissions System Cleaner 16.9oz. ...
  • CRC Guaranteed To Pass Fuel System Cleaner 12oz. ...
  • Chevron Techron Fuel System Cleaner 12oz. ...
  • Gumout Regane Complete Fuel System Cleaner 12oz. ...
  • STP Ultra 5-IN-1 Fuel System Cleaner 12oz.

What can I coat the inside of my gas tank with? ›

Gold Standard Tank Sealer will stop rust and form a tough, fuel impervious coating while sealing small pinholes and weld seams. Your fuel will never touch the inside walls of your tank again.

How long does it take lacquer thinner to evaporate? ›

10ml in a large 55mm open cup at 20o Celsius and 20o Celsius ambient temperature will begin to evaporate after 2 hours. Any airflow on the surface will accelerate the evaporation process.

How much lacquer thinner do I put in my gas tank to clean my catalytic converter? ›

Some mechanics who still recommend using lacquer thinner to clean a catalytic convert recommend adding one quart of lacquer thinner to seven gallons of gas, followed by running the car for a long distance at higher speeds to pass the lacquer thinner vapors through the exhaust system.

What is the best way to fix a clogged catalytic converter? ›

What can you do? Drive the car at high speeds for a few miles. Try to get to 2500-3000 RPMs. This way, the exhaust system heat will burn off the catalytic converter deposits and unclog the converter.

What is the risk of lacquer thinner? ›

Hazard Statement(s): H225 Highly flammable liquid and vapour. H301 Toxic if swallowed. H304 May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways. H311 Toxic in contact with skin.

What is lacquer thinner used for on cars? ›

As the name suggests, a lacquer thinner is meant to thin and clean lacquer, which is a type of wood finish. A high-quality lacquer thinner is made up of different solvents that can dissolve lacquer and resins. Therefore, it is a very effective cleaning agent for thinning lacquer-based paints and varnishes.

What are the hazards of lacquer thinner? ›

May cause irritation; numbness in the fingers and arms; drying of skin; and dermatitis. May cause increased severity of symptoms listed under inhalation. Eye Contact Acute Exposure Effects: This material is an eye irritant. May cause irritation; burns; conjunctivitis of eyes; and corneal ulcerations of the eye.

Will seafoam spray clean catalytic converter? ›

Sea Foam Spray is safe for catalytic converters and O2 sensors [SOLVED]

How to fix a clogged catalytic converter without replacing it? ›

Fuel additives, like Cataclean, are one of the first and easiest methods to try for fixing a catalytic converter issue. Just add the product to your fuel tank and then drive your car for 15 minutes.

What can I put in my tank to make gas good again? ›

The best way to make old gas usable is to dilute it with new gas. Simply fill your car's fuel tank or a storage tank with 3 gallons (11 l) of fresh gas for every 1 gallon (3 l) of old gas you pour in. Then, gently rock your car or shake the storage tank to mix the gas together.

Is there something you can put in gas tank to stop leak? ›

For a simple but efficient fix, cover the leak with epoxy putty. If you're looking for something stronger and more permanent, you could weld the leak shut. Welding requires you to drain the tank and clear it completely of fumes.

What can I put in my gas tank with old gas? ›

Everyone advises that you should add a stabilizer to gas as soon as you purchase gasoline. They are all adamant that no additive will restore old gasoline. The best you can hope for is that adding a stabilizer to old gas will stop any further degradation.

Is lacquer toxic after it dries? ›

Paints, lacquers and other synthetic coatings are ubiquitous in our lives, covering most ceilings, walls and floors. After being applied to a surface and left to dry, these substances are typically safe.

How long does lacquer off gas for? ›

Most coatings get their final cure after 30-40 days, but in enclosed areas (like inside the boxes) what is off-gassing could certainly hang around for a while longer. They should wait the 30 days and use Simple Green to clean the boxes. If there are lights nearby, have the bulbs changed out too.

How do you remove lacquer thinner? ›

Wrap in newspaper and dispose of in the garbage. Second best: Take unused paint thinner or soaked rags to a hazardous waste facility or collection event.

Can I put this catalytic converter cleaner in a full tank of gas? ›

Yes, a whole bottle of Cataclean is recommended for 15 litres of fuel, roughly a quarter of a tank. So if you have half a tank left in your car, you can use two bottles. If you run your car down to half a tank and use Cataclean but it seems to have no effect, refill your tank fully.

Can I flush my catalytic converter? ›

The best method is using water and lacquer thinner. However, there is no proven step or process for cleaning the catalytic converter this way, so you might want to search online for a few additive cleaners, such as Oxicat or Cataclean, that help remove carbon deposits slowly before attempting.

Why should you spray paint your catalytic converter? ›

By adding bright paint, you can create a visible deterrent to alert thieves to move on. This paint also signals law enforcement and recyclers to look deeper for serial numbers or identification marks. By clearly marking your catalytic converter you will be deterring the theft from happening in the first place.

How do you know if your catalytic converter is completely clogged? ›

If you're noticing slow powertrain performance, reduced acceleration, a smell of rotten eggs or sulfur from the exhaust, dark exhaust smoke, or extreme heat from under the vehicle, these are symptoms of a clogged Catalytic Converter, and it should be replaced quickly.

How long will a car run with a clogged catalytic converter? ›

A Catalytic Converter Can Be Driven Indefinitely

Driving with a bad catalytic converter is not too dangerous. If some small parts of your catalytic converter is plugged, you can still drive your car as usual.

What are the 3 most leading failures of a catalytic converter? ›

Most catalytic converter failures fall under one of three categories: Overheated, melted or broken converters.

Will a car start if the catalytic converter is clogged? ›

Trouble Starting the Car

When a catalytic converter is clogged, it causes a large amount of smoke to surge through the exhaust system. This may lead to frequent stalling or make the car difficult to start at all. If the CAT system has a major blockage, your engine will likely sputter and only start a few seconds later.

Can you drill holes in a catalytic converter to unclog it? ›

There is no way to legally unclog a converter. A failed converter must be replaced with a new one or a bypass pipe but those are not legal.

How toxic is lacquer? ›

Lacquer is a clear or colored coating (called a varnish) that is often used to give wooden surfaces a glossy look. Lacquer is dangerous to swallow. Breathing in the fumes for a long period is also harmful.

What happens if you touch lacquer thinner? ›

The symptoms of paint thinner irritation or burns to the skin include: Redness. Irritation (itching, tingling, burning, numbness) Pain.

What are the benefits of lacquer thinner? ›

Lacquer thinner can easily soften and thin away paints that are difficult to remove as they have turned solid and flaky on smooth surfaces. Some can be used eliminate leftover residue from cements and plastics. These thinners can also be used on clothing made of natural fibres to remove varnish stains and paint spots.

Is lacquer good for cars? ›

Pros: If you're looking for a good shine on your car, lacquer remains one of the best paints to achieve it. Waiting for your car to dry is a tedious prospect, though, especially if you don't have a garage to avoid damage from the elements. Lacquer paint is known to dry much faster than other paints.

What is the difference between lacquer and lacquer thinner? ›

Lacquer thinner increases the flow of lacquer in lacquer-based paints. This quality allows lacquer thinner to effectively clean surfaces where lacquer-based paints were used. Lacquer thinner is fast evaporating which enables it to dry fast and leave a streak-free finish.

What lacquer is used on cars? ›

Cellulose lacquers are most commonly known in automotive industry although have become popular for use on wooden products, musical instruments and other surfaces.

Is lacquer thinner cancerous? ›

Long term use of benzene-containing solvents, paints, and thinners can lead to certain cancers including myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).

Can lacquer cause a fire? ›

Many types of lacquer are highly flammable.

Is lacquer flammable? ›

Lacquer is highly flammable and emits dangerous fumes. It also typically needs to be applied with a sprayer, which limits its use; though brushable lacquer products are available. And while lacquer stays clear for a long time, it has a slight tendency to amber over time.

Can I put seafoam in a full gas tank? ›

Treatment Recommendations

Small engines: add whenever you refuel. For engine equipment used regularly, add Sea Foam to a fresh tank fill every 3 months or sooner. For all other engines and fuel tanks (not used regularly): Add Sea Foam to every tank of fuel.

Does seafoam clean exhaust valves? ›

Treating your engine with Sea Foam Spray through the intake and using Sea Foam Motor Treatment in your fuel and crankcase will also help to keep your valves carbon-free and operating as they should for many miles.

What is the liquid that you put in your gas tank for a catalytic converter? ›

Using Cataclean may help to avoid the replacement of costly oxygen sensors or your vehicle's catalytic converter. If you have to replace your catalytic converter, use Cataclean with the installation to extend its life. Cataclean is easy to use-simply pour in your fuel tank.

Will lacquer thinner clean a carburetor? ›

As a solvent for cleaning the gunk/ residue in our carbs, this one works.

How flammable is lacquer thinner? ›

Extremely flammable. Keep away from heat, sparks, flame and all other sources of ignition. Vapors may cause flash fire or ignite explosively. Do not smoke.

What happens if you put acetone in your gas tank? ›

“Don't put acetone in your gas tank.” While the acetone is in your fuel system, he says, “it'll be eagerly dissolving all of your rubber components … like gaskets and O-rings.”

What kind of container can I put lacquer thinner in? ›

Paint thinner can be stored in approved plastic one-gallon containers. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

What is the best solvent for cleaning carburetors? ›

WD-40 Specialist Fast-Acting Carb/Throttle Body & Parts Cleaner. The popular brand WD-40's Fast-Acting Carb/Throttle Body Cleaner won our top pick for best carburetor cleaner. If you're looking for a cleaner carburetor in just a few minutes, this product will make the most of a few minutes' time.

What will lacquer thinner remove? ›

Lacquer thinner can easily soften and thin away paints that are difficult to remove as they have turned solid and flaky on smooth surfaces. Some can be used eliminate leftover residue from cements and plastics. These thinners can also be used on clothing made of natural fibres to remove varnish stains and paint spots.

What temperature does lacquer thinner ignite? ›

This paint thinner SDS identifies it as a Category 3 flammable material in terms of the OSHA standard. This means it has a flash point in the range 73.4 to 140 F (23 to 60 C).

What happens if you put isopropyl alcohol in your gas tank? ›

For a typical 40-gallon fuel tank, one half to one pint of isopropanol will disperse the water and get your engine running satisfactorily. The water that's now dispersed in the fuel is said to actually improve engine performance.

Why would someone put toothpaste in gas tank? ›

They don't. They are “pulling your leg”, or trying to trick you into trying it, only for you to have a very expensive repair bill down the road to remove the toothpaste from your tank and engine. There is no reason whatsoever to put ANYTHING into your gas tank besides gas.

Why can't you pour acetone down the drain? ›

Why can't I pour acetone down the drain or plughole? A number of pipes in plumbing systems are plastic and could therefore be melted by the acetone, degrading the plumbing system and incurring cost in terms of both time and money.

Does lacquer thinner dissolve? ›

A high-quality lacquer thinner is made up of different solvents that can dissolve lacquer and resins. Therefore, it is a very effective cleaning agent for thinning lacquer-based paints and varnishes. Some of the major solvents that are a part of the lacquer thinner are toluene, xylene, and acetone.

Is lacquer and lacquer thinner the same thing? ›

Lacquer thinner increases the flow of lacquer in lacquer-based paints. This quality allows lacquer thinner to effectively clean surfaces where lacquer-based paints were used. Lacquer thinner is fast evaporating which enables it to dry fast and leave a streak-free finish.

What is the difference between thinner and lacquer thinner? ›

Lacquer thinners are a highly flammable mixture of different solvents used in thinning paints such as lacquer. Paint thinner is a generic term for petroleum-based products with a moderate evaporation rate used to remove oil-based products but cannot be mixed with painting mediums.


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