Can You Use Brake Cleaner As Starter Fluid? All Answered

You need to start the car but run out of starting fluid? Can you use brake cleaner as starter fluid? Does it always work?

What other fluids can be used as an alternative to starting fluid in emergencies? Keeping scrolling for more details.

Can You Use Brake Cleaner As Starter Fluid?

Can You Use Brake Cleaner As Starter Fluid?

Yes. You can use brake cleaner as starter fluid, but only in an emergency.

It can help you start the engine when you don’t have a starter fluid, but it can’t work like a real starter oil because of its different chemical composition.

Does Brake Cleaner Work As Starting Fluid?

Will brake cleaner work as starting fluid? No. Though you can use it in some urgent cases, the potency can’t be comparable to that of the starting fluid.

Brake cleaner (or parts cleaner), and starting fluids are two liquids with different functions. The main purpose of the brake cleaner is to help remove dirt, oil, tar, and grease from the brakes.

It is used for most parts of the brake system. In addition, it also helps prevent vibration, thoroughly eliminates tire squeals, and dries quickly without leaving residue or plaque.

Unlike starting fluids, starting fluids are designed to lubricate the internal components of an internal combustion engine and keep the chamber working efficiently as it has propane gas, protecting these components from corrosion.

Besides, starting fluid is added with additives such as special detergents.

It improves operational efficiency by preventing the internal accumulation of dirt and deposits, which explains why you can use brake cleaner as starting fluid.

The next difference between these two chemicals is that parts cleaner can be toxic to the environment and affect human health because they contain poisonous gasses.

On the contrary, starting fluids do not have any harmful effects.

Can We Use It Regularly?

It will be best NOT to use brake cleaner for starting fluid frequently as it may cause considerable damage.

It will likely remove the starter oil from the combustion chamber and dry out the engine, resulting in complete engine failure.

Besides, brake cleaner as starter fluid is made up of completely different chemicals.

In particular, the chemical of parts cleaner is much more toxic than the starter fluid, especially when used for the wrong purpose. Therefore, you should not use it often.

In addition to polluting the environment, the toxic gas released from the brake cleaner can seriously affect the respiratory tract and cause dermatological diseases in humans.

You should note that the brake cleaner comes as an aerosol spray can as a starter fluid. You need to read the instructions for use on the package to know if it is flammable or not.

What Are Other Cleaning Fluids We Can Use As Starting Fluids?

You can use the fuel mixture or the mix of gasoline and oil removed from your motorcycle or motorcycle to replace the starter fluid.

Mixed gas from chainsaws and drills is also used as an alternative in emergencies.

An efficient carburetor cleaner and MAF (mass air flow) sensor cleaner can come in handy as well.

These two substitutes are automotive flammable liquids, which can effectively start the modern engine. They sew dry and leave no residue.

Degreasers, throttle body cleaners, seafoam engine & carb dry cleaners, and other parts cleaners are other substitutes for starting fluid.

How To Start Car With Brake Cleaner?

Starter Fluid

Make A Quick Diagnosis

Before spraying the brake cleaner (or even using the starter spray), you need to expose the air box and ensure the choke is open so that the brake-cleaning fluid can be pumped into the piston area and the air filter of the intake port or intake camshaft sensor.

Next, check the brake cleaner’s composition to ensure it’s suitable for igniting the inner chamber and starting your vehicle. 

If your car has a diesel engine, it is possible that the brake cleaner will not work as you would like, and it may release some blue smoke.

In this case, you can change to a bucket of carburetor soaking solution so that the engine vacuum can work functionally.

Finally, you need to choose good quality products from trusted brands. You can go to stores that sell genuine products to get the best brake cleaner.

Start Car With Brake Cleaner

Like when changing the starter fluid, you need to determine the air intake first.

After that, spray a small amount of parts cleaner on it. The air intake will normally look like metal pipes and be painted the same color as the car.

You just need to use a bottle of spray gun to spray a little on the air intake manifold for about 2 seconds. You can remove the filter of the air intake to spray.

Next, close the air hose and start the engine. If the engine starts smoothly, then you are successful. Otherwise you need to spray the parts cleaner again within 2 seconds and start the engine.


Can I Use Starter Fluid To Decontaminate Brake Pads?

The answer is yes. Because the starter fluid is considered a fairly strong organic solvent, it can break down layers of dirt or grease on brake pedals to avoid brake squeaking.

Besides, the composition of the starter fluid contains certain cleaning chemicals, so the brake manufacturer believes you can use it to decontaminate the brake plates.

Alternatively, you can also use pure isopropyl alcohol, which can be found at any grocery store because it’s pretty cheap.

IT’s advised to buy pure isopropyl instead of the scented one because the pure form can easily remove dirt.

You need to use the brush to scrub them several times to completely clean the grease and dirt that have accumulated on the brake pads for a long time.

No need to worry about overusing the isopropyl, as it can evaporate quickly.

What Should I Do If The Car Won’t Start After I Spray The Brake Cleaner?

If you have sprayed the brake cleaner and the car won’t start, you should check the choke and adjust it to its original position.

Once you find it open or loose, close it. You can read the vehicle manual to locate the choke.

The next reason the car is difficult to start is due to the moisture in the intake on rainy days and cold weather. A bad intake also messes things up.

In this case, you need to use a mechanic’s solvent. Pour some of this solution into the cap and swish it around.

The final problem is disconnected hoses or loose battery cables. You should check them for corrosion to clean or replace the cable with a new one to avoid severe damage.

If they are loose, use a screwdriver or basic hand tools to tighten them.


Can you use brake cleaner as starter fluid? Yes, but don’t overdo it. When you have to turn to this alternative, remember to check our guide again and follow suit.

Other substitutes are available and easy to find, so you can refer to our recommendations.

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