Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank: Is It Safe To Use?

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

There are times when your car starts making strange noises, accompanied by a smoky exhaust or just the fuel system going haywire. There could 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 to be used when it comes to cleaning out a gas tank. But is it safe, and what can you do about it? Read on to find out.


Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank


What Is Lacquer Thinner And What Does It Do?

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

The solution has a component known as a solvent binder that dries up 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. This is why it should be used outdoors and kept away from the reach of children.

What Can You Use Lacquer Thinner For?

Lacquer thinner is used as a cleaning solvent to remove spots from surfaces. But of course, you can only use this thinner on some surfaces. This thinner has been used on different vehicle surfaces to clean out spots and paints. At the same time, it can be used to clean gas tanks when used in the correct quantity.

 Here are a few common uses of the thinner that you need to remember:

Removing rust and paint

Lacquer thinner can be used to remove paint and strong rust from the surface of a car because of its kerosene content. The thin layer of the solvent stays as a solid on the surface of the rust and slowly removes it.

You should know that leaving the thinner for too long can damage the top coat of the paint. Make sure you use a lacquer thinner for automobiles that can make removing the stain easier.


Also read: How can you remove red dye from diesel?


Degreasing of a vehicle

If there is grease sticking to the surface of your car over time, there will be a lot of grease stains on the surface. Degreasing your vehicle is important to keep the shiny look of the paint intact. Luckily, a lacquer thinner can be a simple process of degreasing the surface and cleaning up the paint.


Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank


Cleaning the Catalytic converter

A catalytic converter in a car is crucial to the exhaust system that ensures the smooth working of the fuel filter. A good-condition catalytic converter makes sure that the fuel pump is working properly to ensure the vehicle is running without any kind of obstruction.

The catalytic converter has to be cleaned occasionally to ensure that no clogs or dust materials are sticking to the interior of the gas tank. Lacquer thinner can be a good option to clean out the tank’s surface with an appropriate amount.

Can Lacquer Thinner Be Identified?

If you have put lacquer thinner in your car’s gas tank, it can be identified easily on a close inspection. The compound of the thinner reacts with gasoline very quickly, so when you fire up the engine, you will be able to notice the smoke density increasing in your exhaust.

High amounts of lacquer are not the best thing to have in your car engine, as they can harm 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 is reacting with the gasoline.

How To Clean The Catalytic Converter With Lacquer Thinner?

Lacquer thinners can be a good way to clean out the catalytic converter of your car’s gas tank. Since it acts as a solvent, it will dissolve any kind of solid material that is clogging up the gas tank and exhaust system.

One thing you need to keep in mind is to follow the correct steps to use the thinner, not to do any kind of damage to the parts. Here is what you need to do:

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

It is suggested that you use a tiny amount of thinner to clear out the gas tank of residual and clogged materials. Once it is cleaned, you will notice that several problems with the engine and fuel pump have been solved. It also fixes the strange sounds from the exhaust system that were being caused because of the clogs.


Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank


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 specific amount, there is a chance that you are doing more harm than good. The solvent, when added to the gas tank in a high amount, starts to corrode the tank from the inside.

Here are some of the important things you have 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 metallic parts, glue, and plastic interior of a car’s fuel system or engine. When you are planning to use lacquer thinner as fuel system cleaner, you have to take care of how much you are using and for how long you are keeping 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 temperature rise might set the solvent on fire. This is why you must be very careful when adding the amount of solvent to the fuel.
  • Ensure you are exhausting the solution clearly, and no residue is left. The residue in the tank can cause a smoky exhaust and slow the engine. It could also increase the pollution level caused by cars.

There can be both short and long terms effects you can expect when you are using lacquer thinner in your car. Here are the ones you have to look out for.

Short Term Effects

There are certain short-term or immediate effects on the car’s gas tank when using a thinner. When used in a tiny amount, it will act as a quick solvent and remove clogs from the catalytic converter. But the car will also produce more smoke and noise from the exhaust when cleaning up the clogged parts.

The noise and exhaust should be taken as warnings that there might be impending engine trouble in your car. Overusing 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 liquid. The composition itself can react with the compounds in the car, which can slowly wear out the interior of your fuel tank.

You should know that the thinner is affecting your car incorrectly when you see the colors and strong scents being emitted. So whether you are using it as a surface cleaner or to clean the gas tank, you must make sure you are using a balanced amount.

How Much Lacquer Thinner Should Be Used For Cleaning?

If you are thinking of using a gallon of lacquer thinner to clean a gas tank, you might be in huge trouble with your car. Mixing a large amount of acetone with petrol is not something you want with your car’s fuel. One small lacquer thinner should be fit for about three to four uses of cleaning the gas tank.

When the lacquer thinner is mixed with petrol or diesel engines and is not cleaned properly, there is a chance of temporary or permanent engine contamination. Additionally, the thinner is not compatible with spark-ignition systems, which has to be taken into account before you try pouring the liquid into your car.

The worst-case scenario is that your car’s engine will be damaged by the excess corrosion of the gas tank, leading to engine failure. If you are unsure how much thinner you need to add or if there has been too much added, make sure to get it checked by your mechanic.

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 clear the catalytic converter. It is a simple process that can clean out the clogs of the gas tank just by driving the car after adding the thinner to the fuel.


Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank


Will lacquer thinner hurt your car?

Lacquer thinner can be harmful to a car if it is left on the surface for too long or used inside in a high amount. This thinner is also flammable, which could be dangerous when added to a gas tank, and the temperatures start rising over time.

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

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

What happens if you put acetone in your gas tank?

When used in a limited amount, acetone can help to clean up and unclog the gas tank in a car. But if used in high quantity, acetone tends to speed up the burning process of the fuel. Your car’s fuel consumption will rise, creating more smoke.


Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank



If you consider using lacquer thinner in your car’s gas tank, it might not be the safest option to clean the tank. However, it is the easiest way to ensure that the gas tank is free from clogs and dirt.

So before using it, make sure you are using the right amount that will keep your car’s engine and fuel pump safe. Moreover, do not use lacquer thinner if you are not sure about it and are not an expert at DIY car stuff.

We hope this article helps you out on your car cleaning days. Thank you for reading!

Photo of author

Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

Leave a Comment