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Lacquer Thinner In The Gas Tank

Can You Put Lacquer Thinner In Gas Tank? Detailed Answer!

Lacquer thinner will save your day if you want to clean your clogged catalytic converter. However, putting the lacquer thinner in gas tank may result in various consequences. Are you ready for the risks?

Lacquer thinner is a familiar household product. Even so, working with this solvent requires a lot of knowledge and caution. 

To help you handle it properly, we will explain what will happen if you pour lacquer thinner into the gas tank. You can also discover extra tips to deal with it. So let’s get started!

What Is Lacquer Thinner

What Is Lacquer Thinner?

Lacquer thinner is a solvent that can dissolve plastics and resins on different surfaces. Besides, it has corrosive properties because of the chemical solvents in its composition, such as acetone and acetate. 

The chemicals in lacquer thinner are highly combustible and can emit toxic fumes. Hence, you need to handle it with extra caution. 

The primary function of the solution is to eliminate lacquer coatings off surfaces. These paints have hard solvent binders that solidify into a layer when dried. And luckily, you can use the lacquer thinner to break them down. 

Additionally, some drivers pour lacquer thinner in gas tank to clean catalytic converter. This liquid also helps with other parts of the car, too. 

Lacquer Thinner In The Gas Tank

Can You Put Lacquer Thinner In The Gas Tank?

Putting lacquer thinner into the gas tank is not a good idea because the corrosive ingredients in the solvent will damage your fuel system. 

There is no significant harm in the short term if you just use a little thinner. The most severe cases can be a slower engine and a smoky exhaust. 

However, if you leave some lacquer thinner in the tank for a long time, your automobile will perform poorly. Engine failure may also occur.  

Here are some consequences to expect from putting lacquer thinner in your car tank:


We use lacquer thinner to dissolve debris buildup in the fuel system, enabling it to work smoothly. However, this treatment may cause the dirt particles to circulate within the fuel system instead and cause blockages. 

Engine damage

Modern automobiles have numerous plastic and rubber components in fuel systems and engines. Unfortunately, lacquer thinner is a corrosive solution, which may damage certain parts of the system, such as the tank wiring, fuel filter, and gasoline pump. 

Glue melting

Car manufacturers use glue to attach multiple components to the engine. If you pour lacquer thinner into the gas tank, it may melt the adhesive that connects those parts together. 

Fire hazards

Lacquer thinner is combustible. Hence, once the temperature rises when you run the engine, the solvent may explode and burn the exhaust valves. 

How Much Lacquer Thinner To Add To Gas Tank

How Much Lacquer Thinner To Add To Gas Tank?

Once the solvent reaches the tank, it will interact with the gasoline inside and break down the debris buildup in your catalytic converter. That’s how lacquer thinner helps you clean the converter .  

If you still want to use lacquer despite its risks, add the amount of solvent your gas tank really needs. While insufficient amounts can’t solve your problem, too much of it will damage the engine. 

The rule of thumb is to add half a gallon of the solvent when the gas tank is half full. This amount will suffice to unclog your catalytic converter effectively without causing adverse effects. 

As you can see, a half-full gas tank is a need for this process. Then, you must open the fuel filter cap and insert a dipstick into the gas tank to check it. The dipstick should reach the bottom of the tank. 

After that, put out the stick and check the fuel level. There are markings on the stick to indicate the fuel level in your tank. 

On the other hand, to some people, putting lacquer thinner in the gas tank has too many risks. Then, you may wonder, “How To Fix Catalytic Converter Without Replacing?” Cataclean can be a good idea. Please check our article  about this topic to learn more. 

How To Tell If Somebody Pour Lacquer Thinner In The Gas Tank?

The solvent will react with the fuel in your gas tank if someone messes with you and puts lacquer thinner in there. Here are some signs you can look for to confirm:

  • Smoke: The lacquer thinner may mix with the ignition source and ignite afterward. If you notice any smoke near the gas tank, turn off your car immediately to check for the cause. 
  • Engine issue: When added to the gas tank, lacquer thinner may cause engine issues, such as difficult idling and loss of power. 
  • Poor combustion: Lacquer thinner acts as a fuel additive, impacting the combustion process negatively. For example, if mixed with gasoline, it will change the chemical composition of the fuel, resulting in less efficient burning. 

How To Remove Lacquer Thinner From Your Gas Tank?

The above signs can help you confirm if your gas tank has thinner lacquer. Now, please follow these steps to remove it:

  • Stop driving your car. Otherwise, the lacquer thinner will cause serious damage to the engine and fuel system.
  • Drain the gas tank by opening the drain plug. Remember to collect the fuel in a safe container and dispose of it properly. 
  • Flush the fuel system with fresh gasoline and run the engine for a few minutes to let the new gas work. This step will help remove the remaining lacquer thinner. 
  • Drain the tank again. 
  • Repeat the steps above until the gas that comes out is clean. 
  • Clean the fuel filter because it may catch contaminants. You need to replace it in some cases. 
  • Check for any sign of damage in the fuel system. 
  • Refill the gas tank with new gasoline. 

Removing lacquer thinner from your gas tank can be complicated and dangerous. Hence, it’s preferable to have qualified mechanics do it for you. They are competent at handling toxic chemicals properly and have expertise in dealing with fuel systems.

When To Use Lacquer Thinner On Cars?

Putting lacquer thinner in the gas tank is risky. Yet, this fluid has other applications for cars, such as:

Clean the engine 

Oil, grease, and dirt will accumulate on your engine over time, making it perform less efficiently. As a result, you need to clean the engine to maintain its optimal efficiency. 

Choosing the right product is an important part of this task. If you settle on the wrong one, your car will have tons of problems. 

Lacquer thinner shines in this case because it’s a powerful engine cleaner. You can easily use it to remove various types of debris without disturbing the engine. 

Here is how to use lacquer thinner to clean your engine:

  • Wear protective gloves for safety. 
  • Soak a rag in the lacquer thinner and wipe it down the engine components. Pay attention to every nook and cranny in this step. 
  • Allow the solvent to sit for a few minutes to loosen the debris buildup. 
  • Use a clean rag to wipe the buildup and lacquer thinner. 

Clean the car exterior 

You can use lacquer thinner to remove rust stains on your car’s surface. This liquid will evaporate quickly without leaving residue behind. 

Lacquer thinner is also suitable for removing tree sap and paint splatter on glass. However, you need to put on protective gear when working with it because of the toxic vapors. 


The idea of pouring lacquer thinner in gas tank is ineffective. Moreover, it may cause danger by harming the fuel system and engine. Poor combustions and fire hazards are noticeable consequences of using this liquid in the tank. 

There are signs that somebody put the solvent in your gas tank. In this case, check for them carefully, and follow our guide to remove it immediately. 

We hope this article has shed some light on lacquer thinner and its impact on the gas tank. If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to reach out. 

Thank you for reading! 

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