Can be applied to a number of different types of engines, including ones found on smaller appliances like lawnmowers. Fast-acting to quickly get the engine up and running. Freshens stale gas.
Can run a little thin when first using it.
Handles tougher, more stubborn engines better than other budget options. Starts engines in even the hottest or coldest weather conditions. Prevents corrosion. Comes in a larger can at a decent price point
There are better premium engine starter fluids out there.
Works for most 2 and 4-cycle combustion engines. Uses a special formula to help start smaller engines with more delicate components. Will help remove corrosion and debris.
Doesn't perform well on larger car and truck engines.
Included lubricant prevents wear when starting up in sub-zero weather. Rarely fails to start an engine that's been sitting for a long period. Starting fluid performs down to -65 degrees F.
Some customers are skeptical about its viability with diesel engines.
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If you’re experiencing problems with starting an engine in cold weather, you may want to boost the chances of success by applying engine starting fluids. These fluids are highly combustible and ignite at a lower temperature than traditional vehicle fuels, which improves the chances of the engine starting.
Because engine starter fluid allows the engine to start easier and faster, its use can reduce wear and tear from unsuccessfully trying to repeatedly start the engine in low temperatures. Having a bottle of engine starting fluid stored in your trunk or glove box could be the difference between starting your vehicle on a cold winter night and being stranded.
Even though engine starting fluid is highly flammable and could cause a fire when applied incorrectly, its benefits typically outweigh such concerns — just be sure to use it with care. If you find yourself having to apply engine starter fluid repeatedly, you should have a mechanic check out the engine, since you may have a serious problem with it.
The majority of engine starting fluids work safely for vehicles that contain typical gasoline engines. There are rarely restrictions or problems when applying the fluid to this type of engine.
For a vehicle that runs on diesel fuel, there are some restrictions on how you can use the engine starter fluid. Some fluid brands simply are not compatible with diesel engines. Of those fluids that are compatible, some may not work for diesel engines that have heated elements, such as glow plugs, attached to them.
Because a fuel injection engine doesn’t rely on intake air to mix with gasoline and create the ability to start the engine, engine starting fluids are not as effective with these systems. Fuel injection systems don’t have a carburetor.
If you decide to use engine starter fluid on the fuel injection system engine, spray it directly into the injectors. It’s important to place the starter fluid in the correct spot with this type of engine.
A traditional engine with a carburetor works nicely with engine starter fluid. The majority of the time, you add the fluid to the air intake area. However, the instructions on some bottles may recommend adding the fluid near the spark plugs or in the carburetor bore.
A two-stroke engine is a type of engine that has less power than a traditional four-stroke engine. A two-stroke engine may appear in a chain saw, snow blower, or leaf blower. They run off a mixture of gasoline and motor oil.
Because the majority of engine starting fluids don’t have oil or another lubricant added to them, you shouldn’t use these fluids on the two-stroke engine. If you want to use starting fluids on a two-stroke engine, look for one that includes a lubricant.
An engine starting fluid typically contains diethyl ether as its primary agent in the mixture. Some fluids use ether as the primary agent, but this is less common now than it was years ago.
If you choose a starting fluid mixture that primarily contains ether, it has a greater chance of creating a spark in extremely low temperatures. However, it’s far more flammable and volatile than diethyl ether, so it’s important to have the knowledge to use the ether-based fluid correctly and safely.
Some engine starting fluids contain fuel additives. These can provide lubricants that resist rust or that can clean the parts of the engine. For someone who uses engine starting fluids frequently, having a fuel additive included can be helpful. However, having the engine maintained regularly or adding fuel additives to the gasoline typically are better long-term solutions.
The majority of engine starting fluids have a minimum temperature at which they work. A rating of -65 degrees Fahrenheit is common among the most popular fluids.
Some mechanics believe using starting fluid isn’t harmful for the engine over the long term, while other mechanics recommend never using starting fluid — there’s no consensus on this topic.
One way to keep the engine cleaner is through the use of an engine degreaser. This type of product loosens contaminants on the engine, simplifying cleanup. A cleaner engine should start easier, even in low temperatures, which may reduce the frequency with which you need to use engine starting fluid.
Sometimes, an engine that won’t start needs a jump for the battery rather than the use of engine starting fluid. When jumper cables won’t work for starting your car, a jump starting machine is a solid alternative. Some jump starters can also provide a trickle charge for the battery, keeping it fully charged in cold weather.
Manufacturers sell engine starting fluid in bottles. A standard bottle of starter fluid has 10 or 11 ounces of capacity. However, because each bottle may have a different capacity, try to compare the cost of different brands of fluid by the ounce.
The least expensive starter fluids cost about $3 to $6 for a 10-ounce bottle (or about 30 to 60 cents per ounce). If you choose a starting fluid in this price range, you may have to buy a pack of several bottles at once.
Mid-range starting fluids for engines cost $6 to $10 for a 10-ounce bottle (or about 60 cents to $1 per ounce).
The most expensive starting fluids cost $10 to $20 for a 10-ounce bottle (or about $1 to $2 per ounce). These fluids may contain lubricant or may have a formula that helps with a flooded engine.
Here are some tips for applying engine starting fluid correctly and safely to an air intake engine with a carburetor:
A. When you try to start an engine repeatedly, you can “flood” the engine, meaning its fuel and air mixture is too rich to allow the engine to start. Some brands of engine starting fluid alleviate this problem, bringing the air/fuel mix back to balance. However, some fluids don’t work for this purpose. Check the instructions included with the bottle of fluid.
A. As long as the diesel engine doesn’t have a preheat system installed or glow plugs, using a starting fluid on the engine should be safe. These preheated items could cause the fluid to ignite as you’re applying it. If your diesel engine manufacturer doesn’t specifically say it’s safe to use starting fluid on the engine, you may not want to use it.
A. If the engine doesn’t start after a couple of applications of starting fluid, you may have a more serious problem with the engine. At the very least, the first application of a burst of starter fluid should cause the engine to show a little bit of life and sputter. If you receive no sign of sputtering from the engine after a couple of applications of fluid, don’t continue to add more fluid.
A. No, you shouldn’t add the fluid to the gas tank of an automobile. Apply the starter fluid to the proper part of the car’s engine. Follow the directions on the bottle of engine starting fluid, or you run the risk of starting a fire.