Can You Use Starting Fluid on a Propane Engine?

No, it is not recommended to use starting fluid on a propane engine. This can cause damage to the engine and potentially ignite the propane fuel.

Propane engines are commonly used in forklifts, generators, and other industrial applications. While propane engines are generally reliable and easy to maintain, they may require a little extra help when starting in cold weather or after a long period of sitting idle. This has led some people to wonder if they can use starting fluid to get their propane engine going.

However, using starting fluid on a propane engine is not recommended. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why starting fluid is not a good idea for propane engines and what you can do instead to get your engine running smoothly.

Is It Safe to Use Starting Fluid on a Propane Engine?


Propane Engines

Propane engines run on propane as its fuel source. They work by sending the propane into a carburetor or fuel injector to mix with air. Afterwards, this air-fuel mixture enters the engine’s cylinder. Propane engines have an advantage over gasoline engines as propane is cheaper, cleaner, and has a higher octane rating.

It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20-25%, prevents engine sludge build-up and extends engine lifespan. However, to maintain a propane engine, one should replace the spark plugs regularly, clean or replace the air filter, check the fuel pressure, and inspect the hoses for leaks or cracks.

Moreover, one should only use products specifically designed for propane engines.

Do Not Use Starting Fluid ! Try This Instead.

The Effects Of Starting Fluid On Propane Engines

Using starting fluid on propane engines can have severe consequences. Due to chemical reactions between the two, it can damage engine components such as valves, spark plugs, and pistons. Risks associated with using starting fluid on propane engines include fires, explosions, and the inhalation of toxic fumes.

It is important to note that starting fluid is designed for gasoline engines and not propane engines. It is not recommended to use starting fluid on a propane engine. It is better to take preventive measures such as checking the fuel system, spark plugs, and battery before starting the engine.

Alternatives To Starting Fluid

Starting fluid is a useful tool for starting gas engines, but can it also be used on propane engines? While propane engines are different from gas engines, there are alternatives to starting fluid that work just as well. Ether-based starting fluid substitutes, such as carburetor cleaner or brake cleaner, can effectively start propane engines.

Methyl alcohol-based starting fluid substitutes, like glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol, can also be used. These substitutes can be sprayed on the air filter or directly into the carburetor to help start the engine. Other propane engine starting techniques include preheating the engine with a heat lamp or a block heater, priming the engine with propane gas, or using a jump box.

With these options, starting a propane engine is easy without using starting fluid.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Alternatives

Using alternatives to ether-based starting fluid on a propane engine has benefits and drawbacks. One benefit of using substitutes is mitigating the health risks associated with using ether-based products. Methyl alcohol-based starting fluid substitutes pose the risk of causing engine damage if not used in moderation.

However, substitutes such as wd-40 and carburetor cleaner can be just as effective without the harmful effects. While there are risks and benefits associated with using alternatives, the effectiveness should also be considered. It’s important to research and consult with a professional before deciding on a starting fluid substitute for your propane engine.

Factors To Consider Before Using Alternatives

Before using starting fluid substitutes on a propane engine, it’s important to consider a few factors. Altitude and temperature can affect the effectiveness of these alternatives, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Additionally, the cost and availability of different starting fluid substitutes should also be taken into account.

Finally, compatibility with different engine types must also be considered to avoid damage or potential problems. With careful consideration and research, you can find the best starting fluid substitute for your propane engine that is both efficient and cost-effective.


Based on the information available, it is not recommended to use starting fluid on a propane engine. Starting fluid is designed for gasoline engines and can cause serious damage to a propane engine. The chemical composition of starting fluid is different from that of propane fuel, leading to potential damage to engine components.

In addition, propane engines have their own internal system for starting, and using starting fluid can disrupt this system and cause further damage. If you are experiencing issues with starting your propane engine, it is recommended to consult a professional mechanic who has experience working with propane engines.

They can diagnose the issue and provide the best solution for your specific situation. Taking proper care and maintenance of your propane engine can prevent the need for starting aids altogether. Remember, using starting fluid on a propane engine is not recommended and can cause serious damage.

Protect your engine and ensure it runs smoothly by following proper maintenance protocols and seeking professional help when needed.