Ask the Mechanic

Be Careful With the Starting Fluid

(Steve Thompson)

After last month's [May 2022] column about the use of starting fluid, I have heard from several readers on this subject. Responses varied from "great stuff" to "ruined my engine." I think the key is to use it wisely. In my shop right now is a Ford 4000 diesel that just had a complete engine overhaul in another shop. The injector pump had a small fuel leak, and the tractor was hard to start, so excessive starting fluid was used by the owner to help get it started. In the photo accompanying this article, what you see on top of the No. 2 piston are not broken piston rings but broken lands between the rings.


-- Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email, and be sure to include your phone number.