Automobile

The Sprays Every Car Mechanic Should Have in Their Toolbox

For those of us who work on our cars—either out of enjoyment or necessity—owning an arsenal of sprays is almost as important as having tools. We use them to lubricate, clean, and loosen rusty fasteners so everything works as it should. If you don’t use the proper spray, it can turn a 20-minute fix into a weeklong nightmare.

We found the top sprays that every mechanic should own, based on our personal experience and Amazon consumer reviews. Don’t charge into your next automotive repair without them!

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Brake Cleaner

Brake cleaner is a mechanic’s best friend. Its many uses range from decontaminating fresh rotors to cleaning off an oil filter housing or degreasing a wheel bearing before repacking. We love CRC’s product, and its original formula holds up against anything else on the market.

PB Blaster Penetrant

This penetrating oil is great for a preplanned soak. If you know a fastener will be trouble, spray some of this all around the area and let it marinate for a few hours—or even overnight, if you can. The oil creeps into the openings, breaks up corrosion, and works to prevent further rust.

Aerokroil Penetrant

Aerokroil is some of the best penetrating oil money can buy. If you’ve got a seriously stuck piece of metal, give this a try. It’s a bit more expensive, but the spray has earned a cultlike following of die-hard fans. There’s a good reason for that: It’s great stuff.

Engine Cleaner

This engine cleaner from Gunk is great stuff, and it works to make your engine look factory new again. It’s gentle enough to dissipate any spilled oil up top, yet strong enough to clean that 40-year-old engine in your project muscle car. 

WD-40

Ol’ reliable. We don’t know what they put in this stuff, but it’s worked like a charm for a very long time. Anything squeaky, grindy, or dirty is no match for some spritzes of WD-40. This pack comes with three cans featuring Smart Straw Sprays. 

Silicone Spray

Silicone spray is manufactured with more lubricating compounds than WD-40, so it’s perfect for super-squeaky things. WD-40 is great for cleaning and works as a base lubricant, but if you follow it up with a dose of silicone spray, you’ll be set for a long time.

White Lithium Grease

White lithium grease is the next step in lubricating sprays, as it’s extremely adhesive to metal and thicker than the above sprays. This stuff is perfect for seat tracks, door hinges, and window regulators. 

Battery Cleaner

Sometimes your battery will accumulate blue, crumbly corrosion on the terminals. To remove it, we like this cleaner from CRC, which neutralizes the acidic corrosion and produces a colorful process that’s cool to watch. Once it’s done frothing, just rinse off with a little water. 

Starting Fluid

Starting fluid is highly flammable and overuse can lead to engine damage, but the stuff works in a pinch. Spray directly into your carburetor or air intake if your car is having trouble starting, and it should fire right up. (Then, try to figure out why it’s having trouble starting.)

Throttle Body and Air-Intake Cleaner

Over time, your vehicle’s throttle body can accumulate carbon deposits and varnish that can affect your engine’s performance. A good maintenance task is to clean it once in a while with this product from CRC. Just spray into your throttle body and wipe with a rag.

Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner

Like a throttle body, your car’s mass-airflow sensor can pick up debris and a slight coating of yuck as it keeps an eye on incoming air. If your MAF gets gummed up, the sensor can throw a check-engine light. To prevent or fix this, try cleaning it—but make sure to use mass-airflow cleaner specifically. 

Industrial Cleaner

Simple Green is a solid all-around cleaner and degreaser that can eliminate thrown grease from a blown CV axle boot or some oily smudges on your vehicle’s carpet. The nontoxic, nonabrasive, and noncorrosive properties mean you can use it in the house, too. 

Compressed Gas

This compressed gas is perfect for cleaning out dusty air vents or making sure your electronics stay spotless. It’s compact, effective, and way quicker than hooking up your blow gun to an air hose. 

Gasket Remover

Over time, gaskets can become extremely tough to remove, sometimes fusing to the metal altogether. This gasket remover from CRC works to loosen and remove sealants, gaskets, and residue, saving you a ton of elbow grease as compared to using a gasket scraper alone. 

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