Brake cleaner to remove engine oil?


I just replaced a PCV valve. There was oil leaking in the surrounding area. I am wondering if it is safe for me to use brake cleaner on the engine to remove oil leaks? What about plastic parts and hoses?

Should I get engine cleaner/degreaser instead?


I use brake cleaner all the time to remove oil from engines to locate oil leaks.



Yeah, it works fine. It will wash the gunk off but then you are left with the gunk. At least the degreasers tend to break down the gunk. How about the do-it-yourself car wash? many have engine degreasers and then high pressure spray. Just be careful to to get water into important areas.

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I do not worry about it, not like I’ll be in a car show worried about presenting a pristine engine. Had enough old cars oil and dirt on an engine was not an issue for me, rusted out floorpans, brake lines ps lines etc was enough to keep me busy.

I know what you are saying. I don’t mind it either, car is old. I was just thinking maybe it was a good idea to keep the stuff clean so if theres another leak it will be easier to spot.

I hate working on greasy, gritty, clumpy engines! I clean them every now and again just so it isn’t so nasty when I have to work on it. And it helps spot leaks.

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Yes, it’s a good cleaner. It’s quite harsh, so try to avoid getting it on your skin. It’s probably quite flammable too, so no sparks or open flames in the area.

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Thanks a lot guys!

and depending on what the finish on the exterior of the car is like, I’d be careful about overspray or dripping. I’ve seen brakeclean eat paint and finishes.

But I use it on engines and engine bays all the time.

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might be a lot cheaper to start with plain isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) from the drug store. It will cut grease and oil and is relatively harmless.

It is very flammable, good warning