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Hagerty Employee

12 essential automotive chemicals for your garage | DIY | Hagerty Media

Most tools in a DIY garage are permanent items. Your socket set and floor jack are not in need of replacement after every few uses. However, if you are tackling projects regularly, you probably have a toolset that comes in cans, jugs, and tubs.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

👍 Good list. Not sure why but I never remember the dialectic grease. Thanks for the reminder.
FWIW I also like to keep low-temp (silver) anti-seize around. In addition to being requisite on plug threads going into aluminum housings and heads, a small light skim coat on hubs is great for keeping drums and rotors from sticking/rusting to hub faces. It also keeps aluminum wheels from sticking to the steel hub bores. Just a dab on stud threads helps get an accurate torque with those same wheels.

New Driver

Good list. But you are going to need some hand cleaner after using all the chemicals. The chemical hand cleaners work much better than soap IMHO!

Good list. Thanks.

Good list!

I’d add Anti-seize for threads.

WD40 - not a fan. I’ll keep 3 different products to avoid using that stuff anywhere near where I paint.
Pit Crew

Poor Girl
I have no garage,
but I have wd-40, 3in1 oil, vinegar & newspaper for windows, Murphys oil soap for leather seats & A Love of Driving.🥰
New Driver

Great list.  Any recommendations for the wax and grease remover?


You left out "A mini-fridge full of ice cold beer".
Intermediate Driver

Good list. I use dielectric compound any time grease will be touching rubber that may not be oil resistant. Petroleum products will swell the rubber if it's not meant to be exposed to that. Jim's suggestion of silver anti-seize is a good one, although I prefer the copper based anti-seize compound. I find it doesn't dry out over time like the silver stuff does.

Missing the most important one. Lighter fluid. 


Lighter fluid is an oil, cleaner and an adhesive  remover. It will remove many things that most other chemicals struggle with. 


I used it for removing emblems from cars as it will not harm paint. It is also the recommended lube for soap box derby car wheels. 


It is a flammable but most items that work are. But it also lacks much of the harsh things other flammable's have. But it is in a container that helps limit the flow. It also vanishes  quickly with fumes that do not accumulate at high levels. due to the small use it needs to do the job. 


I am not sure what I would do with out it. 

Pit Crew

Dielectric grease is an electrical insulator, it does not promote an electrical connection but actually serves to prevent one. This is a common misunderstanding in the automotive community. It's original marketing was as a "Tune-up Grease" for GM HEI distributor plug boots to prevent arcing through the boot, and made the boot easier to remove which helped protect the first generation of 8mm plug wires used on the HEI systems.

If you wish to use an electrically conductive grease, you can use "no-alox" electrically conductive grease used in residential elecrical wiring and available at Home Depot or any hardware store in the electrical wiring section.

Starting fluid is an excellent way to catch a car on fire, as I know from personal experience. On any modern car the mechanical temperature of the intake system will instantly turn the fluid into vapor that will create an educational fireball when it hits the exhaust system.

Advanced Driver

Years ago, I was told by a major appliance company that I should buy WD-40 as a great lubricant. I took a supply with me to another country where i knew that I would be unable to find the product. The company told me to use it to lubricate the bearings of the machine which they sold to me. What they did not tell me was that WD-40 also washes away lubricants. Soon, I had to use more and more on the bearings until the bearings were devoid of lubricant. I had to long-distance order new bearings. I learned the hard way! Now, I use WD-40 to displace moisture and to loosen hardened deposits of grease--followed by a recommended lubricant.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable


Starting fluid is an excellent way to catch a car on fire, as I know from personal experience. On any modern car the mechanical temperature of the intake system will instantly turn the fluid into vapor that will create an educational fireball when it hits the exhaust system.”


I definitely agree there is that risk. The advantage of it over say...propane from a torch, is that any change in engine idle is probably quicker. I have used propane with success but you have to move slow around suspect areas to give the engine a chance to respond if it’s going to. There is a little advantage though of being able to more accurately find the location of the leak with the end of the propane torch. Helpful in some circumstances. These days I have a friend with one of those cool smoke machines. 

But I think I’d still prefer to do stuff like that outside.

Intermediate Driver

Scotch. Preferably Lagavulin. Helps when that little screw holding points in place disappears down the distributor.
Intermediate Driver

I understand people have their automotive products that they swear by and as a retired master automotive service tech I too have some.
For penetrating oil,
KANO Labatories " SILI KROIL"
There is simply none better.
For interior cleaning,
Mothers, Carpet and Upholstery cleaner
product# 05424
Again the best I have ever used.
For decreasing anything,
"Super Clean" product #101723
Available at most big box stores
I have lost count of the number of products I've tried over the years and as we all know there is no substitute for experience.
What is required are products that one can swear by, not at!
Pit Crew

@4wheel2wheel One old guy to another - I’ve used Aerokroil now for about 20 years. It is so good, I han’t bothered to try SILIKROIL..I’ll give it a try next time.

Best Metal Polish -NUVITE NUSHINE II Metal Polish. Grade S for final finishes. Grade A for polished surfaces that have light oxidization…(final finish with Grade S).
There is nothing better…1/4 lb. jar will last a couple years & worth every penny for the time and effort saved.
Intermediate Driver

There are some people who might use duct tape. It is fundamental to racecars. To remove duct tape adhesive, and more, 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner is very good.
Intermediate Driver

Two more chemicals I use regularly over 50 years as owner/driver of antique and classic cars that are irregularly driven are: 1) Marvel mystery oil - added to oil- to quiet and clean the hydraulic valve lifters and hollow push-rods (It saves lifter replacement), 2) fuel system cleaner to clean carb jets, passages, fuel injectors, intake valves, spark plugs, and carbon build-up in combustion chambers. (Hint: Berrymans is the oldest and best in my tested experience). These chemicals work and save a lot of remedy-effort.