Can I run a modern car on rubbing alcohol?

Say I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere and I need a gallon or so of fuel to get me to next gas station and all I’ve got are 24 bottles of running alcohol. In an emergency will a gallon of isopropyl rubbing alcohol burn OK in a modern car engine or will the water content damage the engine or fail to burn?

>> all I’ve got are 24 bottles of running alcohol

If it’s “running”, first you have to catch it. Whether the car would run at all I am not sure but I doubt it would run well.

Modern cars with all their computers and sensors and what not (boy, I sound like I grew up in the days of classic cars when I say it like that) probably wouldn’t run well at all. They would notice a problem, especially with the exahust (the O2 sensor) and would try to adjust for it and probably cause more problems. My shop teacher had a small one cylinder engine with a clear combustion chamber so you could see everything happening which he ran on regular isopropyl alcohol though. It actually could use half alcohol and half water.

Well, you could always give it a try astro. What kind of car is this?

Not all rubbing alcohols are the same.

I never took any chemistry in HS or college (yep…duh) but I think it would depend on the actual composition of the alcohol in question. Octane rating is important in that the fuel won’t spontaneously ignite due to compression. IOW if you throw it in and it has a low octane rating, it could ignite whether or not the piston was at the correct position or whether or not the spark plug fired, which could seriously damage the engine.

I think it’s (meaning ethanol alcohol, not isopropyl) already an additive to try and make gas burn cleaner, but I’m not sure about the chemical differences between the two.

WAG: the pure isopropyl wouldn’t burn well, and may actually “wash” the cylinder walls, maybe cause scoring from the rings, which in turn, may wash into the crankcase and oil below, thereby screwing the lubricating properties of the oil…thereby fucking the whole engine. :eek:

Oops…too fast.

IOW I wouldn’t “give it a try.”