Several test programs have shown that the combustion of methanol in spark ignition engines can cause unusually high corrosive wear of the upper cylinder bore and ring areas. In this study, a 2.3-liter engine fueled with methanol was operated in a nitrogen-free atmosphere to determine the importance of nitric acid in the corrosion mechanism. A 20-hour steady-state test was carried out using neat methanol as the fuel and a mixture of oxygen, argon, and carbon dioxide in place of air. Only trace amounts of NOx and nitric acid were found in the exhaust products during this test. The wear, indicated by iron buildup in the lubricant, was found to be essentially the same in the nitrogen-free test as that detected in baseline engine tests combusting methanol-air mixtures. It was concluded that nitric acid does not play a role in the corrosion mechanism.