Dielectric grease is a silicone-based grease to prevent corrosion on electrical connectors and creating a barrier between the metal and the elements. We’ve all heard the name or seen it somewhere in most electrical or auto parts stores. Though what is it actually for? Most people tend to think it’s just like silicone grease with a different name or something similar, but it’s actually not. Despite the fact that it has “electric” in its name, it’s actually an insulating material that isn’t capable of conducting electricity.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve got a broken taillight. Sometimes replacing the bulb isn’t the solution and that’s because in rare cases the electrical connector might have become corroded beyond repair. The solution? You guessed it. Thanks to the fact that dielectric grease is non-curing, meaning it retains the same grease-like consistency throughout its lifespan.
It’s soft enough to allow the grease to separate away from two electrical connectors to make good contact and create a seal around it to stop air, water, and other elements from getting in contact with the surface of the metal. If left unprotected, worn out and oxidated electrical connectors can cause you to lose voltage in a best-case scenario. However, in a worse-case situation, it can increase heat dissipation which in turn can melt plastic and even cause sparks which can turn into a fire.
There is a reason why most high end vehicles and electrical equipment come with dielectric grease out the box. It is an inexpensive and long-lasting solution that can save critical components from short-circuiting or even catching on fire in the worse situations possible.
What are the benefits of dielectric grease?
One of the key benefits of dielectric grease is that thanks to its insulating properties. It can prevent arching between any air-gapped metal. In high voltage scenarios, this can help reduce voltage leakage and can help prolong the lifespan of pretty much any electrical component.
Other benefits of dielectric grease are:
- Protection against corrosion
- Improved electrical connections
- Ease of disassembly
- Temperature resistance
Dielectric grease should be used in the correct amount to ensure a good electrical contact and not to impede the connection. Don’t use too much and don’t use too little. And also it should be compatible with the materials used in the connector.
How can you use dielectric grease?
Just some of the applications of dielectric grease include battery terminal, spark plug boots, light bulb connectors and so much more. If you happen to be replacing an electrical component in your vehicle, house, or whatever. It can save you a massive headache in the future if you properly grease all your fittings and connectors with some dielectric grease.
To use dielectric grease, you can follow these steps:
- Clean the surfaces of the connectors to remove any dirt, dust, or other contaminants.
- Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the connector surfaces. Be sure to use only a small amount, as too much can create a barrier that prevents good electrical contact.
- Gently spread the grease around the surfaces of the connectors to ensure an even coat.
- Mate the connectors together, making sure they are fully seated and locked in place.
- Wipe off any excess grease that may have squeezed out during the connection process.
Dielectric grease is not intended to be used as a lubricant to ease the connection of the parts, but as a protection against humidity and other environmental factors that can affect the connector’s performance over time.
Where to put dielectric grease on a spark plug?
Dielectric grease can be applied to the spark plug’s threads and the inside of the spark plug boot to improve the electrical connection and prevent corrosion.
Here are the steps to put grease on the spark plug:
- Clean the spark plug’s threads and the inside of the spark plug boot with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dirt, dust, or other contaminants.
- Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the spark plug’s threads, making sure to coat them evenly.
- Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the inside of the spark plug boot, again making sure to coat it evenly.
- Carefully install the spark plug into the engine, being sure to tighten it to the proper torque specification.
- Wipe off any excess grease that may have squeezed out during the installation process.
Dielectric grease can help prevent corrosion and improve the electrical connection of the spark plug, it is not a substitute for proper installation and regular maintenance of the spark plugs.
Alternatives to dielectric grease
There are several alternatives that can also be used if you have no dielectric grease available. These include:
- Petroleum jelly
- Silicone grease
- High-Temperature grease
- Anti-seize Compound
Some of these alternatives may not provide the same level of protection as dielectric grease and may not be suitable for all types of electrical connections.
What is dielectric grease made from?
Dielectric grease is made from a combination of materials, including a silicone base, mineral oil, and various other additives. The specific composition of dielectric grease may vary depending on the manufacturer and the intended application.
The silicone base of dielectric grease provides the grease with good electrical insulation properties and resistance to high temperatures. The mineral oil is used as a lubricant to help improve the electrical connection between surfaces and to help prevent seizing or binding of the parts.
The other additives in dielectric grease can include various types of thickening agents, such as silica, to help the grease maintain its consistency over time. Some dielectric greases also contain other ingredients such as rust inhibitors, antioxidants, and anti-wear agents which can provide additional protection to the electrical connections.
It is important to note that the composition of dielectric grease can vary widely between brands and products, so it is important to check the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations when choosing a dielectric grease to ensure that it is suitable for the intended application.