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Old 01-19-2010, 02:30 PM   #1
kalrith
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Default Is bulb grease necessary? (installing turn-signal and headlight bulbs)

One of my turn signals went out, so I picked up a new on at AutoZone. As I was checking out, he asked if I wanted to buy bulb grease for it. I figured it was one of their high-profit, useless items that they try to sell, so I declined. I searched online and found conflicting information regarding its merit.

So, what do that AT Garage gurus think about bulb grease?
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:37 PM   #2
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Necessary? No. Snake oil? No. Do I use it? No.

The point of it is to basically keep water out. If you were putting bulbs in the back of a boat trailer or went mudding I'd say they're a good idea.
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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I've never used bulb grease
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon-Xanth View Post
Necessary? No. Snake oil? No.
That's kind of what I thought after reading online. It might possibly in some situations extend the life of a bulb.

I've installed lots of bulbs without grease before too, but I wanted to double-check with you guys before installing this next round of bulbs.
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:09 PM   #5
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If you don't use bulb grease the blinker fluid will leak out.
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:17 PM   #6
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I've used it for the lights on my truck's visor. As stated above, it helps keep water out, keeping corrosion to a minimum. It's not like it's super expensive, either. If you have some go for it, if not and you just want the job done it's not that big of a deal.
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:33 PM   #7
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I use it and it helps to keep the contacts clean. It is suggested by most car makers and most mechanics. It won't hurt and is not costly.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DivideBYZero View Post
If you don't use bulb grease the blinker fluid will leak out.
Bingo...
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:24 PM   #9
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It is a dialectic and prevents corrosion, which sucks to clean out. It is very cheap, there isn't a reason to use it besides cost.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:45 PM   #10
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wouldn't Vaseline work just fine too?
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
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wouldn't Vaseline work just fine too?
That melts at a very low temp.

Dielectric grease should be used on all electrical contacts (spark plugs, connectors, bulbs, sensor connectors, etc). It costs like $1 for all you will ever need for the life of your car.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:35 PM   #12
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Nothing in any of my owner's manuals about using dielectric grease on any of the bulbs.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Nothing in any of my owner's manuals about using dielectric grease on any of the bulbs.
Complete engineering schematics and complex repair procedures are also not in there, must not be needed.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Nothing in any of my owner's manuals about using dielectric grease on any of the bulbs.

if you have ever worked on anything more than 10 years old, you would appreciate anyone who spent the penny per conenctor/bulb that it costs to use dilectric grease

its used alot more on stuff on bikes due to the added weather vulnerabilities and works wonders
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:02 PM   #15
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depends on the car, on my wife's old Trans Am, it was absolutely needed but on my Camaro it isn't. If you suspect even the smallest amount of water can get in, use it otherwise you'll regret it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zargon View Post
if you have ever worked on anything more than 10 years old, you would appreciate anyone who spent the penny per conenctor/bulb that it costs to use dilectric grease

its used alot more on stuff on bikes due to the added weather vulnerabilities and works wonders
I own a 1995 Taurus with 54K miles on it. Never used the grease, never had a bulb problem.

I recently traded my 1997 Z24 with 45K miles on it. Same story.

Have a 1996 Lumina company car with 48K miles on it. Same story.

Had all cars since they were new.

Never had a reason to use the stuff, except on spark plug boots.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iFX View Post
Complete engineering schematics and complex repair procedures are also not in there, must not be needed.
Okay!

Seafoam isn't in there either. Better buy a case!
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evadman View Post
That melts at a very low temp.

Dielectric grease should be used on all electrical contacts (spark plugs, connectors, bulbs, sensor connectors, etc). It costs like $1 for all you will ever need for the life of your car.
Dielectric grease is an insulator
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:32 PM   #19
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I bought a small tube of this stuff probably a decade ago and still have plenty left. I use it when changing bulbs or when working on my motorcycle and I've taken apart electrical connectors. Can't hurt and some of the wires on my old Honda were really bad and frequently shorted out when I bought it, clean up the connector and put a little dielectric grease on there an they never gave me any trouble after that.

ZOMG!!! You wasted $1 on a tiny tube of dielectric grease! You must be the dumbest person on teh planet!!!
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Dielectric grease is an insulator
I thought it was a lubricator...you know, to lubricate the electrical current so that it flows better.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:04 PM   #21
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I always use it, as stated previously "it's cheap" and it's harder and more costly to replace a socket than use $1 bulb grease.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:06 AM   #22
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As most have said, it is optional, especially for connections that never get wet. However, it is necessary for trailer lights that get submerged when launching water craft or any other electrical connection that has the chance of getting wet. Use liberally in these cases!
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:41 AM   #23
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Hmmm...well, I guess it won't hurt to spend $1 on the stuff. I'm always skeptical of things I haven't heard of before, especially if a salesman is trying to push them on me.

The one they had at AutoZone was one of those little packets with only .14 oz. in it for $1.19. They have a 3 oz. resealable tube of dielectric grease for $6. I'm thinking about just getting the tube and having enough for many different installations. What do you guys think of that?

Also, it was mentioned to use the grease on spark-plug boots. Is that correct? I'm going to replace the plugs and wires in my car in the near future. Do I just need a little blob of grease for each connection?
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:50 AM   #24
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yes they are pretty necessary on the spark plug boots if you plan on taking them off nicely the next time they come off

Quote:
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
I own a 1995 Taurus with 54K miles on it. Never used the grease, never had a bulb problem.

I recently traded my 1997 Z24 with 45K miles on it. Same story.

Have a 1996 Lumina company car with 48K miles on it. Same story.

Had all cars since they were new.

Never had a reason to use the stuff, except on spark plug boots.

where do you live? outside of the rustbelt?
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:24 AM   #25
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Ok, for cars dielectric grease isn't really "required" (although if you had a bulb that was always blowing due to moisture it would help) but I bought a big tube (which has lasted through 5-6 motorcycles, bunch of cars, friends cars/bikes, etc) and use it on everything.

It's much more important for motorcycles imo, where dirt and crud gets thrown everywhere.
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