Is bulb grease necessary? (installing turn-signal and headlight bulbs)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by kalrith, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. kalrith

    kalrith Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    7
    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?
     
  2. Demon-Xanth

    Demon-Xanth Lifer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2000
    Messages:
    20,551
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  3. BW86

    BW86 Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    13,054
    Likes Received:
    15
    I've never used bulb grease
     
  4. kalrith

    kalrith Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    7
    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.
     
  5. DivideBYZero

    DivideBYZero Lifer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2001
    Messages:
    24,119
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you don't use bulb grease the blinker fluid will leak out.
     
  6. SnipeMasterJ13

    SnipeMasterJ13 Golden Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,005
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  7. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Messages:
    8,273
    Likes Received:
    28
    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.
     
  8. shabby

    shabby Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    5,725
    Likes Received:
    11
    Bingo...
     
  9. Evadman

    Evadman Administrator Emeritus<br>Elite Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Messages:
    30,990
    Likes Received:
    3
    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.
     
  10. soydios

    soydios Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,710
    Likes Received:
    0
    wouldn't Vaseline work just fine too?
     
  11. Evadman

    Evadman Administrator Emeritus<br>Elite Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Messages:
    30,990
    Likes Received:
    3
    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.
     
  12. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    24,974
    Likes Received:
    327
    Nothing in any of my owner's manuals about using dielectric grease on any of the bulbs.
     
  13. HannibalX

    HannibalX Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    9,362
    Likes Received:
    1
    Complete engineering schematics and complex repair procedures are also not in there, must not be needed.
     
  14. Zargon

    Zargon Lifer

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    12,245
    Likes Received:
    0

    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
     
  15. Gillbot

    Gillbot Lifer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    28,785
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.
     
  16. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    24,974
    Likes Received:
    327
    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. :D
     
  17. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    24,974
    Likes Received:
    327
    Okay! :D

    Seafoam isn't in there either. Better buy a case! :D
     
  18. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Lifer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    16,833
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dielectric grease is an insulator
     
  19. JulesMaximus

    JulesMaximus No Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Messages:
    72,814
    Likes Received:
    243
    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!!!
     
    #19 JulesMaximus, Jan 19, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  20. JulesMaximus

    JulesMaximus No Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Messages:
    72,814
    Likes Received:
    243
    I thought it was a lubricator...you know, to lubricate the electrical current so that it flows better. ;)
     
  21. Gillbot

    Gillbot Lifer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    28,785
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.
     
  22. nwfsnake

    nwfsnake Senior member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    0
    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!
     
  23. kalrith

    kalrith Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    7
    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?
     
  24. Zargon

    Zargon Lifer

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    12,245
    Likes Received:
    0
    yes they are pretty necessary on the spark plug boots if you plan on taking them off nicely the next time they come off


    where do you live? outside of the rustbelt?
     
  25. SpatiallyAware

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    12,960
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.