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Dielectric grease is a lubricant that repels moisture to keep electrical connectors and parts from corroding. It’s typically made of silicone or similar non-conductive materials. In automobiles, the lubricant is mainly applied to spark plug boots, wires, and light bulbs. But can you use dielectric grease on battery terminals?
Although not essential, you can apply a layer of dielectric grease to your battery terminals to prevent corrosion and extend their lifespan. It creates a barrier between the metal surfaces and the surrounding environment. This can come in handy, especially in areas with high humidity levels or where salt is present.
However, a few downsides do exist. Here’s what you should know about using dielectric grease and how to use it properly on battery terminals.
What Is Dielectric Grease?
Dielectric grease is a non-conductive, silicone-based lubricant. It’s used to protect electrical connections and components from corrosion. Because of its water-repelling properties, many also use it to keep moisture out of connectors.
The substance works by creating a physical barrier between two surfaces. The grease coats one of the surfaces and acts as a shield against outside elements such as water, dust, and salt.
When applied to battery terminals, it forms a layer of protection against corrosion and prevents other chemicals from contacting them.
Is Dielectric Grease Conductive?
Despite the ‘electric’ in its name, dielectric grease does not conduct electricity. It barely allows electrical interference. Hence, it needs no telling that it won’t improve electrical current flow in any way despite some beliefs otherwise.
It’s also why you shouldn’t apply it to sockets or pins that need to make a solid connection. Too much dielectric grease can compromise the quality of the connection.
Can You Use Dielectric Grease on Battery Terminals?
Although it is not necessary, you can use dielectric grease on battery connections to stop corrosion. A layer of dielectric grease on your battery terminals forms a protective barrier. This way, you can prevent moisture, dirt, and other particles from coming into contact with the terminals and causing corrosion.
Many oppose this idea because battery terminals tend to have high-current connections. Additionally, using dielectric grease on battery connections can interrupt the flow of power and frequently result in poor performance. Besides, the substance can clog the connections and result in lower-than-optimal power output.
But one thing you can rest assured of is whether or not you use the lubricant on your battery terminal, the component should work just fine.
Why Should You Use Dielectric Grease on Battery Terminals?
Batteries are sure work with or without greasing on their terminals. But three reasons make the practice immensely useful for corrosion resistance and the long-term durability of the battery:
Prevents Gas from Escaping
When the battery overcharges to the extent that its sulfuric acid boils, the hydrogen gas starts to escape through the vent because of the pressure build-up. This eventually leads the terminal to corrode.
Dielectric grease, when applied to the battery terminal, acts as a sealant. It prevents gas from seeping out and corroding the terminal.
Stops Humidity Condensation
The second reason to use grease on your battery terminal is to protect it against humidity and dust. Humid weather continues to cause the terminal’s components to oxidize.
Dielectric grease, with its water-repelling nature, creates a barrier between the terminal and moisture in the air and thus prevents corrosion.
Protects Rubber and Plastic Parts
Plastics and rubber components in electrical equipment are prone to deteriorating under the influence of chemicals. Sulfuric acid, being a highly corrosive substance, tends to break down these materials. Dielectric grease provides a physical barrier between the chemicals and these materials, thereby, protecting them.
How to Use Dielectric Grease on Battery Terminals?
If you’ve decided to use dielectric grease on battery terminals, here’s how to apply it properly:
- Start by cleaning the battery terminals and posts with a wire brush to remove any rust.
- After cleaning the terminals, coat them with a thin layer of dielectric grease.
- Wipe the grease onto the battery terminals.
- Attach the terminals with a clamp and bolt them together tightly.
- The excess grease will squeeze out leaving a tight, secure connection.
Dielectric Grease Alternatives for Battery Terminals
If you fear the potential reduction in electrical current flow proves to be a deal-breaker, you can explore these four dielectric grease alternatives for your battery terminals:
Petroleum jelly makes a safe and effective dielectric grease alternative due to its similar properties to the latter. You can apply it in the same way as you would with the greasing substance. The only downside to using petroleum jelly is that it wears out quickly.
Anti-corrosive sprays are another potent dielectric grease alternative. They work by creating a thin layer of protection against corrosion. However, you should only use it on low-current connections to prevent disruptions.
Lithium grease does an excellent job removing moisture and air around battery terminals without compromising the connection quality. It’s also quite affordable, making it a great option if you’re looking for dielectric grease alternatives on a budget.
This grease alternative is commonly used on spark plugs to prevent seizing. You can use an anti-seize compound in a similar manner to dielectric grease or petroleum jelly. However, it’s not as humidity resistant as dielectric grease.
Read Also: Petroleum Jelly On Battery Terminals
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have answered some frequently asked questions related to dielectric grease and battery terminals:
Is It Safe to Use Dielectric Grease on Battery Terminals?
Yes, it’s safe to use dielectric grease on battery terminals. The substance is non-conductive, so it won’t cause any electrical issues. But as we’ve mentioned earlier, it can often impede the flow of the transferred electricity.
How Often Should You Grease Battery Terminals?
Greasing the battery terminals is a preventive measure. So, you should do it before the terminals start to corrode. But as a general rule of thumb, you should grease your battery terminals at least once a year.
Are Dielectric Grease and Silicone Grease the Same?
Dielectric grease is a variant of silicone grease. So, they share similar properties. However, dielectric grease is specifically designed for electrical purposes, whereas silicone grease can be used for a variety of tasks.
Does WD-40 Work as Dielectric Grease?
WD-40 is a multi-purpose spray that can be used as a lubricant, rust prevention agent, and degreaser. It can also be used as a dielectric grease alternative in a pinch. But we wouldn’t recommend using it regularly as it will eventually lead the connections to wear out.
Does Dielectric Grease Go Bad?
No, dielectric grease doesn’t go bad. The substance is designed to be long-lasting, so you can store it for a long time without worries.
The Bottom Line
Using dielectric grease on battery terminals is an effective way to protect your component from corrosion and deterioration. It’s also a great way to prevent electrical shorts. However, the substance can impede the flow of electricity, so use it sparingly, ideally once a year.
And if you’re worried about the potential power deficiency, you can make use of petroleum jelly, anti-corrosive spray, lithium grease, or an anti-seize compound. Still, we recommend checking your battery’s manual before using any of these substances to ensure compatibility.