Cars don’t require dielectric grease to function, but it can help extend the life of your vehicle. While it is great for protecting parts of your vehicle, it can also be quite expensive.
Let’s look into alternatives to dielectric grease that can save you money and still allow you to reap the benefits of the helpful substance.
The best substitute for dielectric grease is silicone grease, as it shares many of the same properties and benefits at a lower price. You can also consider synthetic grease or powdered graphite as reliable substitutes. In a pinch, Vaseline can get you through as well.
In this article, we’ll discuss these alternatives and answer some common questions.
1. Silicone Grease
Due to their similarity, we recommend silicone grease as a great substitute for dielectric grease. The two types of grease have many similarities, which allow you to reap the benefits of dielectric grease without the substantial price.
Silicone grease shares many characteristics with dielectric grease. For example, they both can tolerate high temperatures. This ability to withstand heat is very important for many of the different uses for dielectric grease, especially engines.
Dielectric grease can withstand heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius), while silicone grease can withstand about 600 degrees Fahrenheit (315.5 degrees Celsius).
Much like dielectric, silicone grease is resistant to water, so it will not wash away once you apply it. This is especially important for your vehicle as parts of your car will get wet. This helps maintain reliable connections even through the rain, as it will not wash away.
Silicone grease also does not conduct electricity. This makes it safe to use, but it doesn’t interfere with the electric conductivity of wherever you use it. So, you don’t need to worry about any issues or interference because it isn’t conductive.
Besides the price, one major difference between these two greases is the consistency. Silicone grease is a little thicker than dielectric grease. While this thickness is not enough to affect how well it will work for your needs, it can protect and lubricate parts well.
What Makes Silicone Grease a Good Substitute
- Cheaper than dielectric grease
- Can withstand high temperatures
- Not conducive
- Thicker than dielectric grease
If you need a substitute for dielectric grease that you probably already have at home, Vaseline will get you through.
We don’t recommend this for long-term use as it does not have some of the same characteristics as dielectric grease. However, in a pinch, Vaseline will do just fine.
Vaseline is notably flammable. So, some people choose to avoid Vaseline for things like this because it can give off flammable vapors when heated to a certain temperature.
While this is a valid concern, you must heat it over 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.4 degrees Celsius). Ideally, your car engine will run about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93.3 degrees Celsius), and Vaseline can certainly keep up with your car’s heat.
One reason that you need to be careful using Vaseline to replace dielectric grease is the melting point. Vaseline will melt and become a liquid at about 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
That doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful, but you need to prepare for this by applying more and monitoring how well it’s working.
If you are considering using Vaseline as a grease for your bike, there are some other important characteristics to know. We go into more detail about that in our article “Can You Use Vaseline As Bike Grease?” So, check out this article for some great information on Vaseline as a bike grease.
What Makes Vaseline a Good Substitute
- Only flammable at very high temps
- Great lubricant
3. Synthetic Grease
We recommend synthetic grease if you want a decent replacement for dielectric grease that you may not have lying around but can last for a while. Unlike Vaseline, synthetic grease won’t melt on you. So, once you apply it, you won’t have to check up on it.
One of the main characteristics of synthetic grease is its ability to withstand high temperatures.
This makes it great to use just about anywhere, but especially in seals around the engine block where some other options can’t outlast the mixture of water and oil combined with heat.
There are certainly more benefits to using this dielectric grease alternative. Synthetic grease is great if you want maximum lubrication.
It allows machines to work better and quieter than other types of grease. It can also help prevent corrosion and protect just about anything from moisture.
Synthetic grease contains no petroleum-based ingredients. This means you will not have to deal with melting or flammable vapors.
Due to its thickness, it also won’t slow down machinery like petroleum. Synthetic grease is a great alternative to dielectric grease without the risk that some other options pose.
Why Synthetic Grease
- Withstands high temperatures
- Maximum lubrication
- Not flammable
- Protects against water and corrosion
4. Powdered Graphite
You may not immediately consider powdered graphite as a reasonable substitute for dielectric grease. However, it can make your life a lot easier.
Not only does it mix well with other lubricants, but it can also stand alone to help reduce friction and prevent wear and tear.
Powdered graphite is non-conductive, which makes it safe to use for whatever you need. It has a very high-temperature resistance at about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit (648.8 degrees Celsius).
This substitute works best in extreme heat situations, and it can lubricate even in high-temperature environments.
One downside to using this powder is that it may not reach all the tight spots that a liquid can. In these situations, you may want to mix the graphite powder with another lubricant to ensure that it can reach tight areas.
This substitute can also help you save money as a cheaper alternative to dielectric grease. Even mixing this with another lubricant is cheaper than the alternative.
Not only does powdered graphite work well in high-temperature situations, but it can save you money.
Benefits of Powdered Graphite as a Substitute
- Can mix with other lubricants
- Handles very high temperatures
- Reduces friction and corrosion
Why Use Dielectric Grease?
While dielectric grease is not a requirement for your car, it has many benefits. It creates a seal for electrical connections that can help it last longer. It prevents corrosion and leakage in ignition systems.
It also acts as a lubricant to help keep the machinery running smoothly without lag or friction causing problems.
You will commonly see mechanics use dielectric grease for spark plugs because it works so well at high temperatures and keeps moisture away.
It creates a reliable seal, even with those high temperatures, that can keep water out and allow electrical connections to flow without interruption.
Benefits of Using Dielectric Grease
- Protects from water damage
- Stops overheating
- Helps with voltage leakage
- Prevents rust and corrosion
- Keeps dirt and debris out of electrical connectors
- Allows machines to last longer
Are There Downsides to Using Dielectric Grease?
While there are many reasons you should use it, dielectric grease can have downsides if not used properly. This grease can ruin silicone-based rubbers or plastics over time. It can cause them to break down, crack, or swell due to their silicone properties.
Another major downside to using dielectric grease is that you can use too much of it. It can become too thick if you use too much of it and can clog parts of your engine. In this case, your car may not start as it can interrupt the connection.
What Are Some Common Places to Use Dielectric Grease?
- Protecting fuse boxes
- Battery terminals
- Electrical connectors
- Bulb sockets
- Connecting spark plugs
While these are the most common uses, you can use dielectric grease for many different things. While you need to be careful how much you use, it can help parts run smoother and last longer.
How Do You Use Dielectric Grease?
First, dielectric grease does not conduct electricity. So, you must avoid adding it directly to the sockets, as this will interrupt the connection.
Anytime you add this around an electrical connection, you need to apply it carefully to avoid interruptions to the connection. This is why using too much of the product can also be harmful.
Remember, dielectric grease should protect electrical connections, not interfere with them. So, stick to the outer area using a small amount when applying.
On a spark plug, apply this grease on the end of the rubber boot. You can spread it around the edge of the spark plug to ensure it reaches as much of the surface as possible.
Dielectric grease may not be a requirement for all cars, but it has a ton of benefits. Unfortunately, the high price can turn some people away. That’s why we have some great substitutions here for you to consider.
If you have more questions or want to want to make sure you do it right, check with a local mechanic before making any major changes to your vehicle.