On this page we highlight some of what we’ve learned about the lubrication of automotive electrical components – knowledge that comes from working with OEMs and world-class Tier One suppliers.
First, the advantages of lubricating electrical connectors are explained…
Have a electrical or electronic connector that is experiencing fretting corrosion, water ingress/moisture ingress, corrosion? Looking to reduce the mating or insertion forces for your connector? Read on to find out the benefits of using a connector lubricant.
Prevents fretting corrosion.
In addition to atmospheric corrosion, tin/lead connectors are also subject to “fretting corrosion,” the result of low amplitude vibration caused by thermal expansion and contraction or nearby motion, as from fans, motors or merely opening and closing a cabinet door. Fretting corrosion continually exposes fresh layers of metal surface to oxidation. A lubricant film minimises metal-to-metal contact during vibration, protecting the connector from metal wear.
Guards against corrosion.
Lubricants guard against oxidation and the effects of harsh environments. With gold-plated connectors this means protection against substrate corrosion. Thin gold plating can be microscopically porous; and a thin film of lubricant can seal the pores, prevent substrate attack and assure low contact resistance.
Some of the products in the range are water resistant and can even prevent even salt water ingress. In addition to helping the electrical or electronic connector resist water, some of the connector grease can resist hazardous gases and high temperature/extreme environments.
Reduces friction, eases mating.
A thin film of lubricant can reduce mating force by as much as 80 percent, an important factor in connector assembly. For electronic connectors with dozens or even hundreds of pins, or for automotive connectors that are in hard-to-reach places, a low insertion force makes assembly more efficient and ensures solid connections. For gold-plated connectors an effective lubricant reduces the potential for noble metal wear during mating and separation.
For more information on connector lubricant, check out the Connector Lubricants page.
When electromechanical sensors or potentiometers break contact, signal is lost. To ensure continuous contact, choose a low-viscosity fluorinated lubricant. A more viscous lubricant may cause the contact to hydroplane, instead of remaining in contact with the resistor. Sensor lubricants should exhibit low viscosity at -40°C and pour points should approach -90°C to guard against lubricant thickening at low temperatures. We suggest: UniFlor 8511.
Fuel level sensors represent a singular lubrication challenge given their turbulent environment. A 10% dispersion of a perfluoroether lubricant in a perfluoroalkane solvent, either dipped or brushed onto the surface of the contact, deposits a thin, uniform, long-lasting coating of grease across the resistive ink. We suggest: NyeTact 571H-10 (please get in contact if interested).
Contacts in starters, head lamps, high-beams and other high-current switches are known for high-temperature arcing. Although they reach extreme temperatures for only a nanosecond, the copper tends to oxidise where the arc occurred. While no lubricant can survive arcing temperatures, glycol oils burn clean in the presence of an arc rather than leaving a resistive varnish. They do not form oxides that compromise electrical conductivity. We suggest: NyoGel 782G. In the course of accelerated life testing, turn-signal switches may reach temperatures of 150°C or higher at the contact. Fluoroether-based lubricants have shown to prevent wear and maintain signal strength in this environment. We suggest: UniFlor 8511
Medium-duty switches accommodate loads in the 1-10 amp range. Applications include switches for exhaust fan speed, rear window defroster, and windshield wipers, as well as windows, seats and door locks. A lithium-soap-thickened ester grease with a copper corrosion inhibitor is recommended. We suggest: Rheolube 716A
Small switches with lightly loaded contacts often operate in extreme temperatures. To combat cold, a lithium soap-thickened, synthetic hydrocarbon grease rated to -40°C is recommended. Where temperatures are expected to exceed 150°C, a medium-viscosity fluorinated grease has proven successful. We suggest: Rheolube 362HT, NyeTact 571H-10 (please get in contact if interested).
Mechanical damping greases improve the perceived quality of hand-operated mechanical switch components. These “sticky” greases absorb loose fits. The viscosity of these greases can be varied to give the switch a wide variety of acoustic and tactile characteristics. We suggest one of the various viscosities from the NyoGel 774 or Fluorocarbon Gel 868 range. If interested in Damping Grease, take a look at the Damping Grease page.
Uniflor 8511£56.35 excluding VAT Select options
Rheotemp 768G£30.70 excluding VAT Select options
Rheotemp 761G£29.20 excluding VAT Select options
Rheolube 716A£19.50 excluding VAT Select options
Rheolube 362HT£32.50 excluding VAT Select options
NyoGel 782G£21.80 – £35.10 excluding VAT Select options
Fluorocarbon Gel 868VH£15.00 – £61.00 excluding VAT Select options
Fluorocarbon Gel 868H£36.54 – £39.35 excluding VAT Select options
Fluorocarbon Gel 868£61.44 excluding VAT Select options
Fluorocarbon Gel 868L£38.40 excluding VAT Select options
Fluorocarbon Gel 868VL£57.15 – £61.00 excluding VAT Select options
NyoGel 774VH£31.30 excluding VAT Select options
NyoGel 774H£110.00 excluding VAT Select options
NyoGel 774£37.35 – £124.95 excluding VAT Select options
NyoGel 774VL£194.70 excluding VAT Select options
NyoGel 760G£15.90 – £49.50 excluding VAT Select options