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Lithium grease vs silicone grease

Unless they are something you use everyday, or at least every weekend, it can be difficult to know when to use silicone grease versus lithium grease. Here are their strengths and weaknesses compared to one another.  So let’s take a look at lithium grease vs silicone grease.

Although they are sometimes interchangeable, the important thing to remember is that lithium grease is not for plastics but it’s better for metals. Silicone grease is compatible with plastics.

Plastic compatibility: Lithium grease is not for plastics

Lithium grease vs silicone grease

Lithium grease excels at metal-to-metal applications to reduce wear and squeaking. But it will attack the plastic and cause it to degrade, so use silicone grease on plastic.

If you are a lubricating a surfaces that involve plastic, use silicone grease. This includes things like drawer slides on furniture, and sometimes computer parts, such as rails inside floppy drives. Lithium grease will cause plastic to degrade over time, which defeats the purpose since the whole point of lubricating these parts is to make them last longer. Silicone grease is safe for plastics, protecting them from wear while not attacking the plastic itself.

I’ve made this mistake myself, so that’s why I emphasize it.

If you remember nothing else from reading this, remember to use silicone grease for plastic.

Metal to metal connections

When lubricating points where metal comes into contact with metal, use lithium grease. Lithium grease does a much better job of lubricating and protecting metal from wear.

Silicone grease is better than nothing, and it won’t damage the metal so you can use it in a pinch, but lithium will do a better job.

Battery terminals

Traditionally, dielectric grease, the grease we put on car battery terminals to keep them from corroding, is silicone grease. So when you need to protect the terminals on a car battery, you can’t go wrong with silicone grease. Just go easy on it. It doesn’t take much to protect the terminals, and it doesn’t take much more to cause problems.
However, lithium grease also can serve the same purpose. So if you need to change a car battery, and lithium grease is all you have, you can use it. Just follow the same rule, using it sparingly.

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