Do You Need to Lubricate Door Locks and Hinges?

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Any moving component requires some sort of lubrication - especially door locks and hinges. Door locks and hinges on cars, trucks and SUV's get a lot of use and can wear out over time. Proper lubrication on the locks and hinges of doors helps extend their life and use, reduce rusting, and decrease the possibility or mechanical failure and expensive repairs.

The door locks and hinges are some of the most neglected parts on a vehicle. Although today's vehicles are typically assembled with parts that have a special coating to reduce the potential of rust and contamination, they still are made of metal. By the time you realize they need care, they are often already causing problems, such as sticking or failing to open and close.

However, proper application of recommended lubricants on the locks and car door hinges can prevent issues in the future.

The Type of Lubricant to Use

The lubricant you will use on the car locks and hinges will depend on the material that the lock is made from. Most hinges are made from steel or aluminum. In general, there are four different types of lubricants that should be used.

  • White lithium grease is a thicker grease that repels water, which is a main cause for rust and corrosion. It clings to the places where you apply it and holds up to harsh conditions, such as rain and snow. It is designed to work on metal parts, such as hinges and latches.
  • WD-40 is a lubricant used for many household items as well as car parts. It is designed for light-duty lubrication or to unstick areas. It can help remove rust on car hinges and latches.
  • Silicone spray is gentler and lubricates areas that contain non-metal parts. It is safe for use on nylon, plastic and other materials. Use it for light lubrication.
  • Graphite lubricant is the choice for locks because it doesn’t attract dust and dirt, which can damage the locking mechanism.

Specific Use of Lubricants for Hinges and Locks

On most hinges, a penetrating lubricant like WD-40 is safe to use on older, steel hinges. On modern cars, specialized lubricants made specifically for hinges like white lithium grease is best. Graphite lubricant is recommended for car door locks because it won’t attract dust like oils do, which could damage the delicate components of the lock.

Silicone spray is ideal for plastic or nylon (or metal when only a small amount is needed). White lithium grease is a popular choice for metal parts, such as hinges. It helps to repel water and lasts longer in harsher conditions. It isn’t recommended for plastic or other materials besides metal because it is too harsh. Graphite lubricant comes in a tube. All you need to do is squirt a small amount into the door locks. Don’t forget to lubricate the trunk lock as well.

Lubricating your vehicle hinges and locks only takes a few minutes and can be done two or three times a year. You can also ask a professional mechanic to take care of this job as part of ongoing maintenance to your vehicle. By maintaining your vehicle properly, you can prevent many of the repair issues that occur as the result of long-term or regular use.


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Jonathan

33 years of experience
360 reviews
Jonathan
33 years of experience
Ford Escape - Check Engine Light is on - Tampa, Florida
Jonathan was awesome! He was prompt and efficient. He explained everything that he was doing and showed me the readouts on his tablet. I asked a million questions and he answered every one. I was so pleased with the service that he is going to come back and do my brakes!
Honda Civic - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Port Richey, Florida
Jon is the best!!!!

Matthew

31 years of experience
639 reviews
Matthew
31 years of experience
Ford Explorer - Window Motor / Regulator Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Rear) - Hampton, Virginia
Very pleased!!!
Dodge Stratus - Control Arm Assembly Replacement (Rear Upper Right) - Norfolk, Virginia
Got some work done on my car after the diagnostic. It was estimated that the repair would take 3 hours, and it only took Matt 1 hour! He knew of a faster method of fixing my car, and I have not had any problems since. He gives detailed explanations of what he was doing and why. He welcomes questions and encourages people to ask him for advice whenever. Great guy to have a conversation with as well.

Joseph

16 years of experience
115 reviews
Joseph
16 years of experience
Nissan Maxima - Alternator - Bel Air, Maryland
Joseph is courteous, punctual, very detailed oriented. Takes time and effort to get the job done correctly! Will discuss any issues with you in an open and honest manner. Highly recommend!!
Dodge Ram 1500 - Valve Cover Gasket - Pikesville, Maryland
The experience was very different from what I as have been experiencing with other mechanic. It was a good experience. Thank you so much.

Khoa

18 years of experience
360 reviews
Khoa
18 years of experience
Mazda CX-5 - Lubricate Trunk - Sunnyvale, California
No issues with the basic work. But this was supposed to be a 25k mile maintainance. Instead it was just a tire rotation and oil change. He did not check tire pressure (turns out the sensor was broken which I had to figure out myself). And cabin air filter needed replacing (any regular maintainance should have spotted that).

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