We’ve all been there, at one point or another, trying to open the lock to our homes wondering if indeed we’re using the right key, or by our cars, trying to insert or remove the car key to open the car door, hoping no one is thinking we’re about to hijack the car. It’s frustrating, I know.
During those moments we sometimes go unorthodox and make mental notes to pour a little bit of cooking oil or lotion into the lock. When we do, the locks end up rusting or even getting worse; we forget we could purchase lock penetrating oils, manufactured specifically for locks. Locks mostly need no lubrication, but they can be used dry over very long periods of time. Some locks usually prosper from a bit of lubrication once in a very long while.
Because of this, a little amount of graphite powder is most likely best, depending on the use. Silicone lubricates well and provides a slick coat of protection which repels water and further rusting but doesn’t last very long. Although, too much graphite may build up inside the lock and render it inoperative if you apply it a lot. The graphite lubrication might not be good for modern cars because the locks have electrical contacts that can go buggy on you, that’s why it might not be recommended for automotive locks. Graphite is not ideal in a moist climate, because then it actually does attract dirt. It seems to work well in dry climate.
Also, not very much powdered graphite is necessary to lube the lock properly. You wouldn’t want to get the key greasy each time you lock or unlock your car. Amongst the oil-based lubricants, white lithium grease consolidates too much during winter to be suitable. Penetrating oils vaporize more quickly than silicone lubricants. Mineral oils persist longer than penetrating oils, but quickly evaporate, sometimes leaving residuum behind and possibly causing unwanted dust to cause more impairment inside of the lock. Waxes, like lithium grease, solidify during the winter to be considered entirely useful.
A versatile multi-use penetrant can also be applied to bolts screws and nuts that have rusted in machinery or tools. Creaky door hinges can be lubricated so you don’t have to cringe when you’re opening the door to grab some midnight snacks.
These penetrating lubricants are available as aerosols which is a very convenient form of applying liquid substances because they are fast penetrating solvents and don’t leave any oily residue behind. There are some lubricants with alcohol which melt the ice in the locks, of course during winter, but if your keys ever drop in the snow, don’t forget to dry it off before inserting your key into the lock.
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