Cleaning Contacts of Bulb Sockets

One of my 91 Civic LX's rear, side brake lights partly went out recently. Moving the bulb back and forth caused it to come on again. Then I found another socket and bulb where
this was happening.
Is there a clever way or tool to get some sand paper, a file, spray, or whatever into the socket to really scrape down the contacts and clean them?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Get a piece of wooden dowel small enough to get into the socket. Glue a pice of fine sandpaper to the end of it and cut it to fit the dowel's diameter. Interposing a thin sheet of foam between the dowe and the paper will allow the paper to flex a bit for more contact with the studs. Wrapping the sandpaper around the sides of the dowel will facilitate cleaning the base's sides was well.
Use a bendy drinking straw to blow the dust out without getting it in your face.
When reinstalling, smear a thin layer of white lithium grease all over the bulb's metal base before installing to retard further corrosion.
A handy tip: Don't use bare brass-based bulbs as commonly found in the aftermarket. It's worth it so seek out ones with the correct nickel-plated bases as they resist corrosion for longer.
Original Koito and Stanley bulbs can be obtained here: http://www.candlepowerinc.com / or www.danielsternlighting.com
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I just want to double check, because I'm a little surprised. You mean the stuff that one applies to car door hinges, hood latches, etc., every couple of years or so, right? Not dielectric grease? (Though it does make sense the white lithium grease could protect against corrosion better.)
Brian, I did start going at the contacts with a small, worn screwdriver but will try my super tiny jeweler's screwdriver next.
I should have added that I think the spring mechanism that assists holding the bulb in place has deformed both the contacts within the socket as well as the bulb's contacts.
Tegger, the first lamp to fail (one of two of its filaments failed, that is) was indeed brass. The other non-brass ones are doing better but one is still iffy.
Dumb little thing, but one has gotta have good brake lights.
Thanks Tegger and Brian.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

Either one is fine. I use regular white grease on my contacts.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

You just do not want a -electrically conductive- grease.(like a moly grease) Isn't lithium a METAL,and conductive? Perhaps the lithium is a oxide or Li-compound and not conductive,but I would not chance it.It would be a PITA to get out,if the socket survived it.
The contact pressure should squeeze out the grease at the contact point,but prevent O2 from getting in around the rest of the contact.
You might consider Caig Deoxit as a contact cleaner/protectant,available at Radio Shack.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

For the archives, after Tegger's comment, I dug further. Some folks do use the white lithium grease on electrical contacts, but they caution it's not for (1) really hot applications; and (2) probably shouldn't be used where the grease can melt down into the socket.
The preference seems to be the dielectric grease, but it's not like it's required.
I went at all six bulbs and sockets in the trunk's rear, with a jeweler's screwdriver, some sand paper, some acetone, Q-tips, and dielectric grease. Bought some new bulbs (no brass), though Autozone had only two brands (one long life, the other not) that fit for my car. It's been a few years since I replaced any bulbs back there, and I do check once a year. Hopefully the bulb's bottom contacts just get mashed from the spring action which retains them in the socket, meaning they'll last another few years.
Otherwise, it's off to Tegger's online sites for bulbs or maybe Majestic or my local Honda dealer.
Thanks for the additional input, Jim Y. and Curly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

----------------------------
Put a pen that has an eraser on it in your cordless drill. Burnish away.
'Curly'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You can buy eraser refills (about .25" dia.)for those 0.5mm ultra-fine mechanical pencils at Wal-Mart,a couple of bucks,and thread them onto a Dremel mandril.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
'Curly Q. Links' wrote:

That was gonna be my suggestion too. Pencil erasers are great for cleaning electrical contacts.
--
avast! Antivirus: Outbound message clean.
Virus Database (VPS): 0614-3, 04/07/2006
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

All right, I'm sold. Next time...
So far my sand paper, blow, acetone cleaning, dielectric grease, no brass fitting bulb, repair is working.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

you can buy eraser refills at Wal-Mart,for those Pentel 0.5mm mechanical pencils.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use one for my house cordless phones.
All the automotive sockets I've seen with corrosion have been WAY too far gone for something as gentle as erasers...
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TeGGeR wrote:

The erasers on those "erasable pens" are a much coarser rubber compound.
--
avast! Antivirus: Outbound message clean.
Virus Database (VPS): 0614-3, 04/07/2006
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Here is a link to the "clever tool". This and some type of grease is all you need!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

electrical contact cleaner, and your finger stuck in a rag.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.