Even trailer plugs corrode. When it comes to maintenance work, you need to add your trailer plug to your checklist. It is an easy to forget part but it needs to be maintained correctly. That is if you want it to last and have no problems down the road. Corrosion and rust do gather on the metal parts of both sides of the plug.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of different products you can use to make sure your electrical plugs stay in top shape. One is white vinegar, and this option would be good for those who do not like harsh chemicals.
To learn about other products that can help keep rust or corrosion away from your trailer plug, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can keep your trailer lights working at optimum levels all the time.
Yes, you should. The reason for saying this is that depending on the location of the plug, it can get corroded rather quickly. If it is out in the weather, under your truck’s bumper, or in other areas where rain, sleet, and snow can reach, then you should grease your plug.
In these locations, your trailer plug can get exposed to a lot of harsh conditions which escalate the corrosion process. Your plugs need protection like any other metal part does.
If your trailer plug is located out of an area where lots of weather can hit, then the corrosion process is a lot slower. You won’t have to grease it as often but you should still grease it at least once a year if not more.
Out of the weather locations can include being placed in your truck bed and putting a cover over the bed or the plug. Or buy some plug covers from Walmart or some other retailer. Because the plug plays a very important role in your trailer towing life, you do need to take care of it.
The key to doing this task is not to use any petroleum-based cleaners or greasers. The petroleum products can eat away at the rubber on your plug, ruining them a lot faster than you would want.
The silicone-based grease is the type of product you should use instead. If you want to stay legal then make sure to properly care for your trailer plug.
By itself, it may not be a great application. You have to make sure that you clean the metal parts on your plug for the dielectric grease to work. Using cleaners is just the first step in this maintenance task. After you get the plug’s metal parts cleaned, let it dry, and then add the dielectric grease.
From the Permatex website, this is a company that makes one form of this grease-- “Protects electrical connections and wiring from salt, dirt, and corrosion. Extends the life of bulb sockets. Prevents voltage leakage around any electrical connection. Also prevents spark plugs from fusing to boots. Required for modern high energy ignition systems."
When you live in very moist regions of the country, dielectric grease is a must-have product. The extra moisture and salt combination does do a number on electrical parts when they are not treated with this grease.
This grease is not just for trailer plugs. It is for all electrical connections. If they get damaged, even with 4 x 4 excursions into the mud, etc., then you have a hefty repair bill waiting for you.
Plus, the dielectric grease is handy enough to protect the rubber and plastic parts of connectors.
Yes and no. You cannot spray the original WD 40 on electrical parts. It is a petroleum-based product and those ingredients will damage the rubber and possibly the plastic parts around the connector.
Some people do, and have, used this product but in the end, they replace those plugs far more frequently than they would have to if they used another WD 40 product.
This product is called WD 40 Specialist and there are two kinds. One is made for electrical parts and it will say electrical on the can. They are both contact cleaners and they will come with the famous WD 40 straw technology the company is known to use on all of its cans.
According to the WD 40 website, this product dries quickly, removes roughly 95% of all contaminants on the electrical plug, and leaves no residue. Plus, it is also compliant with all 50 states’ VOC policies.
This version of WD 40 is safe to use on electronics, rubber, most plastic, and even some metals.
While many people have used the original formula and have paid the price, this newer formula should spare you the task of replacing damaged plugs. The areas you can use this product besides trailer plugs are-- printed circuit boards, controls, battery terminals, switches, precision instruments, and electric panels.
Amazon sells at least two of the top grease options. Both are dielectric grease formulas and one is from Permatex and the other is from Mission Automotive. In fact, on one top 10 best lists these two companies take up the first 3 spots.
The Permatex has two formulas, the 22058 and the 81150 and both are called tune-up grease. MG Chemical and Camco make up the next 2 spots with their products.
The former company makes the 8481-1 Premium Carbon Conductive Grease and the latter makes 55013 PowerGrip Electrical Protectant and Lube. Then there is the DuPont Teflon White Lithium Grease and the LubriMatic 11755 Dielectric/Electrical Contact Grease.
These products are supposed to be on sale on Amazon but for every product, we found that they were unavailable at this time. E-Trailer seems to only sell one type of grease for trailer plugs- Dielectric Grease for Electrical Connectors.
That product, according to the e-trailer website can
- Helps prevent electrical failures caused by corrosion and moisture
- Water-resistant formulation sheds moisture and will not wash away
- Protects bulbs, sockets, t-connector plugs, and trailer connectors
You shouldn’t have too much of a problem with finding the right grease for your trailer plug. You can also check at RV parts and accessories stores, auto parts shops, and more.
This is not a complicated process with a lot of steps to follow. In fact, there may be only 2 steps in this chore making it very easy to clean. Some people use a wire brush but that is optional.
The first step would be to buy the right cleaner. Many people use WD 40, not sure if it is the original or the new product, and they just spray the liquid over the metal parts and let it dry.
Some people use Corrosion X as that product is supposed to be better at cleaning out corrosion than WD 40. Then still others use brake cleaner and then they let it air dry.
One owner uses WD 40 and then the air gun to make sure the plug is dry and clean. You have lots of cleaners you can use to get rid of the rust and corrosion. However, once you clean it, you should apply grease to the metal parts to protect them.
Maintaining your trailer plug is a two-step production. The first step is cleaning it and the second step is greasing it. Make sure to wait till the plug is dry before adding the grease.
To help the grease protect the plug, it might be a good idea to buy a plug cover or relocate it to a dry spot on your tow vehicle. Preventive medicine is always better than paying for an actual cure.
Some people have turned to natural products to help clean those connectors. White distilled vinegar is a lot like baking soda. It is seen as the miracle product that does everything.
In this case, the acidity of the vinegar should help eat through the rust and corrosion, and then all you would need is compressed air to blow the vinegar and garbage out of or off the plug.
Or you can use a wire brush and some battery terminal cleaner. These work on all metal parts. The key would be in applying the correct pressure so you do not damage any metal parts in the plug.
Let the plug air dry in a good location where it won’t get dirty or wet. You do not have to use a can of compressed air or an air gun to dry. Most of the cleaning products that we saw were quick drying on their own.
When you talk to fellow RVers, mechanics, and tradesmen, you may get a longer list of products as well as words of advice to avoid products we have already mentioned here.
Everyone has their own favorite way to clean and maintain their trailer plug. Just pick the cleaner and other products that work best for you.
One suggestion was to first use a wire brush over those parts that are easily reached. But before you do that, you have to make sure the trailer plug is disconnected from any power source. Even 12-volt battery shocks can hurt.
When you use a wire brush, make sure to only apply as much pressure to clean the corrosion but not so much that you will damage the electrical parts in the plug.
The next step is to take a toothbrush, baking soda, and water and get ready to remove the corrosion. Mix the baking soda in enough water that it completely dissolves. Then dip the toothbrush into the mixture and brush it over the corrosion.
You will see fizzing or a chemical reaction so do not be alarmed. Wait till the fizzing has stopped before cleaning the plug. When you remove the baking soda, etc., the corrosion should be gone as well.
You can try the same thing with white vinegar. The acid compound sin that food item can eat away at corrosion as well. How fast they work is another story.
This chore will take a little bit of time so block out an hour or so to make sure you can get it done thoroughly
This will depend on how thick the corrosion is. The previous two natural remedies will work best if the corrosion is not that heavy. They work well on light corrosion and if you try it on heavy do not be surprised if there still is some left on your connectors.
Some people have said that you should use PB Blaster to get heavier corrosion off those connectors. That is a good option as well. So is CRC electrical contact cleaner. You want to choose a product that works well and has a good reputation for success.
Any of the products and tools we mentioned above will work here. You just have to make sure the connector is not plugged into any power source. Plus, you are not supposed to fill the connector with cleaner. You want just enough to get the job done.
The canned air will help remove any loose debris that is left behind after the cleaner has done its work. Also, that canned air will help dry the plug so it can be used right away if you are in a hurry.
The best thing to do is take your time and do it one step at a time. You can use a wire brush, toothbrush, or rag to make sure the rust and corrosion are removed. It just takes a little time so be patient.
The first step in this task is to do what we just told you to do. Clean out the plug, connectors, and any wires with a good contact cleaner. Then brush or blow away any contaminants before adding the grease.
The grease is an important facet of this process and it works long and hard to protect your electrical connections. But this is not the only product you can use to fight off corrosion before it starts.
Another step is to place the plug in a new location. After you have cleaned and greased the plug, re-route it so that it gets away from any spot that will bring moisture to it.
If you have a truck bed cover that locating it in the truck bed is ideal. Keeping the weather away is important in this issue. Or you can o to Walmart, Target, or other outlets that sell plug covers.
Wrapping up your plug in a good cover is a great way to protect your plug when you can’t re-route it. These items should not be that expensive and they should do a great job for you.
Especially when you are parked and do not have the plug connected to the trailer. Check Amazon as well as they seem to have a large selection to look at and it is a good option when you are not close to a traditional store.
We mentioned several locations already. But there are a variety of retailers you can go to if you do not like Walmart or Amazon. For grease, cleaner, and wire brushes, you should be able to find them at Home Depot and Lowe's.
The wire brushes are on sale everywhere, as are toothbrushes if you do not have an old one lying around the house. Both can be quite cheap and using a cheap wire brush from a dollar store or another discount place is okay.
Those inferior wire brushes will help stop you from applying too much pressure. Grease and cleaners should be found at any automotive parts store or even RV parts outlets.
What they go for is up to the store owner but they should be a reasonable price. WD-40 is a well-known brand but do not stop at the label and when you read WD-40.
You need to read down the can a little way to see if it is contact cleaner or not and if it is made for electrical parts or not. These products have a better formula than the original one.
Cleaning your trailer plug and protecting it from corrosion is important. You have to make sure your trailer has lights and brakes. This is one way to know that your plug is working like it is supposed to.
When you use the right products, your plug should be clean and ready for action. The grease is needed to keep the water and other moisture away. Don’t forget to find a great spot for your plug that is out of the weather.