The Fix-It Club can help you reduce repairs by helping you understand the how and why of household lubricants.
Many things around your home are mechanical and are supposed to move. That's what they do. For example, a windup alarm clock is a mechanical thing. Other mechanical thing repairs you may undertake include toy repair, garden tool repair, exercise equipment repair, and others. What do they all have in common? They technically are machines. That is, they convert one form of energy into another. A hand tool, for example, converts your energy into strength to turn a bolt or cut a board. Household oils and lubricants can help keep those machines running better longer.
Troubleshooting Mechanical Things
Troubleshooting mechanical things is a little more difficult than troubleshooting stationary things because you may have to take something apart. However, if you know what your broken item is supposed to do, you probably can figure out what needs fixing. For example, a windup alarm clock may run very slowly, not keeping the correct time--and making you late for work. Rather than toss it and get another one, carefully open it up and see if there's anything (a loose screw, dust) keeping a mechanism from turning as designed. Or the item just may need a small amount of lubricant to reduce resistance between moving parts.
Lubricants decrease friction between moving parts, and are a vital part of fixing things. Many lubricants are petroleum based. Thin lubricants are called oils and thicker lubricants are greases. Here are the most popular household lubricants and what they work best on:
- Machine or penetrating oil (such as WD-40) is a general lubricant for small moving parts.
- Silicon spray is a multipurpose product that lubricates, waterproofs, and reduces corrosion.
- Graphite powder and spray is a fine powder lubricant (sometimes in a base of light oil) for lubricating locks, bearings, and other very small parts.
- Penetrating oil lubricates as well as reduces and cleans corrosion from metal parts.
- Lithium grease is a petroleum-based grease with lithium powder in it to enhance lubrication of larger moving parts such as automotive gears.
- Silicone is an organic compound that is highly resistant to wear, heat, and water; it makes a great lubricant.
--Dan "The Fix-It Man" Ramsey