Locking Up HardwareDoes Loctite go bad? Asking for a friend.
According to Loctite’s manufacturer, Henkel, Loctite (loctiteproducts.com) does go bad. The technical data sheets of both thread-locker 271 (red) and 242 (blue) say that the shelf life of each is 24 months unopened, or 12 months once the tube is opened. This assumes storage at 46-82 degrees F. (Loctite should never be frozen.) Most of our garages see temperatures far above and below that range at certain times of the year, so this indicates that it’s best to store it in the house. We’ve heard of machinists keeping it refrigerated like batteries, but that doesn’t appear to really help except in avoiding temperature extremes.
There are other brands of thread-locking compound out there, some of the more popular of which are manufactured by Permatex (permatex.com). Although perhaps better known for gasket makers and silicone adhesives, Permatex is the company responsible for the alternative applicators of thread-locking compound in recent years, including the gels that many of us find vastly superior to traditional liquids that leak everywhere. Like Henkel, however, Permatex says that its products have a shelf life of two years. Both companies have instructions on their website for reading the date codes on their product containers.