The importance of grease on wheel bearing can never be overemphasized, greasing the wheel bearing provides lubrication and prevents corrosion. Without greasing, the bearing and the parts around it can rust, and this will affect the bearing’s performance.
Most lubricating greases for automotive wheel bearings must meet the NLGI GC-LB or SAE J310 requirements. Both of those specifications require that the grease must operate over a temperature range of -40 Â°C (-40 Â°F) to 160 Â°C (320 Â°F). This covers the vast majority of driving conditions.
Wheel bearing grease is not just an oil but a combination of different ingredients such as:
Read on as we highlight more information on the possibilities of using multipurpose grease on wheel bearing.
Table of Contents
- Definition of Terms
- Wheel Bearing Grease
- Can Multi-Purpose Grease Be Used on Wheel Bearings?
- Types of bearing grease
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Grease
Grease is a solid or semisolid lubricant formed as a dispersion of thickening agents in a liquid lubricant. Grease generally consists of a soap emulsified with mineral or vegetable oil. Lubricating grease is made by mixing two percent to fifteen percent of thickener and other additives into a lube base oil. How does grease work? The thickeners in grease absorb lubricants and additives like a squeegee and discharge them when under pressure. The lubricants constrain friction and create an obstruction or riffle between moving parts. GREASE = Base oil + Additives + Thickener
What is Multi-purpose Grease
Multi-purpose grease can simply be defined as a grease combining the properties of two or more specialized greases that can be useful in more than one application. For example, lithium grease can be applied both in chassis and wheel bearing applications of transport vehicles.
Traditionally, calcium greases were used for chassis, and sodium-based greases were utilized for wheel bearings. Calcium-based greases have been rated high for water resistance but poor for eminent temperatures. On the other hand, sodium-based greases better cover high temperatures but are not as good in regard to water resistance. When lithium greases emerged in the marketplace, they were found to be superior to both calcium and sodium greases, and soon became the most popular multi-purpose greases in the industry.
GZ Industrial Supplies offers water-repellent, hydrophobic greases able to preserve their characteristics even in the presence of high percentages of water. It is very effective for pipe protection and these water-resistant greases protect not only against corrosion but also ensure lubrication without deterioration.
What is Wheel Bearing
A wheel bearing is a vital part of the wheel assembly that links the wheel and the axle. It is a set of steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings), held together by a metal ring. It enables the wheel to revolve smoothly with a slightest friction.
Wheel bearing can also be classified as a set of steel balls held together in a metal ring, called a race. At the midpoint of the wheels, there is a deep piece of metal, called a hub. The wheel bearings fit firmly inside this hub, and ride on a metal axle shaft, aiding to reduce friction when the wheel spins. These are unlike the engine bearings, as there is no constant source of lubrication for the wheel bearings, which implies that they need to be tight enough to keep away water and road dust. They also support the entire vehicle weight while driving, that is why they undergo a lot of coercion from rough roads, dents, as well as lateral forces when spinning.
Wheel bearings turn at great speed. A standard wheel bearing has a very advanced design. The design allows for slight friction and extreme prolonged existence.
It is important to grease the wheel bearing and the following areas:
The cavity surrounding the bearing
The wheel end’s inner surfaces
Can Multi-Purpose Grease be used on Wheel Bearings?
The most frequently used kind of grease in the automotive world is multi-purpose. The core use for this stuff is chassis components, where heat is not a matter of concern. This type of grease is typically made from Calcium sulfonate. These have a high resistance to water, but do not fare well under high heat application, such as disc brake wheel bearings. It is NOT advisable to use multi-purpose grease for disc brake wheel bearings or other high-heat applications.
Multi-purpose grease is a NLGI No.2 Lithium soap-based grease, containing an EP additive together with rust and oxidation inhibitors. This is a general-purpose grease designed to reduce wear and friction in automotive, industrial, and other general applications.
Multi-purpose greases are recommended for most maintenance applications where the temperature remains within a conventional range of -20°C to 130°C. Load, speed, and lifetime constraints also remain within standard values.
Multi-purpose greases can be made of calcium soaps (hydrated or anhydrous) but more generally they are made of a lithium soap. This chemistry is particularly stable and resistant to mechanical constraints. Its high dropping point (around 190°C) allows it to be used at temperatures of around 140°C.
Multi-purpose greases are mostly suitable for lubrication of equipment such as:
- Ball bearings, needle bearings
- Roller bearings
- Axles and articulations
- Plain bearings
- Agricultural equipment
- Gimbals, chassis
- Pipes (for their protection)
- For wheel bearings, you need a high-temperature grease.
TYPES OF BEARING GREASE
There are different types of bearing grease. Let’s take a look at the most common ones:
1. General Multi-Purpose Grease
General multi-purpose grease is made with calcium sulfonate. You can use it on a range of applications which includes:
2. High Temperature Multi-Purpose Grease
This silicone-based multi-purpose grease is suitable for high temperature applications. The presence of silicone helps this grease stay stable under high temperatures. It also protects the grease from other elements commonly exposed to wheel bearings. This type of grease also performs well in applications that don’t generate high temperatures. It’s more versatile than general multi-purpose grease. You can use this grease for chassis components as well, but chassis grease is not substitutable.
Moly-grease is a type of grease that contains molybdenum, an anti-wear additive. Wheel bearings by some automakers require moly-grease. It is because the grease offers higher-pressure protection for the metal. Check the owner’s manual to find out which type of wheel bearing grease the automaker recommends for the vehicle
4. Marine Grease
Marine grease is perfect for boats, boat trailers, and other vehicles that are plunged in water. Marine grease is encumbered with water resistance additives. Bearing grease in general comes with soap, but soap can be water soluble.
Synthetic vs Conventional Wheel Bearing Grease
In the olden days, one form of oil was being used in wheel bearing grease. It was petroleum-based oil, commonly known as mineral oil. We now see synthetic oil in more and more wheel bearing grease formulas. It is not surprising, this is because:
o Longer life
o Minimal friction
Reasons To Keep Your Wheel Bearings Greased
Some of the vital items on your maintenance budget may include checking the tires, brakes and suspension, but an important routine that should never be neglected is checking the condition of the wheels at all times. You should always ensure that the wheel bearings are greased correctly to keep you and others safe on the road.
Wheel bearings reside inside the hub that connects the wheel to the axle and the bearings allow the wheels to turn freely and smoothly. Since this causes movement of metal against metal, the lubricant provides a much-needed barrier between the metal parts that enables ease of movement. Proper maintenance with grease is vital to minimize friction and prevent abrasive particles from etching the surface of the bearings.
Avoid Risks From Poor Maintenance
Risks from insufficient or improper wheel bearing lubrication are sobering. Friction from lack of proper maintenance can cause the bearings to seize up and lock the wheel. If you are driving when this happens, the wheels could detach. Losing a wheel on the road could damage the trailer, the cargo or other vehicles. The sudden imbalance in the trailer could also cause the driver to have difficulty maintaining control of the truck.
Dirt and dust can build up in all the moving parts, particularly in the wheel bearings. Grime from the road is inevitable. However, when allowed to build up on surfaces that should move smoothly together, it can impair the proper function of the parts and become a safety hazard. Keeping the wheel bearings clean and lubricated can prevent problems and keep you and your property safe.
Adjust Wheel Bearing Maintenance to Conditions
Periodic greasing of the wheel bearings should be a regular part of proactive vehicle maintenance. However, the way you use your trailer and the road conditions it has traversed could indicate that you should increase the frequency of your schedule. A number of factors may affect how often you should check your wheel bearings:
- Excessively heavy loads
- Off-road use
- Towing through high water
If your Vehicle does frequent heavy-duty towing, if it is operated in overly dusty or dirty conditions or if it has been pulled through water that covered the axles, you should perform the maintenance more often. Taking the time to lubricate the wheel bearings frequently keeps them ready for the next job and helps to protect your investment. Performing the task yourself is not difficult and saves money on service costs.
You can conduct an easy test to ensure that the wheel bearings of your new trailer aren’t experiencing excessive friction. If the surface of the wheel near the hub is hot to the touch after use, it could indicate that it has not been properly lubricated.
Consult the Service Manual
Before you attempt the maintenance on your own, it is important to familiarize yourself with your trailer’s service manual. It will give you detailed instructions on where and how to lubricate the wheel bearings.
Frequently Asked Questions about bearing grease
Q1. How much grease do you put in a bearing?
For starters, note that most sealed bearings come pre-greased from the factory with a 25%-35% grease fill. This is all the grease the bearings will ever need, because the lubrication interval is longer than the expected life of the bearing.
Q2. Can you put too much grease in a bearing?
Too much grease volume (over greasing) in a bearing cavity will cause the rotating bearing elements to begin roiling the grease, pushing it out of the way, resulting in energy loss and increasing temperatures. This can result in accelerated wear of the rolling elements and then component failure. A common and costly problem in grease application comes from over-greasing bearings. Over-greasing bearings can lead to abnormally high operating temperatures, damaged seals, and in some cases, such as electric motors, energy complications and failure.
Q3. What wheel bearing grease to use?
Moly grease is ideal for general use, as well as in U-joints, ball joints, and anywhere with sliding motions and high pressure.
Marine Wheel Bearing Grease: This grease is specifically formulated for wheel bearings, but with added water resistance.
Q4. Can I use any grease for wheel bearing?
Calcium-based grease has high water resistance but only moderate heat resistance. Lithium-based grease is water resistant and has a high tolerance for extreme temperatures. Lastly, white lithium grease is a multipurpose grease that resists corrosion and repels water.
Q5. What happens if you don’t grease wheel bearings?
The inside of the bearing race of the wheel hub will be hot, dry and have metal stuck to it. This happens if you do not grease the wheel bearings. They run dry, get hot, literally weld their parts to the hub and spindle, and the wheel falls off.
In synopsis, Appropriate maintenance of the wheel bearing using grease is important to curtail friction and prevent abrasive particles from engraving the surface of the bearings. Deficient or inadequate wheel bearing lubrication poses a great threat to humanity. Friction from lack of proper upkeep can cause the bearings to seize up and lock the wheel. So Yes Multipurpose grease can be used for wheel bearing.
Contact GZ Industrial Supplies today to know the best grease for your wheel bearings.