LAST UPDATED: July 10, 2019
Best Wheel Bearing Greases: Maintain the Mechanical Stability of Your Wheel Bearings
Give your wheel bearings a longer working life, and improve their tolerance to high temperatures
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PUBLISHED ON July 10, 2019
If you own an RV or a trailer and take it on frequent trips, then you need to lubricate the wheel bearings to improve the performance of your wheels. A good grease guarantees that the bearings remain undamaged and protects the metal from water and heat. It also extends the life of the bearings. Let’s take a look into some of the best wheel bearing greases on the market.
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Benefits of Wheel Bearing Grease
- Stabilize the bearing's structure. The bearings play a vital role in attaching the wheels to your vehicle and facilitating wheel rotation. For that reason, their structural integrity is vital for safety, and it can be stabilized by grease or lubricants. The bearings can endure different roles and become more reliable.
- Reduce friction. The grease reduces friction between the bearings and adjacent components (axle and spindle). The heat generated from friction can also lead to wheel bearing failure, which means your vehicle won't move. Friction also causes the deterioration of the seals, balls, or raceways.
- Easily rotate your wheels. Greasing your bearing helps to reduce friction in your wheels, and they can rotate with ease. The bearings will rotate smoothly even as they bear the weight of the vehicle and endure high-pressure and powerful forces at high speeds.
- Keep the bearings in good condition. Grease lubricates and protects the bearings from wear and corrosion. Also, some bearings have a seal that locks in the grease and keeps out water and other contaminants to prolong its life.
Types of Wheel Bearing Grease
Ion-based grease may come in the form of lithium, white lithium, and calcium. 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.
Moly EP Grease
Moly EP grease is formulated using a molybdenum disulfide, which is a compound that's highly resistant to corrosion and has a high melting point. Moly EP grease can withstand extreme pressure, as the EP on the name suggests. It's suitable for any object with a gliding motion, including ball joints and U-joints.
Disc and Drum Bearing Grease
Disc and drum grease is water resistant and can be used on disk and drum brakes. It can withstand extremely high temperatures generated from the high speeds of the wheel and the pressure from the brakes. It's a recommended wheel bearing lubricant for RVs. It also works great as a lubricant for general purpose equipment.
Marine Wheel Bearing Grease
Marine wheel grease is ideal for marine equipment due to its water and salt resistance. It’s recommended for metals with heavy loads or farm equipment to facilitate sliding movements. It can also be used on motorcycle chains, swivel hinges, steering cables, anchor chains, and winches.
Sta-Lube traces its roots back to 1933 with the production of additives and lubricants for vehicles. Its products are tailored to meet consumer demands and are designed for both the DIY user and professional technicians. In addition, the prices of its products are budget friendly. One of its high-quality disk-brake bearing greases is the Sta-Lube Heavy-Duty Bearing Grease.
Royal Purple is a North American motor oil company that manufactures high-end products that meet most of the needs of the automotive industry. Its superb performance makes Royal Purple greases, lubricants, and oils the go-to products for many automakers and car owners. Calumet Specialty Product Partners (CLMT) runs the company. Royal Purple’s best grease for ball bearings is the Royal Purple Multi-Purpose Synthetic Grease.
Lucas Oils is a manufacturer and distributor of lubricants, oils, and automotive additives. The company is headquartered in Corona, Calif. Forrest Lucas and his wife started the company in 1989. Lucas has a large fanbase due to the longevity and high-performance of its car care products. One of its best high-temperature greases is the Lucas X-Tra Heavy-Duty Grease.
Best Wheel Bearing Grease Pricing
- Under $30: Some of the best chassis, trailer axle, and wheel bearing greases are found within this price range. The greases mostly come in 14-ounce bottles or 3.5-ounce tubes. You typically have to purchase a pistol grease gun separately with most of the products here.
- Over $30: At this price, the greases simply come in larger cans or in sets of six or more tubes. Also, expect to find some of the best marine wheel bearing greases that sport the highest level of water resistance. Some multipurpose greases come with their own piston guns for easy application.
The grease should form a protective film that keeps out water from the surface being covered. The protective film is formed by the oil used in making the grease. This feature makes your bearings last longer due to rust and corrosion prevention.
Viscosity is the rate of internal friction within a fluid that enables it to resist flow. Different types of grease are rated at a viscosity ranging from zero to 6. The ideal rate for a wheel bearing grease is two, which feels a lot like soft peanut butter.
- Temperature Tolerance: The best grease should remain stable even at high temperatures. Lithium-based greases have the highest temperature tolerance in comparison to calcium- or sodium-based greases.
- Pressure Tolerance: Some greases are formulated to withstand high-pressure conditions, such as an emergency brake on the wheels. Most brands indicate the maximum pressure limit for their products. Moly EP greases have the highest pressure tolerance.
Best Wheel Bearing Grease Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Royal Purple grease has a synthetic base with an aluminum thickener that gives it unparalleled anti-oxidation and anti-corrosion properties. It also has water-resistant capabilities, including emulsion and washout resistance. Additionally, it’s more stable than most lithium-based greases as it can withstand the extremely high pressure of up to 6,000 psi, and it can endure high-temperature conditions. The manufacturer also claims that the grease cools moving parts.
Although it doesn’t have an NLGI rating, (the measure of the hardness of grease that makes it a suitable lubricant for the chassis and the wheel bearing) it’s safe for both applications. The grease can also be used U-joints on marine equipment, motor vehicles, and household appliances. You can apply the product with a standard suction-loaded grease cartridge, or a pause and lock plunger for a one-handed application. It also doesn’t take much of the grease to get the job done.
One of the drawbacks of the product is that it breaks down into oil and gunk after only a year. You would also have to incur the extra cost of a pause and lock plunger or a suction gun for an easy application. Moreover, the color often runs out of the application gun and may leave a stain on the floor. Ensure that you cover the floor before coating the wheel bearings with this Royal Purple grease.
Lucas X-Tra is a 14-ounce, heavy-duty wheel bearing grease that comes with an affordable price tag. The polyurea base makes it last four times longer than regular grease, and you would only have to reapply it annually.
The grease is designed for high-speed applications, and it’s also plastic safe. It comes in green and is packed in a user-friendly grease gun cartridge. Additionally, the product has an NLGI grade two rating. It can be used on farming and construction equipment and heavy-duty trucks. Moreover, it can withstand high pressures and temperatures of up to 560-degrees Fahrenheit.
One downside is while the grease is water resistant it’s not on the marine-grade level. Its polyurea base isn’t compatible with lithium-based greases, which are often compatible with almost all grease types. The product also comes in cheap packaging, and you may receive a leaking product or a bent bottle upon delivery.
Sta-Lube is a sodium-based bearing grease designed for drum and disk brake wheel bearings and other slow-speed bearings. It’s also a short-fiber grease with some of the best adhesive and water washout resistance capabilities. The product can withstand severe pressure conditions and has a temperature tolerance ranging from zero to 325-degrees Fahrenheit.
Sta-Lube’s formulation includes a highly-refined base oil and an added polymer to increase its lubricity and cling properties. The product is packaged in a 14-ounce can and has an NLGI grade rating of two. It’s recommended for autos and trucks with a drum brake system and for janitorial and cleaning supplies.
The downside of the product is that it has a lower temperature tolerance in comparison to standard greases. It also feels heavy for a regular wheel bearing greasing job. In addition, it’s not as water resistant as marine greases. The product is also very hard to find in retail outlets, and you would often have to purchase it from an online shop.
This is great wheel bearing grease for high temperature situations. It is manufactured specifically for both drum and disc wheel bearings. The formula contains anti-wear additives, corrosion inhibitors, and water-resistant components. This produces excellent protection in demanding environments.
This iconic grease is made in the USA. It helps prolong wheel bearing life and provide a smooth ride. It’s also heavy-duty and tacky (in a good way) compared to other brands.
However, you may want a thicker grease to pack tapered roller bearings that have the inner race pre-installed. Also note that there are no specifications on the can, such as standards ratings or a melting point.
This grease is designed specifically for marine applications, such as trailer wheel bearings where wheels are constantly exposed to water and moisture. You can also use it for hinges, water pumps, winches, and anchor-chain reels.
The formula of this brand is insoluble in water and strongly resists washout. The manufacturer is a famous marine product maker so it is familiar with boat and marine applications and requirements.
Note, however, that the product comes in a 14-ounce cartridge that is made for grease guns. You may need to have a tub for greasing some wheel bearings.
This grease is specifically recommended for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles—“where M1C75B NLGI GC-LB grease is recommended” as stated. It has properties that lubricate from temperatures of 0 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. The formula includes “moly” (a type of mineral in lubricants) that enhances lubrication ability.
It is also a general purpose grease, so in addition to wheel bearings, you can use it on suspensions, chassis, ball joints, tie rods, steering linkages, and universal joints. It is easy to install in a grease gun.
On the downside, due to moly in the formula, the grease may more easily stain clothes, driveways, workbenches, and other areas. Also, the package may arrive damaged.
This is a premium calcium-sulfonate complex formula that is water insoluble. It works great for marine use where parts are exposed to salt water, air, and harsh environments. We’re talking not only trailer wheel bearings, but also swivel hinges, winches, pins, anchor-chain reels, and other parts and assemblies.
The formula provides protection in high-temperature situations because it has a 550-degree Fahrenheit drop point. You can also use it in non-marine situations such as auto and truck drum and disc brake wheel bearings, garden equipment, firearms, bicycles, and water toys like jet skis. It comes in a 1-pound can.
However, you may have to pay more for this grease compared to lithium-based grease. It can also be messy and difficult to apply.
This grease provides lubrication in both cold and hot temperature ranges. It contains anti-wear, extreme pressure, and lubricity additives that help protect your bearings in any environment. This grease also has corrosion and rust inhibitors that slow down deterioration and provides excellent protection from water and moisture.
Buyers report that it is easy to use and that you can use it in a wide variety of situations, including automotive brake work, farm applications, on motorcycles, guns, and bicycles. Plus, you don’t need much of this high-quality grease to do the job—a little goes a long way.
However, because of its tacky nature, the grease is quite difficult to remove if you get it on clothing. Also, the container does not have a resealable lid.
- Some wheels come with completely sealed bearings, meaning you can't add more grease to the unit when you notice a rumbling sound. This often indicates that the bearings are straining. In that case, you would have to buy a new set of bearings.
- Grease certification is an easy way of knowing what type of grease is suitable for your bearings. Greases that are only GC approved are ideal for disk-brake wheel bearings. LB-approved greases are suitable for chassis. GC-LB approved are suitable for all types of wheel bearings and chassis.
- Do not mix different brands or qualities of wheel bearing grease. It may compromise the lubricity and other protective properties. Clean out the old grease with white spirit before you apply the new grease.
- For a grease base, choose a product with an aluminum-complex or a lithium-complex grease base since they have some of the best anti-wear and anti-corrosion capabilities. Do not use copper as a grease base as it forms an electrochemical reaction with the bearing metal. The product of that reaction dissolves in salty water and leads to faster deterioration of the bearings.
Q: Do I have to grease new wheel bearings?
A: It depends on the make of your car. If it has a sealed pre-assembled hub unit, then you don't have to grease them since the new bearings come pre-greased. Sealed bearings are never greased but replaced when they start to wear out. Only grease bearings for vehicles with unsealed locks or hub units.
Q: How will I know that I need to replace my wheel bearings?
A: Just like any other metal component of your vehicle, the bearings will give some telltale signs that they need to be replaced. You may start to hear a rhythmic thumping noise that sounds like a card that's stuck on the spokes of a rotating wheel. The noise gets louder the more the bearings wear out.
Q: What is the ideal dropping point for wheel bearing grease?
A: Dropping point refers to the temperature at which the grease changes from its semi-solid state to a liquid state. Most greases have the recommended dropping point of 500-degrees Fahrenheit. Grease with a low dropping point won't serve its purpose as a lubricant.
Q: How long do wheel bearings last?
A: Depending on the quality of the bearing, they normally last between 85,000 and 100,000 miles. Some premium bearings can be pushed to 150,000 miles. However, you shouldn’t rely on the manufacturer’s advertised lifespan to determine when you should replace your bearings. To be on the safe side, check the condition of the bearings every 30,000 miles.
Our top pick for the best wheel bearing grease is the Royal Purple Multi-Purpose Synthetic Grease. It’s a general-purpose grease with a high-temperature tolerance and water resistance properties. It can be used on boat trailers, motor vehicles, and household appliances.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly product for simple maintenance service for your wheel bearings, then go for the Lucas X-Tra Heavy-Duty Grease. It’s also better than most OEM greases.