Changing the wheel bearing grease on your vehicle is one of the jobs that you can carry out yourself provided you are familiar with how a wheel hub is assembled. It is essential that wheel bearings are adequately lubricated or they will not move freely and will eventually cause a lot of damage to the wheel.
However, it is important that you choose the correct wheel bearing grease. Some have specific features that make them suitable for some special applications such as the marine environment. Others are more general purpose. To help inform you when you are buying the best wheel bearing grease for your vehicle, we have prepared this comprehensive guide.
The Best Wheel Bearing Grease
A popular, synthetic automotive grease that is suitable for vehicles manufactured in the U.S., Europe and Japan. It will give your vehicle protection at high and low temperatures and will work well at temperatures from minus 60 degrees F to 425 degrees F. It will out-perform many conventional greases in terms of superior lubrication.
The grease has been moly-fortified to increase the strength of the film and to provide outstanding resistance even to heavy loads. It is a lithium complex EP grease, fortified for extreme pressure.
Synthetic automotive grease
Suitable for vehicles manufactured in the U.S., Europe and Japan
Works at temperatures from minus 60 degrees F to 425 degrees F
Moly-fortified to increase the strength of the film
- Weight14.1 ounces
A very heavy-duty grease that can be used on large trucks and farm equipment as well as construction equipment. It has been designed to decrease maintenance and to extend the life of vehicle components. It will last four times longer than regular grease products.
It is also practically waterproof and stable at all temperatures. It is the best grease for high speed bearings and is more stable than the majority of lithium greases. This high temperature grease has been fortified with an extreme pressure additive package so it exceeds OEM lube in terms of life specifications.
Suitable for large trucks and farm equipment
Lasts four times longer than regular grease
Fortified with an extreme pressure additive package
More stable than the majority of lithium greases
- BrandLucas Oil
- Weight2.16 pounds
With this product you get a combined high temperature-resistant disc brake and wheel bearing grease. It is a multi-purpose lithium complex grease that is easy to use and is suitable for automobile, agricultural and industrial applications.
This high temperature grease pumps readily at the extremes of temperatures and therefore operates well in hot and cold climates. It demonstrates excellent water-resistance and resists water washout very well. Its attributes include special lubricity and anti-wear. It has been fortified with additives that resist extreme pressure as well as chemicals that will inhibit rust and corrosion.
Multi-purpose lithium complex grease
Pumps readily at the extremes of temperatures
Demonstrates excellent water-resistance
Fortified with extreme pressure additives
- BrandMag 1
- Weight1 pounds
An exceptionally waterproof wheel bearing grease that is highly suitable for all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and off-road motorcycles. You can use it on four-wheel drive vehicles as well as boat trailers and other marine equipment.
It is a grease made with an aluminum complex that has been manufactured using base oil that is highly refined giving it a blue and tacky appearance. The formulation contains a polymer which provides it with the adhesive as well as the water wash-out capabilities. This enables it to resist water even under the most extreme conditions.
Suitable for marine equipment
Aluminum complex grease
Adhesive characteristics provided by a polymer
Blue and tacky appearance
- Model12.9 pounds
Here we have a synthetic wheel bearing grease made from an aluminum-complex with a non-corrosive additive. It will greatly increase the life of your bearings and render your equipment more reliable. It can be used on motor vehicles, marine settings and household applications. You can expect smoother running bearings and a quieter operation as it reduces heat and lowers operating temperatures. It can be used in several applications including wheel bearings and U-joints. It will develop up to 6,000 psi pressure and so it can withstand extreme pressure conditions. This grease also has outstanding water resistance capabilities. This includes washout and emulsion.
This grease lubricant remains stable even when the temperatures are high and has high oxidation resistance which ensures safety during the period between lubrications. It comes with its own pause and lock plunger for easy and one-handed application but can also be used in a standard grease cartridge which can be suction loaded.
Made from an aluminum-complex with a non-corrosive additive
Will develop up to 6,000 psi pressure
Comes with its own pause and lock plunger
Smoother running and cooler operation
- BrandRoyal Purple
- Weight14.1 ounces
A premium automotive wheel bearing grease supplied in a tub. It is red in appearance and designed to operate at high temperatures without breaking down so it will handle application to disc and drum bearings. The grease has been manufactured with added corrosion inhibitors. These chemicals that will help to cut down on wear and aid water-resistance. This gives your vehicle the best protection even in challenging conditions.
This particular grease lubricant has been rated by the NLGI (National Lubrication Grease Institute) as top-rated in terms of performance levels and this is for chassis grease applications and wheel bearing applications. The grease is made with a thickener that contains a lithium-complex. This important additive resists softening and therefore gives a mechanical stability. The Timken ok load is rated as 55 so the load-carrying capacity of the grease is high.
Added corrosion inhibitors
Wear-resistant and water-resistant
Lithium- complex thickener
Timken ok load rating of 55
- Weight15.2 ounces
With this marine grease you get a high-performance multi-purpose grease. It is water-resistant enough to suit automobile and marine environments but should not be used in centralized dispensing systems. It has also been used very successfully on bicycles (to repack wheel hubs and service sealed bearings), cycle trailers and tent trailers.
It is a premium, heavy duty marine grease made from a lithium complex and is certified by the NLGI. It has a unique additive system which makes it very water-resistant. The grease has a Timken load of 80 pounds and a dropping point of 540 pounds making is suitable for marine, chassis and automotive wheel bearing applications. You can rely on it to deliver dependable lubrication under challenging marine conditions. The weld point is 620 kg which is higher than the industry standard of 200 kg.
Lithium complex grease
Suitable for marine applications
Timken load of 80 pounds
Weld point of 620 kg
- BrandLucas Oil
- Weight11.2 ounces
A superior synthetic wheel bearing grease that is water-resistant enough for use even in the marine environment where corrosion is a serious issue. It can be successfully used in a range of locations including marine trailer wheel bearings as well as anchor chains. This is in addition to wheel bearings applications on other automotive vehicles. Thanks to the advanced water-insoluble formulation, it has been approved by the NLGI as highly water-resistant.
You can rely on it to protect wheel bearings from rust and corrosion even from salt water. It remains effective at temperatures ranging from zero degrees F to 325 degrees F.
Highly water resistant
Approved by the NLGI
Works at temperatures from zero degrees F to 325 degrees F
Protects wheel bearings from rust and corrosion
- BrandStar Brite
- Weight1.28 ounces
A high-performance grease that has multiple applications in bicycling, automotive and marine settings. It has a higher dropping point (which is 550 degrees F) than many lithium-based greases. This is because it is made from calcium sulfonate which is more stable than lithium complex. It will hold up to greater pressure for longer but before you apply it, you should carefully remove all the factory-applied lithium grease as it may not be compatible with it. It has a long life-span and will not cake up as quickly as many other grease products.
It is made with a calcium sulfonate complex which is water-insoluble and therefore tough enough to withstand the marine environment. You can expect superior corrosion protection even after exposure to highly corroding salt water. It can be used on any wheel bearings and that includes disc brake wheel bearings as well as swivel hinges and anchor chains. It has been rated as a second grade grease by NLGI.
Dropping point is 550 degrees F
Made from calcium sulfonate
Resistant to caking
- Weight1.1 pounds
This medium grade grease is suited for applications at low temperatures and is white in color. It can be used on wheel bearings as well as O-rings, valves and many other rubber and metal components in automotive applications. It has been categorized as a grade 2 grease by NLGI.
It is made from phenyl-methyl silicone and has added lithium stearate to allow it to remain stable at both high and low temperatures. This means it will operate at anything from minus 100 degrees F to 400 degrees F. You can use this in all motor vehicles and even in photographic equipment and industrial settings. This grease exhibits high oxidation resistance and is also highly resistant to water wash-out. It is inert and the shear stability is very high.
Made from phenyl-methyl silicone
Added lithium stearate
Resistant to very high and very low temperatures
Exhibits high oxidation resistance
- BrandDow Corning
- Weight6.7 ounces
Best Wheel Bearing Grease Buying Guide
What to Consider When Buying a Wheel Bearing Grease
Here’s what you should consider when you are choosing your wheel bearing grease.
- Is it water resistant? Water resistance is an indication of the ability that the grease has to form a protective sheet to shield the wheel bearings against water and moisture. This is usually related to the oil content of the grease. Greases that are used in marine environments need to be very water-resistant. This allows them to protect metal parts from becoming corroded and so they last longer. Salt water is a particular danger when it comes to corrosion.
- Will it withstand the extremes of temperature? Often you will see the temperature range of the grease stated on the container that it is supplied in. Beyond this stated range, the grease loses structure and breaks down. It no longer supplies lubrication or protection. Temperatures can get very high in the wheels of a motor vehicle so look out for a grease that has a wide operating temperature range. Lithium greases are known for having a wide operating temperature range.
- Will it withstand high pressures? You need a grease that will withstand the high pressures in a wheel. Sometimes the manufacturer will give a maximum pressure limit. In general, Moly EP greases withstand high pressures.
- What is the viscosity? Greases have a range of viscosities or thicknesses. A grease that is rated as zero is very runny but a grease rated as six is very hard. Most greases for wheel bearings need a rating of two which is a bit like peanut butter!
Benefits of Using Wheel Bearing Grease
Wheel bearings carry out two important jobs in your vehicle. They allow the wheel to rotate freely and with hardly any friction and they have to support the weight of the vehicle. Over many of thousands of miles, they have to withstand very powerful forces. To do this job properly, they have to be in very good condition. Therefore, they must be packed with a heavy grease. The purpose of the grease is to lubricate them and to protect them. A seal is provided around the wheel bearing which is there to keep the grease in and water and other contamination out.
If the grease is not there, or becomes contaminated, it will not provide lubrication and there will be friction in between the wheel and the bearings. If there is no grease, the wheel bearings will start to corrode and break down. Ultimately the wheel will not be able to turn at all.
An initial indicator that there is a problem will be an unusual noise that sounds a bit like a chirping or rumbling sound. Some wheel bearing assemblies are completely sealed and you cannot apply more grease yourself. All you can do is replace the whole unit. However, if it is not sealed, you need to remove and clean the bearings and pack them again with fresh grease. Don’t forget that the wheel bearings on trailers also need to be serviced and trailer bearing grease applied when needed. If wheel bearings fail, the wheel could actually come away from the vehicle and that is a very dangerous situation.
Wheel bearings that are not adequately lubricated will not allow the vehicle wheels to spin quickly and evenly because there will be too much friction. This causes excessive and uneven wear on the tires and may damage other parts of the hub assembly.
Types of Wheel Bearing Grease
There are several different types of grease that you could use on wheel bearings and it is useful to know their various properties so that you can make an informed choice. Here are the main ones.
- Multi-purpose grease. This has some properties from all of the other specialized greases. It can be applied in many different automotive and household settings.
- Calcium-based grease. This has a very high water-resistance but is not so great at high temperatures. You can also get sodium-based greases which have good temperature-resistance but will not repel water. This makes them unsuitable for wheel bearing lubrication.
- Lithium-based grease. This is very good as a wheel bearing grease as it has both a high tolerance of extreme temperatures and good water-resistance.
- White-lithium grease. These dominate the market as a multi-purpose grease. They can be used in areas of metal to metal contact and they resist corrosion by providing protection from moisture. They are more useful for car chassis than for wheel bearings.
- Disc and drum wheel bearing grease. As the name suggests, this is suitable for high-speed applications around wheel bearings. It will withstand the very high temperatures generated by a vehicle’s brakes. You can use it on both disc and drum brakes and other lubricating tasks.
- Moly EP grease. Moly is short for molybdenum disulfide and EP stands for extreme pressure. This is a general-purpose grease which operates well at high pressures and is also used in U-joints and ball joints.
- Marine wheel bearing grease. Where you need to be able to resist a lot of salt water and all the corrosion that it can cause, this is the grease for you. It is just right for wheel bearings but has additives which give improved water resistance. It can also be used on winches and anchor chains.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Copper ‘Grease’ For Your Bearings
It is believed by some that it is appropriate to use copper grease on wheel bearings but that is not actually true.
Copper grease is an anti-seize product. It is made by adding fine copper particles to a non-melting clay and then oxidation and corrosion inhibitors are added. It is used widely between surfaces that are exposed to high temperatures because the lighter fractions evaporate leaving the components that prevent seizing behind. However, when aluminum comes into contact with copper in a salty environment (which is found on many roads) an electrochemical reaction takes place. This is known as galvanic corrosion.
The reaction causes one of the metals to dissolve into the salty water. You can see this happening when there is a white chalky powder on the back of alloy wheels. You are quite likely to destroy the wheel bearings altogether or at least make them clunky.
Best Wheel Bearing Grease FAQ:
Q: How do I lubricate a wheel bearing?
A: Some wheel bearing units are completely sealed. When something goes wrong with them, they have to be replaced and cannot be greased or repaired. However, others can be serviced. You can take your vehicle to a mechanic to get this done but it is a job that you could carry out yourself. It is a bit messy but it only takes a few hours if you are familiar with how the wheels are constructed and operate. Servicing the wheel bearings of your vehicle regularly will protect them from damage and prolong their life.
These are the basic steps.
- Secure your vehicle on jack stands and try to rock the wheel by placing your hands at a 12 and 6 o’clock position and then at a 3 and 9 o’clock position. If there is a fair amount of free-play, the wheel bearings probably need to be replaced.
- Now, using white spirit, clean the hub and races but first you must drive the races away from each other. You may need a socket here to use as a pusher. Lengthen the socket with an extension piece and then tap this gently with a heavy hammer. The race will soon come out. Just take care that you do not scratch the inside of the hub.
- Clean all of the bearings with white spirit. Make sure that you don’t get any grease on the brakes. If this is just a routine lubrication, the outer races can stay on the stub. Watch out for any signs of damage or indications that the bearings need to be replaced.
- Now you pack the bearings with grease. Some hubs need the central area to be heavily loaded with grease whilst others only require a light coating. The manufacturer’s handbook will give this information. Pack the bearings with as much grease as you can get in them and force it between the races using your fingers.
- Now insert the new grease seal making sure that it fits all the way round. Tap it gently into place or, if it is recessed, use a socket.
- Reassemble the bearings and the hub. You do this by lightly greasing the stub axle. Then push the hub on to the axle. If it sticks, tap gently with a hammer. Now, insert the inner race of an outer roller bearing and insert a new split-pin. Finally, reassemble the brakes.
Q: Can I mix wheel bearing grease?
A: In circumstances this may be possible but the risks are very high and it is best avoided. Most wheel bearing greases cannot be mixed with other products that have different specifications. If they are mixed, their lubrication and protection properties are compromised.
The heat-resistance and water-resistance properties could also be compromised. The original grease may have coated the bearing surfaces and the new grease may get thrown off. With a lot of research, it may be possible to mix greases but it is never recommended.
Q: Do I need to grease new wheel bearings?
A: If you have replaced your wheel bearings, you must grease them before you take your vehicle on the road. However, if your car has a pre-assembled hub unit which is sealed, the wheel bearings inside will already be greased and you do not have to worry about it.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of the best wheel bearing grease is a synthetic automotive grease. You can use it on vehicles manufactured in the U.S., Europe and Japan. It affords protection at high and low temperatures and out-performs many conventional greases in terms of superior lubrication and protection.
This product is moly-fortified and will resist heavy loads. It is a lithium complex EP grease and will withstand extreme pressure.
- Lubricating and reassembling wheel bearings, How a Car Works