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Many people change the oil in their vehicle rather than taking it to a shop. Some others, who have more mechanical knowledge, may delve into bigger preventative maintenance projects, such as changing a transmission filter or flushing the brake fluid. However, many do-it-yourself auto mechanics fail to apply new wheel bearing grease.
While your wheel bearings might not be towards the top of the list of things that need to be regularly maintained, those simple devices do as much work and face as much abuse as anything else on your vehicle. Regardless of the driving situation, every time that your car, truck, van or SUV moves, the wheel bearings are at work. While they can go a long time between servicing, the grease does dry out and when that happens, there is excess wear to the actual bearings within the assembly.
Fortunately, installing new wheel bearings or repacking your current bearings in new grease is a fairly simple job. All you have to do is access them and pack new grease throughout the assembly. The biggest question surrounding this job pertains to which wheel bearing grease to buy. There are many options on the market and, unlike motor oil, most people are unlikely to have a preferred brand of grease. With that in mind, we have put together a list of the best wheel bearing greases so you can get to shopping with little fuss.
For more information on the best wheel bearing greases, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1: Editor's Pick: Royal Purple Ultra Performance Grease
- 2. Best for Performance: Allstar Timken High-Temp Synthetic Wheel Bearing Grease
- 3: Best on a Budget: Sta-Lube New Generation Wheel Bearing Grease
- 4. Lucas Oil Red 'N' Tacky Grease
- 5. Mag 1 High-Temp Disc Brake Wheel Bearing Grease
- What does wheel bearing grease do?
1: Editor's Pick: Royal Purple Ultra Performance Grease
Royal Purple Ultra Performance Grease is a high performance, aluminum-complex, synthetic grease. Royal Purple is best known for its synthetic oil, which is enriched with additives that makes it superior to traditional engine oil. In the same way that Royal Purple motor oil exceeds the other oils, the Ultra Performance Grease exceeds other wheel bearing grease products.
The Royal Purple Ultra Performance Grease is designed to increase bearing life by reducing friction, allowing bearings to run smoother, cooler, and quieter. Using the Royal Purple non-corrosive Synerlec additive technology, this grease withstands extreme heat and pressure while also being water resistant. Best of all, the Ultra Performance Grease offers excellent resistance to oxidation, leaded to longer service intervals.
The Royal Purple grease is great for wheel bearings, but it can also be used for U-joints and other lubrication duties. In fact, when the China Star Bullet Train was having overheating issues, the team tested 26 different grease options, picking the Royal Performance Ultra Performance Grease. The China Star then went on to set the land-speed record for a bullet train. Trains create far more heat than does the average passenger vehicle, showing that this grease can comfortably exceed your everyday needs.
2. Best for Performance: Allstar Timken High-Temp Synthetic Wheel Bearing Grease
If you are looking for wheel bearing grease for a race car or any high performance machine with extreme duty cycles, this option from Allstar’s Timken brand might be your best choice. The Allstar high performance grease is a synthetic polyalphaolefin that is engineered to provide superior lubrication under the most extreme conditions. Race cars provide tremendous stress to all four wheels, leading to elevated heat levels and accelerated bearing wear.
This recommendation reduces temperatures by ensuring that the bearings are rolling as smoothly as possible. Even under extreme heat for extended periods of times, this grease keeps bearings rolling rather than sliding, helping to cut heat while also preserving bearing life. Also, by reducing friction at the point where the wheel mounts on the vehicle, the amount of engine power to actually reach the ground is increased.
In other words, it works to keep your bearings cooler, which helps them last longer, but this lubrication also improves power output at the wheels. Seeing as how this grease is formulated for racing use, it will provide excellent lubrication for your street car, especially for those folks who drive high performance vehicles every day.
3: Best on a Budget: Sta-Lube New Generation Wheel Bearing Grease
If you are looking for a wheel bearing grease that is designed for the exact purpose with a low price point, Sta-Lube’s New Generation Wheel Bearing Grease could be your best choice. This grease has a lithium complex base that is designed for professional applications, but you can obviously use it in your garage at home.
This product is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, preventing breakdown and prolonging the life of the grease. Less breakdown leads to consistent performance for longer periods of time, so you have less concern of bearing wear and less need to repack the bearings as you pile up the miles.
Made in the United States, this wheel bearing grease is ideal for union jobsites which require American-made products to be used. With this grease being produced in the U.S., American mechanics—both professional and shade-tree—should find it to be readily available and relatively inexpensive.
4. Lucas Oil Red 'N' Tacky Grease
Lucas Oil is one of the best-known brand names in the world of lubrication, so it should come as little surprise that the company offers a quality wheel bearing grease. The Lucas Oil Red ‘N’ Tacky Grease is actually an all-purpose product, so it isn’t designed specifically for wheel bearings, but this grease has all of the key properties that you want to see in a wheel bearing lubricant.
This is a red lithium complex grease that contains additives to reduce rust and oxidation. It is engineered to comfortably handle the abuse of heavy loads and high heat levels, while also having great mechanical stability and extended storage life. Finally, it is water resistant, so it will not rinse away and leave metal surfaces exposes. Of course, as a Lucas Oil product, this grease provides excellent lubrication to the internal workings of your bearings, leading to smoother operation, reduced heat, and lessened wear.
Best of all, while the Lucas Oil Red ‘N’ Tacky Grease offers familiar levels of lubrication from a legendary brand, it is incredibly inexpensive. The reputation of Lucas products coupled with the low price make this a popular option with people who want a wheel bearing grease that is better than the average factory lubricant.
5. Mag 1 High-Temp Disc Brake Wheel Bearing Grease
If you are looking to repack your own wheel bearings and you are looking to minimize your costs, the Mag 1 High-Temp Wheel Bearing Grease is a great option. The container is larger than some of the other greases shown here, while the price is noticeably less.
This lithium grease contains additives to help stand up to high levels of pressure, as well as extreme heat or cold. While it provides excellent lubrication, it is engineered to be easily pumped in warm and cold weather. The Mag 1 grease can also be used for general lubrication, so you can use it for many things beyond wheel bearings. This grease is designed to resist water while also containing rust inhibitors, so it wont rinse away, providing a layer of protection against corrosion.
Really, the biggest issue with the Mag 1 grease is the brand name. All of the other wheel bearing grease options discussed here are from well-known brands, but this one is a bit less known. Many people prefer to go with popular brands when buying lubricants, but if you are more concerned with low cost than big brand names, this is the grease for you.
What does wheel bearing grease do?
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Each wheel on your vehicle is connected to a hub assembly which spins on a non-moving part, with a bearing serving as the isolator between the hub and fixed component. Wheel bearing designs vary a bit by brand and use, but for the most part, they are small assemblies with some sort of rolling bearings mounted in a metal case. In some cases, the bearings extend out of the case, contacting the two key surfaces. In other designs, the bearings turn within a metal case, so the bearings only touch the inside of the bearing assembly rather than making contact with portions of the hub assembly.
In most cases, you need to apply new wheel bearing grease from time to time. We say “most cases” because some modern wheel hub assemblies are sealed and cannot be serviced, but in vehicles with exposed bearings or removable bearings, you will want to apply grease from time to time. These bearings come well lubricated from the factory, but over time, heat, friction, and weather causes the grease to lose its effectiveness. When the grease stops doing its job, the wheel bearings become very hot, leading to accelerated wear.
If the bearings get hot enough or wear too much, they can fail. In some cases, the individual bearing within the assembly will lock up, leading to rapid failure of the wheel bearing. When the wheel bearing fails, the worst case scenario is that the bearing could seize and the wheel could tear away from the hub.
Fortunately, if your vehicle has serviceable wheel bearings, this is an easy bit of preventative maintenance that most people can do at home. Really, the most difficult aspect of repacking your wheel bearings with new grease is usually accessing the bearings. You generally have to remove the wheel, braking components, and a portion of the hub assembly. However, once you have the bearing out of the hub, packing them is as simple as it sounds.
You can repack your bearings by cupping them in your hands and literally jamming grease in through the openings until every space is filled with grease. You can also buy tools that prevent you from filling your hands full of grease, but in the long run, this is a great do-it-yourself project that generally doesn’t require any special tools. All you need to do is buy the wheel bearing grease that best fits your needs and budget, followed by the often tedious task of freeing up the wheel bearings. Once the bearings are out, you pack them full of grease, reinstall them, and your wheels will keep on turning smoothly for many miles.
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