Tech Tip: How to choose the right wheel bearing grease

April 30, 2019
Selecting the best grease for the application can help optimize wheel bearing performance.

Optimized wheel bearing performance is critical for overall vehicle reliability and performance in the most demanding applications. Whether in everyday vehicles or the world’s top-performing race cars, an optimal grease blend can have a positive impact on the entire vehicle.

As loads, speeds, and temperatures increase, greater wear and discoloration can occur in wheel end assemblies, requiring more frequent repair and replacement. The right grease can reduce wear, extend bearing life, and keep maintenance costs from mounting. Further, a better bearing grease can reduce the amount of cooling that must be routed to the wheel hubs, enabling additional aerodynamic adjustments to any car.

Grease basics

Grease is typically composed of a base-oil, a thickening agent and additives. Specific base-oils are designed to handle certain applications and environments, while a thickener helps retain and appropriately release the oil. Additives are used to enhance the varying grease properties like viscosity, load-carrying capacity, and resistance to oxidation, corrosion, and wear, all contributing to optimized vehicle performance for their intended functional application

Grease selection.

Important characteristics to consider when choosing the right grease are:

  • Viscosity
  • Shear
  • Work and roll stability
  • Oxidation and corrosion properties
  • Wear resistance

Identifying the optimal grease requires a thorough understanding of the specific operating load, speed, temperature, and ambient conditions. Consulting with a bearing expert is the best way to learn about the characteristics most pertinent to your application.

Proof of performance.

Every grease has limiting properties, and there is no universal option that works best in every application. That’s why The Timken Company operates a lubricant testing facility at its global headquarters in North Canton, Ohio, and tests numerous greases to determine the best blends for optimal bearing performance every year. Close analysis reveals different performance characteristics, and enables Timken experts to better recommend the right solutions for its customers based on their unique needs.

Currently, Timken operates numerous test machines that not only closely compare the performance of various grease options, but also identify performance gaps that can help in developing better solutions for different applications.

No matter the application—be it on the racetrack or on the interstate—optimal grease blends contribute to optimized overall vehicle performance.

Information provided by Timken

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