Can I use 25-year-old wheel bearing grease?

I recently bought a cheap trailer from H****r F*****t. I have a grease gun with nearly full cartridge of wheel bearing grease. But the thing is that the grease must be about 25 years old, which is the last time when I owned a car that had grease fittings.

Is it all right to use grease that is 25 years old? I would rather use it than throw it away, because disposing of it is such an environmental hazard.

Also, how often should I grease the wheel bearings? It has 120inch wheels. I am thinking about taking it on a 1,000 mile drive to bring back some stuff I had left with my parents. Its maximum capacity is about 1,000 pounds and I don’t think I would come close to that limit. I am asking the question, because I am wondering whether I should be greasing it in middle of my trip. (If I should grease it every 500 miles for example, I would need to grease it on the road.)

So, is 25-year-old wheel bearing grease O.K.?

How often should I grease the wheel bearings?

For just around town use, I’d use the old grease on a trailer with no brakes. But for a 1000 mile road trip, I’d get some new grease. If you grease it once a year, that should be fine. If it gets under water, change the grease.

p.s. - I gotta see those ‘120inch wheels’! :wink:

With those $179 Harbor Freight trailers, the wheel bearings will be the LEAST of your problems. Just kidding, I bought one too, that’s an incredible bargain…I plan on hauling a Kawasaki Bayou ATV down to Mexico on it (from Denver)…Mine came with the bearings well packed, the hubs all pre-assembled…But sure, your grease will be just fine. ALL hubs should have Zerk fittings like those trailers do. A couple of shots every 5000 miles is PLENTY…

I did notice the springs were VERY stiff. There might as well not be any springs at all, so secure your load accordingly, it’s going to be bounced around…

A 1000mi trip,is it really worth trying 25yr old grease?

If it looks like grease and it feels like grease, it’s still grease! Grease is just a mixture of oil and “soap”. As long as it hasn’t separated, it’s fine…

I was asking the question, because I know that motor oils and radiator fluids can separate when the get old. I have actually seen very old but new radiator fluid with sediments on the bottom as chemical components separate. I have heard that additives, especially metal additives like zinc componunds can separate if they get very old. So, thank you for your answer. I was looking for some technical reason why I shouldn’t use a 25-year-old grease.

It would be such an environmental hazard to throw away wheel bearing grease.

Your 12 ounce tube of grease is a meaningless environmental hazard compared to the 450,000 gallons of crude oil a DAY being dumped into the Gulf Of Mexico…

Worry about the bearings not the grease. When I bought mine the first thing I did was replace the hub assemblies. They were so cheaply made, they wouldn’t be worthy of a 1000 mile trip let alone a 100 mile trip. I also replace the springs, axle and tires to get something road worthy. Hubs, bearings and tires are relatively cheap from Northern or Pioneer Rim. If you are greasing your own bearings, you need absolute cleanliness, and water resistant wheel bearing grease. Its about $3 a tube.

Don’t use the grease.
Its not worth the trouble of potentially ruining a trailer in the middle of a trip.

Go get new grease at your local auto parts store for $7, and use it.

You should also be able to pop into your local auto parts store, and ask them if they can dispose of the grease for you. If not, look up the website for your local city dump, and find out what needs to be done.

It really isn’t that big of a deal to dispose of the grease.

When I built my HF trailer back in March '07, I packed the wheel bearings with automotive wheel bearing grease. I’ve done many cross country trips (Denver to NYC and back), and lots of local stuff (to and from the Ducati Dealer 60 miles North, way more times than I wanted to last year), and the wheel bearings on the trailer are still going strong.

The only thing extra I did for my trailer when I bought it was I replaced the tail lights that it came with, and replaced them with LED tail lights. Much more visible, and brighter, but pulls less electricity from my car.


Squeeze some out in a plastic sandwich bag. Does it look like it should? If so, you are OK.

Shucks, it was under ground for millions of years. THEN it was refined. I’d use it in a heartbeat.

What do you think they have in all the POMCUS caches? You think think they go out and refresh the grease every couple years, Private Pyle? As far as the ecology goes, squirt it out on the ground and feel no shame. Where do you think this stuff comes from?

Let’s get back to your main question. You are asking if you should grease your trailer every 500 miles. You do understand that means daily, right? Have you thought this through?

JT is right, squeeze some out and of it looks good it is good. Pack the bearings with it.

Grease is a high pressure lubricant, formulated thick so it’s not readily mechanically displaced. It’s made this way to maintain a barrier between the wear surfaces under high compression. It’s the exact opposite of a penetrating oil, which will cavitate into small spaces but will be easily displaced by mechanical pressure. Being made thick, it’s relatively small amount of volatile components remain captured within the media for many many years. Grease can be hygroscopic and can collect comtaominants, but not if it’s still in its container.

If you were talking about grease from 1919 I’d say dump it because modern grease does have helpful additives, but you’re only going back to 1985 here.

Twentyfive year old grease? I wouldn’t use in high speed applications such as wheel bearings/U-joints. But in low speed applications such as tie rod ends/ball joints it shouldn’t be a problem.


You can always get the definitive answer…

I have a large can of WWII artillery grease. It still looks and works as good as ever.