Wheel and motor bearings grease / lubrication

It seems like there is no dedicated post on the lubrication of bearings. As winter is coming about I’ll start one for us all to learn.

Here are my thoughts so far:

For dry use (no rain/puddles):

  • Bones speed lube. works like a charm. Overpriced. Does not keep water or dirt out well.
  • Triple Elite Liberty Oil. A potentially more useful alternative.

For wet and salty environments:

  • Marine Grease (like LubriMatic 11404 Marine Trailer Wheel Bearing and Corrosion Control Grease). may also work well for motor bearings? But maybe issues at high speed due to high viscosity?
  • Lithium grease (high temp or high pressure). Seems ok, but maybe not long lasting?

Cleaning of wheel bearings

  • WD40: Yes, this is not recommended, but if you have an old dirty bearing, this cleans it out quick and easy IMO.
  • Alcohol: (potentially after WD40) use a wheel bearing cleaning kit or such, filled with alcohol
  • then use a proper grease to re-grease.

What do experienced puddle-stompers like @b264 use?

Note: I’ll update this post as wisdom comes in.


I tried that, and tried expensive bearings, and I’ve decided that cheaper bearings (like Bones Reds :registered: ) and just replacing them when they fail is the best option for me.

I do put a lot of 3-in-1 oil on them whenever I install them, whether they are old or new bearings. But I never clean them.

Typically I will use them until failure. Failure means squeaking, being very stiff, wobbling, or actually falling apart.


for wheel bearings, I pretty much follow @b264 regimen and ride them till, almost failure…

sometimes it doesn’t work out so well…

But when I have to clean a bearing, alcohol and a cheap ultrasonic cleaner works a treat

for shielded, not seal motor bearings, I spritz in a couple of drops of motorcycle anti-fling chain lube once a week or so into the motor can.


I keep finding my cheap ass china idler bearings tend to last no time when im riding in puddles - I’m really glad @b264 never cleans - I don’t either I feel much better about that now :wink:

1 Like

I just switched all of my bearings to sealed versions


Do you mean alcohol like isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol or everclear?

I have actually found that denatured alcohol is very good at degreasing even some of the toughest grease. I recently repacked drill press bearings and used denatured alcohol in a sonication bath and they came out perfect. 100% actone works well too.

Mobil 28 could be a good grease if you are repacking and can handle extreme temps


Archoil is what I believe zealous uses in their bearings


The Archoil AR8300 sounds amazing. Is this or the AR8100 the one you were referring to?

I am just using isopropyl alcohol because it’s cheap and readily available. But Denatured Alcohol should be preferable.
With acetone I am a bit worried about it attacking plastic/rubber parts.

I pull the shield off and swish them in WD-40, then drop some bike chain lube in the bearing. Usually spin them up with an air compressor so the extra lube gets distributed and flung, the shields get rinsed with water

1 Like

Do you use motorcycle chain lube or regular bicycle chain lube?

Bike lube…is motorcycle better?

It has different properties. Depends what is better… Usually it sticks more and is also made to take care of the rubber o-rings on most motorcycle chains, which bike chains don’t have.
But I do not think it’s ideal for bearings due to its high viscosity, but I don’t have data on that.

So the bike lube will damage the bearing seal? I thought you wanted thinner lube for bearings

I don’t think it’ll damage it. But yes, thinner lube which yet always has a remaining micro-film even at high speed/temp is better for bearings.

1 Like

I wouldn’t put the seal in acetone just the actual bearing I’m not 100% sure but I think it is AR8100 that they use.

1 Like

This is my routine once a year or so… and usually don’t need it just to restore to perfect bearings:

  • remove all bearings and remove all seals.
  • degrease the bearing- WD-40 or some other solvent based dry lube spray
  • remove particulates and degrease with 90+% IPA, shake around in a pill bottle or something.
  • rinse with hot jets of water while spinning by hand until they roll smooth
  • return to clean IPA bottle and shake more
  • blow on them hard or use air spray to blast most of the IPA off, dab dry with paper towel and let sit till completely dry
  • add a couple drops of Teflon dry lube and spin while the liquid evaporates.
  • glop in two big glops of white lithium grease and hand roll the bearings
  • shake seals around in IPA a bit, and gently gently wipe them clean after rinsing them in warm water.
  • reseal and gently wipe any excess lithium grease off the bearings.

after this, I’ve had old 10 year old zealous bearings that felt scratchy, extremely hard to roll, rusted, etc basically come back to live a great life again rolling almost new… and for newer ceramics this basically keeps bearings lasting forever.


and @Skatardude10 I wouldn’t use an air compressor especially if you ever do it when there is no grease in them. They can explode. Alot of guys on the Old wood Working Machines forum have had that happen to them.

I would probably use something with more wash out resistance that lithium grease. Old school guys used to use sewing machine oil.


I just use canned air or blow on them.

And I just love lithium grease. I have used it for well over 20 years so far, going between that and regular skate lube like bones speed cream and I keep coming back to lithium grease, I find it keeps my bearings rolling smoother for so much longer. when you say wash out resistance, do you mean like something with low viscosity? Like, mineral oil compared to glops of grease?

1 Like

When you clean a bearing of any kind, you want to either dissolve or displace all the old material and the particulate/contaminate trapped in it. Personally I use solvents like mineral spirits over pushing clean grease through because I can see when everything is completely cleaned of dirt and worn out grease rather than just waiting for the new grease to look ‘clean’


No wash out resistance like in wet conditions like something that if it gets wet it isn’t going to run out.


Denatured Alcohol in an cheap Ultra-sonic cleaner, amazingly PineSol is an amazing cheap degreaser
just don’t leave the bearings in solution forever. and anti-fling motorcycle chain lube are perfect. Yes a little more rolling resistance, but I have never noticed even minor resistance when free-rolling.

1 Like