Grease guns are useful tools for keeping components properly lubricated. Once you have one, you’ll wonder how you did without it. There are two types of grease guns, and the one you have affects how you load it. The first type is an open canister that you pack with loose grease purchased in a tub. This can be a very messy process, and many DIYers stay away from it. However, it is more economical if you will be greasing a large number of fittings or doing it pretty often.
The other method uses a single-use cartridge. These come pre-loaded with grease so you simply put them in the canister. In theory, this is much less messy than the other type. However, in practice, you are still going to get grease inside the gun’s canister. You will need to have a grease gun that can use cartridges to take advantage of this method.
Choosing the Correct Grease
This is also a good time to mention that you must purchase the correct grease for your application. Most are labeled either standard or heavy-duty. You will also find synthetics, lithium, and high-temperature formulations. Check the manual before you shop so you don’t accidentally use the wrong product.
Loading the Grease Gun
Loading a grease gun is perhaps the most difficult part of using one. Depending on which type you have, you will either insert a cartridge or pack the barrel. These are the basic steps of filling a grease gun:
- Pull back the plunger and rest it on the tool’s catch
- Unscrew the head from the body
- Remove any old grease (and check to ensure that the gasket is in place)
For cartridge-style tools:
- Remove the cap from the new tube and insert it into the grease gun (the open end faces the plunger)
- Remove the foil from the tube
For bulk grease:
- Use a small flexible spatula to place grease into the canister head
- Insert the other end into a tub of grease
- Pull back on the plunger to suction the grease into the tool
Continue with the following steps for either style:
- Put everything back together
- Prime it by releasing the plunger and dispensing grease until there is no more air (you can skip this if your tool has a bleeder valve)
Greasing Techniques When Ready for Application
Greasing is pretty straightforward once you get the gun loaded. Be careful not to overfill grease fittings. This can cause too much pressure and a possible rupture. Also, keep in mind that you may need to purchase a few grease gun accessories to match the fittings on your car, truck, or equipment. The following steps will have you greasing like a pro:
- Choose the correct attachment for the zerks on your equipment
- Place the grease gun end over the zerk
- Apply gentle, steady pressure to the handle until you feel resistance
- Remove the gun and go to the next fitting
Many car, truck, and equipment components require regular greasing for optimal performance. Whether you need a basic lever-action model or a performance tool professional grease gun, you can find it and matching accessories at an online auto parts store.
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