Grease Gun Not Working Properly? Try These 5 Easy Fixes!

If you’ve just invested in a new grease gun, then there’s always the chance that you’re going to have issues using it. Even if you’re experienced at using a grease gun, you’ll often find little problems that can impact the effectiveness of your grease gun. Fortunately, for most of the issues you might experience from using your grease gun, there’s also a resolution. If your grease gun is not working properly, then you’re in the right place.

I’ve been using grease guns for many years, so I’ve definitely had some of them stop working for whatever reason – or sometimes, for no reason at all. Usually, it’s an easy fix to get your grease gun working normally again. Here’s a list of what the most common issues I’ve had with grease guns has been over the years.

I’ve just put a new cartridge in my grease gun and it won’t work

Solution – Purge Air

This is undoubtedly the most common thing that I’ve heard from friends when they can’t their grease gun to work properly. They’ve just put in a fresh new grease gun cartridge to use, but unfortunately they can’t get any grease to come out of the end of the nozzle! This is a common issue, and one with an extremely easy fix.

The most common reason that you’ll have an issue with a new cartridge is that air has got caught at the top of the air gun. The air is then getting in the way of you pushing any grease out, which can be a bit of a nightmare. Fortunately, this is easily fixed by;

  1. Turn the base of the grease gun anti clockwise, which allows you to release the air easily.. You shouldn’t need to turn the base more than two or three times to do this.
  2. Continually pump the grease gun whilst you’re doing this, allowing the air to flow out.
  3. When grease starts to come out of the end, then you can twist the base clockwise again and seal up the grease gun again!

This is undoubtedly the easiest way to deal with air at the top of your grease gun. It’s probably the most common issue that you’ll come across. If you can’t get the grease to the end of your gun by pumping it, then you might physically have to push the grease up to the end of the cartridge yourself. Using your fingers and a rag is the easiest way to do this.

Be sure to store your grease gun hung up correctly on the wall to avoid air bubbles reappearing in your grease cartridge again.

If your grease gun is still not working

Although this one sounds like a really simple and dumb thing to do, you’d be surprised by the amount of people that make this mistake. On the top of your grease gun cartridge, there’s actually a cap that holds the grease in. It might seem extremely obvious for you to remove this, but for some novices this can also be a reason that your grease gun isn’t working.

It’s also the case that certain grease gun cartridges have a small metal tab that you might have to pull off in addition to the cap. So even if you haven’t had to deal with this before, there’s the chance that if you’re using new grease gun cartridges then this may become an issue.

The Grease Gun Spring stops working

Probably the most common issue that I see with manual grease guns is that the spring is not giving enough pressure to force the grease into the feed chamber and through the coupler. This is an easy issue to fix, but it will involve you getting a new grease gun spring to use with your grease gun. You can usually pick them up from your local hardware store, and if they’re nice they might even help you put the new spring in.

Other Grease Gun Issues you might Experiences

There are other issues that you might experience with your grease gun, though the ones I’ve mentioned already are undoubtedly the most common issues you might face.

  • Piston Rod (Follower Rod) – If you have an old grease gun, then there’s a chance that the follower rod has corroded or rusted and won’t be working properly. When you’re purchasing a new grease gun, then it’s very easy to test whether your follower rod is okay or not. When you depress the pressure out of the grease gun, do so slowly and you will easily be able to gauge whether your piston rod is working properly.
  • Plunger – I’ve had friends say to me that they can’t pump any grease out of their grease gun because the plunger is too stiff for it to work properly. Or, the plunger itself is too large for the grease gun and it won’t work. This is a really common misconception with grease guns – they can be very stiff at first. If you push it a little harder, it should start to become easier to use your grease gun,
  • Coupler – Another issue that some people have with a grease gun is if they damage the coupler. If you do accidentally damage the coupler, then this can have an effect on whether the grease can come out of the end of your grease gun nozzle.

These are some of the lesser popular issues that people have with a grease gun, but they might still have an effect on how you push the grease out of your grease gun.


90% of the issues that I’ve had or friends have had with their grease guns is undoubtedly related to trapped air at the top of their gun. This is a pretty easy fix, and all you have to do is purge the air at the end of the gun to ensure that you can pump easily. After you do this, you can return to using your grease gun normally like you would like to! I also wrote a post about the best grease guns right here that you can check out so you can end up with one that is less likely to have these problems in the first place.

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