If you haven’t used a grease gun before, then it can be difficult to know where to start. When you know what you’re doing, a grease gun is extremely easy to use. But if you’ve never used a grease gun before, then it can make things a little difficult to know exactly what you’re doing.
Fortunately, I know a little about grease guns. I’ve been using them for many years now, so I know how a grease gun works. First, we’ll go through how a grease gun works generally. Then I’ll give you some of my top tips for getting the most out of your grease gun.
I also wrote another post about issues you might face with your grease gun. It’s useful if you’re just starting to have issues with your grease gun. The majority of the time, it’s just an air bubble caught at the top of the mechanism. But, there are other things that may be having an effect on your grease gun too.
How to Use a Grease Gun
The first thing that you need to do is work out which type of grease gun that it is that you’re using. While they all basically have the same mechanisms, they can work very differently. For example, some need to be used manually while others are automated and will be air powered (though you’re not going to encounter these as much.
4 main Types of Grease Gun
- Lever – The most popular type of grease gun are those that are lever operated. It’s a bit self explanatory, but generally you just have to pull the lever to get enough pressure in the gun to force grease out of the nozzle. One of the drawbacks of using a lever powered grease gun is that you’ll need to use both your hands to operate it – this means that you’ll have to have the nozzle in place before you use it.
- Cordless – Using battery powered grease guns is becoming increasingly popular. It can be a good idea to get a cordless one so that you don’t have to worry about any cables getting in the way. The drawback of this is that you’ll need to ensure that your grease gun is charged before using it.
- Pistol grip – Essentially this is the same process as a lever, except that you have a pistol grip to pump the grease out instead. A drawback is that you might get less pressure than with a lever grease gun, though they are undoubtedly easier to use.
- Air powered – If you go to a mechanics or a large company, they may have an air powered grease gun that they use. This is a good way of reducing the physical necessity of pumping, but it’s undoubtedly an expensive option.
For this guide, I’ll generally base it around using a lever type of grease gun. You can easily adapt this for whatever the different type of grease gun it is that you’re actually going to use.
Learning how to use your grease gun won’t take long. After you’ve started to get used to setting your grease gun up, it won’t be long before it becomes second nature to you. Here’s the simple steps on how to use a grease gun properly.
Loading your Grease Gun
Of course for your grease gun to work, you’ll need to ensure that it’s loaded properly. Generally all grease guns use cartridges, but they can vary in size so you’ll need to make sure that your grease gun is suitable for the cartridge size that you’re using. Some grease guns will require you to fill the barrel up manually, in which case that makes this a little more difficult.
Remove the top of the head from the barrel and pull the lever up so that you have the room to insert the new cartridge or fill it up manually with grease. When the lever rod is all the way withdrawn, you should be able to lock it into place (though not all grease guns have this, the majority of new ones should).
Either fill the barrel manually, or insert your grease gun cartridge. If you want to do this properly, then you definitely need to ensure that the cartridge doesn’t have the lip or any foil on top of it. This is a common issue that you’d be surprised how many people leave on – some assume that when you put the cartridge in, it will automatically remove the lid.
You’ll also need to ensure that the cartridge is pushed in properly – it needs to be level with the rim of the grease gun. This should be easy, as they are designed to fit inside easily. After you’ve done this, you can out the barrel back on the end of the grease gun. But, you shouldn’t screw it back on tightly yet.
This is because there’s likely some air caught at the top of your cartridge which will make it impossible for you to push grease out of the end of the gun. Whilst the barrel isn’t screwed on properly, you’ll want to press the rod up to the end of the barrel. This should allow you to easily help expel any air that’s caught at the top of your grease gun.
From here, you should check that grease is coming out of the end of your grease gun comfortably. When you’ve confirmed this, then you can easily screw the barrel back on and pump the grease out of the end of the pump.
5 Awesome Grease Gun Tips for Beginners
There are some reasons and issues that may occur when you have your Grease Gun ready for use. Here are some of the best tips that I’ve picked up from my decade of using grease guns.
1. Make sure the fitting you’re greasing is clean
When I was much younger, I wouldn’t worry about whether the fitting I was greasing was completely clean. This is really because I didn’t accurately calculate how much grease I needed to apply to my wheel bearings, but it was definitely made a harder task because I couldn’t see what I was greasing properly.
2. Double check the fitting first
It’s the mark of a lazy tradesman, but this is also something that commonly happens within the industry. If a fitting is old, rusty or damaged then it can become an issue later down the line. To avoid this, double check the fitting that you’re going to use completely before inspection. This way, you can be sure that you’re not going to grease something that needs changing.
3. Clean the gun after every use
You’re only creating more trouble for yourself later down the line if you don’t keep your grease gun clean. It might not matter once or twice, but if you continuously don’t clean your grease gun then you’re undoubtedly going to end up with something that’s unusable (or at least difficult to use).
4. Don’t tighten up the barrel too much
You’ll need to tighten up the barrel at the top to ensure that it’s working properly. But, you don’t want to tighten this up too much. Why? Well, it can easily cause pressure failure within the grease gun and make it impossible for you to use.
5. Never mix two types of grease together
I learned this one the hard way after I refilled my barrel before it was empty with a different type of grease. Safe to say, they didn’t blend well and I was left with an unusable grease gun and some wasted grease!
Overall, these are the basic tips that you’ll need to pay attention to to make sure that your grease gun is going to work properly. If you follow this guide, you should be able to use your grease gun properly without worrying about breaking it or not being able to get it to function properly. I also wrote a post about the best grease guns that you can check out so you can end up with one that is less likely to have these problems in the first place.