Although your vehicle’s ball joints are made to last a long time, maybe even the life of the vehicle, they can go bad earlier than expected. Before you hear groaning, begin to feel a strange vibration from the front of the vehicle, or notice uneven tire wear, it would be wise to grease the ball joints and any other components that make up your vehicle’s suspension system. In this article we will take a look at several different grease products so that you can determine which one will be the best ball joint grease for you.
Important Ball Joint Grease Specifications
First of all, any grease you use for your vehicle’s ball joints should be rated “GC-LB” (“GC” – suitable for wheel bearings, “LB” – suitable for chassis lubrication) by the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI). The NLGI rates grease viscosity on a scale from 000 to 6, with 000 being the most fluid and 6 the most solid.
Water Resistance – water reduces the effectiveness of grease longevity and allows for corrosion and deterioration of the ball joint. Because vehicle suspensions are constantly being exposed to water, water resistance is an important characteristic of any bearing and joint grease.
Best Grease for Water Resistance: Sta-Lube SL3121
Temperature Stability – cold temperatures cause grease to harden and dry out. Hot temperatures cause it to liquefy and drip (a grease’s dropping point is usually somewhere between 300° to 600°). A good quality grease is temperature stable, making it less susceptible to temperature fluctuations.
Best Grease for Temperature Stability: Triax RED SPHERON HT-2
Load/Pressure Resistance – load/pressure resistance keeps the grease from sheering and becoming useless. Hard, tight cornering is just one of the things that will cause an increase in heavy load and/or pressure on ball joints.
Best Grease for Load/Pressure Resistance: Lucas Oil 100005 Red ‘N’ Tacky
Longevity – you want grease that will remain useful for many months, or even up to a year.
Best Grease for Longevity: Lucas Oil 10005 Red ‘N’ Tack
Ball Joint Grease Reviews:
|Allstar ALL78242||Sta-Lube SL3121||Triax Atlas 600||Mobil 102481||Lucas Oil 10005||Triax RED||Timken GR224C||Mag 1 720|
|Country of Origin||USA||USA||USA||USA||USA||USA||USA||China|
|Latest Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
Allstar ALL78242 Timken Brand High-Temp Synthetic Racing Type Wheel Grease
The Allstar ALL78242 does well under high temperatures and pressure, but it is affected by higher temperatures before the other greases we are comparing. Because it comes in a cartridge, it is easy to load into your grease gun. It is a lithium complex grease and that means it has excellent stability and holds up well against water and corrosion.
ALL78242 is a good choice for cold weather applications and will perform well at extremely cold temperatures. If you live where the winter temperatures dip below zero for extended periods, this grease will be an excellent choice.
- Works well in sub-zero temperatures
- Contains anti-corrosion additives
- Not easily affected by water
- Dropping point (temperature where grease begins to liquefy) is lower than many competitors
Sta-Lube SL3121 Water-Resistant Marine Grease
SL3121 Marine is a blue colored, aluminum complex grease that exhibits outstanding adhesive strength. It is salt resistant, so if you live in northern areas of the country where salt is used during the snowy winter months, this grease will be an excellent choice to use on your vehicle.
Because this is an aluminum complex grease, it will perform better in wet conditions. The trade off is aluminum complex grease has a lower dropping point (closer to 300°) than lithium complex grease (above 500°). Sta-Lube Marine is environmentally friendly and has non-toxic ingredients. It carries a NLGI #2 viscosity rating.
- Great for marine and land vehicles
- Great for heavy-duty applications
- Water wash-out resistant
- Heavier and thicker making it more difficult to apply
- Lower dropping point
- Less versatile
Triax Atlas 600 Full Synthetic Grease
Atlas 600 has strong adhesion properties and an above average dropping point. It is a multi-purpose grease, making it a good choice if you need to use it for more than just ball joints.
If “going green” is important to you, a synthetic grease is considered environmentally friendly because it is biodegradable. Also because synthetic grease is not petroleum-based, it is usually more expensive. This synthetic grease also withstands temperature extremes better than conventional grease.
- Resistant to drastic temperature variations (-40° to 500°+)
- Strong adhesion properties to metal parts
- Above average water and corrosion resistance
- Synthetics can cost more that greases that are lithium or aluminum complex-based
Mobil 102481 1 Synthetic Grease
Mobil 1 102481 provides great protection when placed under heavy loads, like when hard cornering is required. It is an excellent choice for 4WD and off-road vehicles that often experience extreme driving conditions.
It is a USA made product that resists water washout when driving in wet conditions and it has a NLGI #2 viscosity rating.
- Excellent protection under heavy load conditions
- Suited for chassis and U-joints
- Not as easy to use because it is not in cartridge form
- Sensitive to higher temperatures
Lucas Oil 10005 Red ‘N’ Tacky Grease
Red ‘N’ Tacky is a best seller because it is an excellent multi-purpose grease. Its mechanical stability is better than many other brands and it provides heavy load resistance.
One additional characteristic of this grease is that it holds up longer than other greases that are on the market. It’s only negatives is that it has a dropping point at the lower end of the scale, so it may liquefy faster than its competitors.
- Wide variety of uses
- Excellent longevity
- Low price
- Stays where you put it
- Lower dropping point than many competitors
- If left in a grease gun the oil in it tends to separate
Triax RED SPHERON HT-2 Lithium Complex Grease
Triax RED is a premium, heavy-duty grease that rated at 70 pounds in Timken load tests, making it the highest rated grease in the NLGI-2 classification. That means Triax RED provides extreme protection from the pressure exerted on your bearings under rougher driving conditions.
Because of its high temperature stability (rated up to 550°), Triax is perfect for racing applications, where high speeds and hard cornering may come into play. It provides great protection from water and water washout and also contains corrosion inhibitors, helping to prevent rust on metal surfaces.
- Almost waterproof
- Resistant to high temperature
- Very tacky
- High load bearing
- Hard to handle, extremely slippery
Timken GR224C Wheel Bearing Grease
Timken GR224C is a very efficient and reliable product that comes in a cartridge for fast application. This lithium complex grease has just average waterproof capability but high endurance for both extreme heat and cold. GR224C contains corrosion inhibitors that helps reduce wear on metal components. It carries a NLGI #2 viscosity rating.
It also is a very versatile grease that can be used for many different suspension components.
- High pressure and temperature tolerance
- Good anti-wear and corrosion resistance
- Multi-functional – can be used for many different purposes
- Non-Marine applicable
- Only average water resistance
Mag 1 720 Red High-Temp Grease
Mag 1 is easy to apply; it will flow out of your grease gun under any temperature conditions, high, low, or in between. It has a high dropping point, 500°, which helps make it a strong, long-lasting grease. Mag 1 comes in a tub, so it requires a little more effort for you to load it into a grease gun.
This grease has anti-wear and corrosion resistant additives that will combat rust, along with good resistance to water and moisture, making it a good choice if you do a lot of off-road driving.
- Long lasting
- Easy to clean
- Unaffected by high temperatures
- Packaged in a tub, not a cartridge
- Made in China
Choosing the proper grease for use on your vehicle’s ball joints can be a difficult decision that should be based upon the type of daily driving conditions you encounter with your vehicle. What works best for normal, day to day around town driving, may not be as suitable for your off-road ATV or the car or truck you drive at the track.
If you live in areas with lots of snow, where large amounts of salt is used to keep roads passable, you may want to lean towards a marine quality grease. If that’s the case for you, we recommend Sta-Lube SL3121. It has superb water resistance and works well under severe weather conditions.
If you are greasing the ball joints on an ATV, you need a grease that has a combination of water resistance, rust inhibitors, and one that holds up under the high-pressure stress of rough terrain. For this application we recommend Mobile 102481 1 Synthetic. It has great adhesion and a wide variety of uses.
If you are a racecar driver, exposing your vehicle to high temperature and high load situations, Triax RED SPHERON HT-2 or Mag 1 720 may be your best choice.
For usage in several different applications, Lucas Oil Red ‘N’ Tacky may be your best one-stop option. It can be used just about anywhere on any components that require greasing.
When choosing a grease, the driving conditions you experience will determine what works best for you. All of the reviewed greases are great products and each one deserves consideration. There are always tradeoffs to consider. What works best under wet conditions will not necessarily be best for high temperature applications. Some do better for endurance. What’s the best grease for your ball joints… it all depends?