How to Lubricate Your Auto Chassis

Many steering and suspension components require periodic lubrication. A vehicle may have
serviceable ball joints, tie rod ends and universal joints equipped with grease fittings. Some
newer models come with sealed joints that are lubed for life, or at least until a replacement is
necessary. Access the maintenance history and warranty status of a vehicle through a VIN
lookup to determine which parts require replacement. Here are the supplies and steps necessary
to lubricate the chassis of any vehicle and prolong the life of serviceable driveline and suspension

Gather Lubrication Supplies

The most essential equipment for lubricating an auto chassis includes a jack and jack stands and
wheel chocks or blocks to lift and secure the vehicle as well as an auto grease gun and
replacement grease cartridges. Various components call for different types of grease such as
heavy-duty lithium grease for the chassis or silicone spray for rubber suspension bushings. These
lubricants should not be mixed. A creeper, gloves, and rags are also useful to have on hand. Load
a grease gun by pulling back the plunger and locking it into place before unscrewing the main
barrel. Remove the plastic cap and pull-tab from a new grease canister and slip the tube into the
barrel. Thread the canister back onto the pump head and release the plunger handle.

Lift the Vehicle

Depending on the vehicle, lifting may be necessary to access chassis components. If you are not
sure how to lubricate chassis that rides low to the ground, start by raising the vehicle with a jack
and insert stands for safer access. It is a good idea to start working at one corner and work your
way around the front of the vehicle before moving to the rear to ensure that you do not overlook
any serviceable fittings. Unlocking the steering wheel so that wheels can turn may make it easier
to access all suspension points and steering components.

Apply Grease to Fittings

Each side of a vehicle typically has one upper and one lower ball joint and an outer tie rod end. It
may be necessary to remove offset tire assemblies and wheels to gain easy access to these
fittings. Every suspension point should have a bushing or joint, with up to a dozen fittings on the
front suspension system alone. Other points on the chassis that may benefit from lubrication
include tie rod ends, sway bar links, control arm pivots and up to three U-joints on the drive shaft
depending on whether a vehicle has front-wheel, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

If a fitting is serviceable, connect the hose of the grease gun to the grease fitting or zerk and push
on the connector until it clicks into place. Continue to pump the trigger until a bit of grease squirts
out of the connector side, making sure not to overfill the fitting. Fittings may become clogged with
dried grease or dirt and require cleaning with a wire and solvent or replacement. Inspect the
condition of fittings every six months to prolong the life of the driveline and suspension parts.


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