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How to Load a Grease Gun

Man loading a grease gun

A grease gun can help you keep your car's components properly lubricated.Certain car, truck, and equipment parts need lubricant to function at their best. That’s where a grease gun comes in. This tool allows you to easily lubricate the parts that keep your car running smoothly and reliably.

To do its job, a grease gun needs to be loaded with adequate amounts of lubricant. Wondering how to load a grease gun? Follow the steps listed below.

This task takes about 10 minutes. You’ll need the following items:

  • Rubber gloves
  • A rag
  • A new grease cartridge
  • A grease gun

1. Get the Right Type of Grease

You have a lot of different choices when it comes to the type of grease used in your grease gun. The options range from general-purpose grease to grease designed specifically for high-temperature wheel bearings. Before loading grease into your grease gun, make sure you’re choosing the right type of grease for the task at hand.

2. Prepare for the Task

Loading a grease gun can be messy. Tackle the task in a clear space. If there are items nearby, cover them to protect them from grease splatter. Put on gloves, and wear them throughout every step of loading the grease gun.

3. Unscrew the End Cap of the Grease Gun

Loosen the head of the grease gun and unscrew it completely. This will allow you to access the cartridge it contains.

4. Remove the Empty Cartridge and Reset the Spring

Remove the empty cartridge. The grease gun has a spring and plunger rod handle that allow this device to dispense grease. To retract the spring, pull the plunger rod handle. Then, twist it and lock it to set it in place.

5. Load the New Grease Cartridge

The new grease cartridge has a plastic cap. Remove and discard it. You’ll see that the new cartridge isn’t completely full of grease. Insert the cartridge into the body of the grease gun, starting with the end that shows there’s some empty space in the cartridge. It may be necessary to twist the cartridge a bit to get it to fit properly.

6. Remove the Cartridge Seal

Next, remove the seal from the exposed end of the grease cartridge. Typically, this seal looks like an aluminum tab. To remove it, simply tear it off. If you’re using a smaller cartridge, the seal may be made of foil. Either way, make sure to completely remove the seal so that no small pieces remain.

7. Prepare the Grease Gun’s Body

Once you’ve loaded the cartridge, attach the grease gun’s body to its head. Screw the head onto the body, but don’t fully tighten it. Give the plunger rod handle a twist so the spring can be released, then push this handle all the way into the grease gun. This will help remove any trapped air that can prevent the grease gun from performing as it should. Now that the trapped air has been removed, you’re ready to fully tighten the grease gun’s body.

8. Prime the Gun

Priming the grease gun ensures that it’s ready to perform when you need it. To do so, pump the handle until grease begins to flow. Use the rag you have on hand to catch the grease.

Now you know how to load a grease gun, and you’ll be able to easily keep your car, truck, tractor, or any other equipment parts lubricated.

Check out all the lubrication equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on grease guns, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

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Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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