Using the right grease is one of the most important decisions you can make as you prepare equipment for the high-pressure planting season. But recent updates in grease formulations might make you do a double take as you get ready for spring.
“When you put the grease into your grease gun and on bearings, you’re going to notice it looks different,” says Andrew Hamilton, director of technical services and quality for Cenex® lubricants and refined fuels. “That is on purpose. You’re getting a better grease.”
Cenex greases, including the popular Blue Gard® 500+™ and ML 365®, have been reformulated to meet higher quality standards. You may notice the greases have a lighter appearance. That is due in part to replacing sulfur in the original formula with calcium carbonate to improve performance under high-moisture conditions.
Hamilton explains the new formulation this way: “We set out to build a stiffer, more complex grease, a grease that holds its components in a more structured, uniform way. Our former formulas were like a fluffy sponge with lots of open areas like a sea sponge. It soaks up water just fine, but may not hold the water as well because of all the open voids. Our new formulas are like man-made sponges with lots of small, consistent holes that suck up and hold an enormous amount of water.”
This ability to expand and contract, while holding the grease’s important additive components, makes for a stronger, longer-lasting grease. The additives do everything from protecting equipment from rust and corrosion to avoiding damage from water resistance and temperature fluctuations.
“The new greases stay in place longer, creating a reliable protective layer around critical equipment parts,” Hamilton says.
“We listened to feedback from farmers about what they liked and didn’t like about our products. And we took that into consideration when we set out to build a better grease.”
Greasing the skids for lube answers
Hamilton offers the following tips to help you talk to experts about grease needs.
1) Take a picture of the grease product and packaging you are using. “It’s important to provide all product details, especially when it comes to considering compatibility of greases.”
2) Analyze your needs. “Think about what you need the grease to do, when you plan to use it and what the conditions will be.” Knowing whether the product needs to withstand water or will be used in cold weather affects your choice.
3) Seek help online. Look for how-to video tutorials on grease product formulations and applications. And check the Cenex Lubricants Recommendation Tool at cenex.com, which helps find lubricants and greases for agricultural and off-road equipment, trucks and cars.