New cars lack these Zerk fittings and reduce the repeated assembly removal. Oscar Zerk invented this grease fitting that didn’t lock the coupler, and the fitting and seal stabilizes with a pushing pressure.
Do Cars Have Grease Fittings? Modern cars do not have grease fittings because the manufacturers have lubed them for life through sealed ball joints. They are absent due to their restriction in the 1980s, expensive fitting procedures, low maintenance sealing swap, multiple interval greasing, shorter lifespan with assembly removal, and avoiding contamination and reaction of water and lithium.
The trend for permanent seals has increased in the last many years. They require fewer replacements and facilitate internal lubrication.
What does grease fitting mean?
It is also known as Zerk fitting and grease nipples. It is a small metallic component with a slightly elongated body.
It inserts inside the bearings and ball joints. It works as a lubricator on mechanical parts. The deep and enclosed bearing gets enough lubrication due to excessive pressure.
With specific designs, they connect to a gun coupler. Next, they deliver a particular amount of grease, lubricate the stationary parts, and reduce friction from the moving systems.
It maintains a balance of lubricant inside the bearing and prevents over-greasing.
Where are grease fittings on a car?
You can find them in older and used cars. They are present on the ball joint and lower control arm. Also, they fit on the pivot points, bearings, and dual tie-rod end.
Ball joints connect the axle with the wheels and keep the connection secure for a long time. Improved performance increases the lifespan of a suspension system and keeps it intact for years.
To find it, compare the thread patterns with an already existing seal.
Why do modern cars not have grease fittings?
The high-tech, modern cars lack them due to their high maintenance. In addition, due to the following reasons, manufacturing companies skipped them.
Per unit installation, maintenance and tightening are expensive. Therefore, it increases the cost of one vehicle, and the customer complains about the exceeding prices. For example, the manufacturing company spends on penny on each unit.
For millions of cars, the total cost exceeds the standard limit and reduces the profit margins. Also, it turns the ball joint into an expensive piece of equipment.
The connection becomes costly due to repeated adjustments and control. Also, the Zerk ball joint slightly modifies the design of a vehicle and results in repair.
Low maintenance sealing swap
Permanent seals and low-maintenance swaps are available for the bearings and ball joints. Their origination reduces the usage and consumption of these high-maintenance fittings.
The manufacturing companies them for their durability and high performance. They fit in the bearings, serve as a lubricating tool and improve the lifespan of bearings.
Multiple interval greasing
The joints with Zerk fittings require multiple greasing at particular intervals. With incorrect greasing techniques, they lose their standard work efficiency.
It affects the ball joints and damages the bearings. In addition, the inadequate introduction of pressure reduces the level of lubricants.
With the vulnerable equipment, repetitive addition of lubricant is essential and keeps the joints safe for years.
Shorter lifespan with assembly removal
For greasing, people remove the assembly frequently, which reduces its lifespan. The introduction of foreign material in an enclosed area is challenging.
The removal of the entire assembly is essential. With the re-adjustment, contaminants enter the bearings and mix with the lubricants.
The contamination gets two entrance points. One is during the removal of assembly out the bearing, and the other is at the insertion point.
During each removal and installation, grit reduces and shortens the life expectancy of the connecting parts.
Auto-makers sealed the assemblies with the joints, rods, and bearings to avoid these problems.
To avoid contamination
At intervals, grease contaminates the moveable parts. In addition, their cleaning is challenging due to specific enclosed and deep designs.
Dust particles and sand enters the open joints. Next, they penetrate the bearings and settle at the bottom. Next, they mix with the pressurized lubricant.
Auto manufacturers stopped making them on modern vehicles to skip the effects of contamination.
The reaction of water and lithium
The automakers abandoned it due to the chemical reaction of water and lithium. Then, in the 1960s, manufacturers launched lithium grease for hidden moving parts and connecting points.
It was more effective than many other conventional petroleum products. Water affects lithium, reduces its shelf life, and breaks it into pieces. With the chemical reaction, water and lithium produce lithium hydroxide and a specific odor.
When did the manufacturers stop putting grease fittings on cars?
In the 1980s, the petroleum industry manufactured water-resistant, high-performance, and permanent seals for the ball and U-joints. The efficient seals were everlasting due to their specific design.
Nearly 30 years ago, they were a good idea due to their introduction in every car. Modern car makers use permanent and durable options for the joints and bearings.
These seals can withstand high-temperature conditions, repels excessive melting, and seals the suspension forever. As a result, they are adequate for the constant velocity joints and improve their lifespan.
By the 1980s, the automakers stopped making them and became dependable on permanent and long-lasting seals. They believe that the new equipment has a longer life expectancy and can survive the life of a modern vehicle.
Why should you clean the grease fittings before adding grease?
Before adding the lubricant, clean the greasing gun with a rag or lint-free fabric. Remove the excess lubricant from the metallic part and prevent over-greasing.
Cleaning is essential to keep the system intact and avoid the pressurized penetration of dirt particles in the bearings. The clogged metallic tool cannot lubricate the enclosed parts and affect the vehicle’s performance.
With clogging, springs cannot push the lubricating oil inside the system. Clean the assembly that contains a metallic cup with threads. The internal threads settle over the base plate that fixes inside the housing with screws.
To clean the cup, use a sharp wire, rub it inside the hollow area and remove the old lubricant from the screws. Next, wash it with a commercial solvent and rub it with a wire brush.
Do modern cars need grease fittings?
Unlike older vehicles, modern cars do not require these removable and vulnerable fittings. In addition, they do not require traditional lube services because the auto-makers have added durable seals over the joints.
With the particular design of the 1930s to 1970s, the used and new vehicles have them on the driveshaft.
But, the models above from the 1980s have lubed for life with non-removable seals and constant lubrication.
Manufacturing companies have adapted lubricated designs for suspension ball joints and steering tie rods.