Greasing your bike regularly is important for a stable (and quiet) ride. If you’re out of bike grease, though, can you use Vaseline as bike grease?
Many people complain about their bikes making noises, the drive not being as smooth as it once used to be, and the control not being as good as it once was. Have you ever wondered what the possible cause of all these problems is? There might be nothing wrong with your bike except a lack of lubrication.
If you’ve run out of bike grease, you might be looking for any alternative products that are easily available at home and can be used to grease the bike. One option that you may have in mind might be Vaseline. The good news is that you can definitely use Vaseline as bike grease!
Your bike comprises various moving parts that are highly susceptible to rusting and wear. Just like any machine, your bike needs regular lubrication. If you don’t grease the parts of your bike routinely, you’ll notice a significant drop in performance and control. The more attention you pay to lubricating your bike, the longer it’ll retain its condition.
As experienced mechanics, we’ve seen our fair share of poorly maintained bikes. Most of these issues could have been easily avoided had they been greasing their bikes regularly, even if it was just using Vaseline in place of bike grease.
The Importance of Greasing Your Bike Regularly
You’ve probably been told numerous times to ensure that your bike is properly lubricated at all times. You’re told to check the oil and to make sure that you use bike grease at regular intervals. But why is this the case?
Reduces Friction and Wear
Your bike has many moving parts, including the chain, bearings, gear levers, and brakes, among many others. When there are moving parts, there’s friction. The more friction there is, the more wear and tear the parts go through.
One of the many reasons why your bike presents signs that it needs tuning and repair is your negligence when it comes to grease. With a lack of lubrication, the level of friction and the extent of wear and tear is drastically increased, leading to parts of your bike getting worn out sooner than later.
However, adequate greasing will reduce friction, thereby reducing wear and tear, and this will eventually improve the longevity of the bike components.
Protects Against Environmental Factors
Most of your bike’s parts are exposed to the environment. This means that your bike is highly susceptible to damage due to environmental factors. In fact, if you ride your bike during rain and snow, the chances of your bike components getting rusted, especially the chain, increase by several folds.
But with proper greasing, you can prevent that from happening. Grease offers excellent protection from abrasive components and corrosion.
It basically reduces the impact of environmental factors and improves the longevity of your bike.
If you’ve started to hear squeaking noises when you ride your bike, it’s probably due to a dry chain or dry bike parts that are in constant motion.
As we mentioned above, there’s constant friction between all the moving parts of a bike, and without lubrication, they’re bound to make noise. If you grease your bike routinely, you can prevent these noises and enjoy a smoother ride.
One of the most common problems of a dry bike chain is poor shifting. If the shifting is bad, you won’t have the best control of your bike.
Your bike may not speed up as it should, and there will be a significant drop in its efficiency. Bad shifting may be due to a dry chain. You can change all of it. All you’ve got to do is grease your bike chain.
Is Vaseline a Good Alternative to Bike Grease?
Now that you know how important it is to grease your bike, let’s come to the more important part of the discussion: is Vaseline a good alternative to bike grease?
Although we suggest that you keep bike grease in stock at times, you can use Vaseline to grease your bike if you’ve run out of grease and you can’t make a run to the auto store. Although the melting temperature of Vaseline is much lower than grease, it serves as a good alternative when you’ve got no bike grease.
Also, did you know that both Vaseline and bike grease are made using the same base component? This makes these two a lot more similar than you might think.
Where Can You Use Vaseline as Bike Grease?
Because Vaseline melts at a much lower temperature than bike grease, it comes with certain limitations. We’ve compiled a list of all the parts of the bike where you can use Vaseline as bike grease.
Parts with Threading
Vaseline works great as grease in any parts where there’s threading. It also is a great option to grease any parts of the bike where you’ve got to prevent cold welding. If you aren’t going on a very long route where the bearings may get heated up too much (higher than the melting point of petroleum jelly), you can also use Vaseline to lubricate the bearings.
Another part of the bike that needs adequate lubrication is the bike chain. In fact, if there’s any part of your bike that’s used the most (or should we say abused?), it’s the chain. The chain of the bike comprises various links, and it needs lubrication more than any part of the bike. If you don’t have bike grease available, you can use Vaseline as an alternative for the time being.
The bike pedals can also benefit significantly from Vaseline. If the threads of the pedals aren’t greased at the time of assembly, you may face extreme difficulty in unscrewing them at the time of replacing the pedals.
If the pedals have corroded, they may seize, making it all more difficult to unscrew them. However, if you grease the threads, unscrewing the old pedals will be a lot easier. If you don’t have bike grease available when you’re assembling new pedals, Vaseline may do the job as well as grease since the base components of the two products are the same!
Shortfalls of Vaseline as an Alternative to Bike Grease
While Vaseline is an excellent go-to alternative, it does have some shortfalls. After all, it isn’t made for this purpose.
- It can’t be used to lubricate any parts of the bike that produce heat because it melts at a much lower temperature, and if it melts, it’ll do more harm than good.
- Vaseline (or petroleum jelly) dries up quickly (much faster than grease). Therefore, you’ve got to remove the old layer and replace it with a fresh layer much more frequently as compared to grease.
- Vaseline is not an economically viable alternative to grease. It’s more expensive. The cost of one small jar of Vaseline is the same as one large tub of bike grease. So, you can well imagine how costly it’ll be to use it as bike grease regularly. Don’t forget it needs more frequent application than grease since it dries faster!
- Vaseline is thicker and denser as compared to bike grease or oil. As a result, it doesn’t penetrate deep into the bike parts. By the time it does reach the inner parts, the outer layer has already dried, and the damage to the inner parts has already occurred.
- Vaseline collects more dirt than grease as it’s stickier. The dirt that gets collected can cause abrasion of your bike parts.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson