How to Grease a Pillowblock Bearing


Pillow block bearings are used in all types of industrial applications. Large garden implements also incorporate pillow-block style bearings in certain circumstances. This type of bearing is used to support and align a shaft between a driven component—such as a fan—and the drive motor. The actual bearing is typically a standard rolling-element bearing. The difference lies in the housing in which the bearing is enclosed. It both supports the bearing and provides a means for mounting onto a flat surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Grease gun
  • Clean shop rag
  • Read the equipment manufacturer’s instructions to determine the appropriate type of grease recommended for servicing. If that is not available, an NLGI No. 2 general purpose grease will work.

  • Determine the recommended amount of grease to be applied to the bearing. The equipment or bearing manufacturer provides this information with the equipment. If this level of detail is unavailable, the secondary option is to apply grease slowly until a small amount of excess first starts to seep out from the bearing seals.

  • Service the bearing while it is operating and at its normal operating temperature. Clean the grease fitting—commonly referred to a a zerk fitting—and place the grease gun hose fitting onto the bearing's grease zerk. Allow the grease gun's hose end fitting to support itself in place while pumping the grease gun handle. Holding the grease gun in place by hand is a dangerous practice as grease can be injected into the skin.

  • Stop greasing when the first sign of grease extrusion from the bearing's seals is observed. Remove the grease gun from the fitting and clean it off with a shop rag. Leave a grease coating on the grease zerk to help keep out contamination.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep grease fittings and servicing tools clean to extend bearing life.
  • Keep loose clothing away from moving parts while servicing an operating bearing.
  • Never hold the grease gun's hose-end fitting by hand while pumping grease to prevent potential hand injury.

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  • Photo Credit lagerbock image by Gerald Sauer from
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