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The Bearing 411

Picture of a forest on a cold day. Cold weather can affect bearing lubrication that can lead to costly downtime.

How Cold Weather Can Cause Bearing Failures

According to a study done by RKB, improper lubrication causes 80% of bearing failures. Another study by MIT estimates the cost of downtime caused by bearing lubrication failures is $240 billion in the United States alone.

What Causes Bearing Lubrication Errors?

According to RKB, waiting too long to renew the lubricant, lubricant contamination, and/or inadequate lubrication are the causes of bearing lubrication failure.

On the surface, if may seem that over or under-lubricating is at the heart of the problem. However – and especially now that the weather has turned colder – you need to consider lubricant viscosity. 

How Does Cold Weather Cause Bearing Failure?

It doesn’t matter if you use oil or grease: low ambient temperatures affect lubricant viscosity.

Lower temperatures mean higher viscosity, which restricts lubrication flow to the bearings. The end result is excessive friction and damage to the bearing. This eventually leads to machine failure.

What Should I Do?

If you suspect or know that bearing lubrication is a problem for your company but aren’t sure how to fix it, contact our engineering department at 770-385-6366 today. With a more than 30 years of combined experience, we can provide the information and lubrication services you need to get the most out of your bearings and avoid costly downtime.

Additional Reading

Are You Making These 3 Lubrication Mistakes

Why Using the Wrong Lubrication Could Destroy Your Bearings

How to use Ultrasound Technology to Prevent Over-Lubrication Bearing Failure

Common Causes of Bearing Failure: Volume 2