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Summary
  • Polyurethane bushings keep the metal parts in your vehicle from wearing down too much as they rub against each other.
  • Polyurethane bushings are stronger and more resilient compared to their rubber and plastic counterparts, but they need more maintenance work, which mainly consists of regular greasing.
  • Silicone- and lithium-based lubricants are the best types of grease to use for polyurethane bushings. Many polyurethane bushing manufacturers prefer silicone-based greases, and include specially formulated greases when you buy their products. Don’t use motor oil to grease your polyurethane greases, and only use spray lubricants as a temporary solution.
  • Use a liberal amount of grease when lubing your polyurethane bushings, and consider using a thin layer of teflon tape between the bushing parts to reduce squeaking.

Polyurethane bushings help prevent your vehicle’s components from wearing down too much as they rub against each other during regular operation. Keeping your vehicle’s bushings in tip-top shape is important. Greasing them properly is a part of bushing maintenance. In this article, we’ll look at what you need to know about greasing your polyurethane bushings.

What Are Polyurethane Bushings?

Polyurethane bushings are positioned between stationary and moving vehicle parts to keep them from wearing down from the friction between them. The bushing itself is a cylinder made up of two layers–a metal inner sleeve and an outer polyurethane shell. Though they tend to be noisier than rubber bushings, polyurethane bushings are also stronger and more resilient compared to their rubber and plastic counterparts.

Should You Grease Polyurethane Bushings?

One downside of polyurethane bushings is that you do need to regularly grease them to prevent loud squeaks. In addition, you need to grease them during installation to prevent them from squeaking from the start. Thankfully, reapplications aren’t too much of a hassle, but it’s something you don’t need to worry about with rubber bushings.

red polyurethane bushing attached to a  car component
Polyurethane bushings are positioned between stationary and moving vehicle parts to keep them from wearing down from the friction between them.

Best Polyurethane Bushings Greases

There are different types of grease out there, and not all of them are suitable for polyurethane bushings. Here are the best types of grease to use for your vehicle’s polyurethane bushings:

Silicone-Based Lubricant

Silicone oil combined with either lithium soap or inert fillers turns into a silicone-based lubricant. It’s odorless, low-toxic, waterproof and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Silicone-based lubricant is a pasty substance that doesn’t cure, making it perfect for greasing polyurethane bushings. Many polyurethane bushing manufacturers recommend silicone-based lubricants as the best grease for polyurethane bushings.

Lithium-Based Grease

Lithium-based grease is the most common lubricating grease. It’s made up of oil mixed with lithium soap and other additives. The resulting grease is water-resistant and can withstand high temperatures, making it more resilient than sodium- and calcium-based greases. It also doesn’t break down under heavy loads and adheres well to metals. That being said, it’s a thinner, less tacky grease than silicone-based lubricant. Lithium-based greases like marine grease and heavy-duty grease still work well for polyurethane bushings, but silicone-based lubricants are usually better.

Manufacturer-Recommended Grease

If you’re buying a new set of polyurethane bushings, they likely come with their own pre-packaged grease straight from the manufacturer. This grease is specially formulated for use with those bushings, so it’s the best option when greasing a new set. You can usually buy the grease separately if you need to reapply it. More often than not, manufacturer-recommended grease is silicone-based grease.

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What Greases To Avoid

When choosing a grease for your vehicle’s polyurethane bushings, there are a few types of greases you should avoid. These include the following:

Spray Lubricants

Spray lubricants are a quick fix for squeaky polyurethane bushings, but they’re by no means a good one. Keep a can in your trunk for emergencies, but know that it won’t be long before the bushings start squeaking again. Instead of relying on spray lubricants,it’s best to bite the bullet and reapply the manufacturer-recommended grease the right way.

Motor Oil

Motor oil is excellent in closed systems such as your vehicle’s engine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do so well in areas exposed to the elements. Polyurethane bushings aren’t usually in a sealed system, so motor oils, even high-quality motor oils, aren’t great at keeping them lubricated.

Polyurethane Bushing Grease Tips

You need to be liberal when applying grease. Add grease to both the outside of the bushing and the outside of the inner metal sleeve. Some mechanics also suggest adding a layer of teflon tape to these areas. Teflon tape is durable and slippery, meaning it can withstand being compressed into the bushing slots. Just be sure to not let the tape overlap on itself as you wrap the bushing, or it might slip off when you install the part.

Polyurethane bushings are a great upgrade from rubber and plastic bushings, but you need to care for them properly. You do have to grease polyurethane bushings if you don’t want them to squeak a lot. Now that you’re more familiar with which greases to use and which to avoid, you should be able to avoid the dreaded bushing squeaks with regular maintenance.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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