Can You Use Vaseline As Bike Grease – Do They Work The Same?

When your bike needs greasing and you have no grease, a quick fix is the way to go. At times, getting an alternative is almost always inevitable, especially when you are low on budget. So, can you use Vaseline as bike grease?

You can use Vaseline (petroleum jelly) as a bike lubricant without issues. However, it melts at lower temperatures (40-60 degrees Celsius) as compared to grease. All the same, when you have no grease, Vaseline would be ideal for a quick alternative.

 In addition, a white lithium grease tub is cheaper than Vaseline. Therefore, it would make no economic sense to use petroleum jelly instead of grease to lubricate your bike.

Can You Use Vaseline As Bike Grease

Can You Use Vaseline As Bike Grease – Is It Good For Bearings?

Basically, grease and Vaseline have the same base component. So, Vaseline would work perfectly as a lubricant on your bike.

All the same, there is a catch!

Petroleum jelly has a low melting point (40-60 degrees Celsius), making it unsuitable for use on components that generate heat.

When installing bike parts that have threads or where you need to prevent cold welding, Vaseline can work flawlessly. 

When it comes to bearing, only use petroleum jelly for emergency fixes. However, if the metal temperature of the bearing will not get to the melting point of petroleum jelly, Vaseline should work fine.

Unfortunately, Vaseline also dries faster, and you have to remove the old one and apply a new layer regularly. 

The other shortcoming of using petroleum jelly as a lubricant on the bearings is the cost. Vaseline is several times as expensive as automobile multipurpose or bike-specific grease.

Therefore, you should consider going for bike grease, such as the  Finish Line Premium Grease, made with Teflon Fluoropolymer. This grease can withstand high pressure without steering, and so it prevents wear and distortion of bike parts, especially the bearings.

Can I Use Vaseline On My Bike Pedals

At some point, you will need to replace your bike pedals. Whether the current ones are worn out, or you have a different pedal preference, you have to unscrew the pedals.

In that case, if the threads were not greased during assembly, you will have a hard time undoing the pedals.

Technically, corrosion may cause cold welding (seizing) of the pedal threads on the crank arms. 

Therefore, you need to grease the threads during assembly. 

If the only lubricant during assembly is Vaseline, go ahead and use it. Petroleum jelly comes from the same oil base as regular grease.

It is always advisable to go for bike grease or regular automobile grease if it’s not an emergency. Also, marine grease such as the Lucas Oil 10005 Red ‘N’ Tacky Grease would be a perfect choice for bike pedals. 

Where Do I Grease My Road Bike

Can I Use Vaseline On My Bike Chain?

The chain is one of the most abused components of a bike during any ride. However, if you take good care of your bike chain, it will serve you for a long time.

Since the chain has so many links, it needs regular lubrication. So can Vaseline work on my bike chain?

If there is no other form of lubricant at the moment, Vaseline will save the situation. Petroleum jelly can work as a chain lubricant, but it has some shortfalls.

First, it is more viscous than regular chain lubes or oil. Therefore, it doesn’t easily reach the inner surfaces of a bike chain. Also, the mode of application for Vaseline is quite different compared to oil or other bike lubes.

 As a result, by the time Vaseline reaches the inner surfaces of the chain links, the damage will be magnificent.

In addition, Vaseline will collect a lot of dirt and grime, and when it reaches the inner parts of the chain roller, you will have a sticky and gritty mess.

Notably, the collected dirt would have an abrasive effect on your chain and chainrings and accelerate wearing out. 

All the same, instead of running on a dry chain, anything is better than nothing. If Vaseline is all that you have, you can use it for a quick fix. 

At the same time, you need to go for a proper chain lube such as the Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner & Lubricant. It helps to flush out old grease and dirt and lubricates the chain. The lube also protects the chain against rust.

Can I Use Vaseline On My Bike Pedals

Other Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Grease Should I Use On My Bike Pedals?

Different types of lubricants are available in the stores. All the same, research has shown that Polyurea greases are the best for bike bearings and pedals. Actually, they are the best grade lubricants for extreme weather riding.

2. Can You Use Vaseline As Bike Seat Post

Whenever you assemble metal against metal on a bike, the best thing to do is apply some barrier to avoid corrosion.

Therefore, when installing a seat post in the seat tube, you need to grease the two pieces. If you don’t have any grease with you, Vaseline will work just fine.

3. Where Do I Grease My Road Bike?

As a rule of the thumb, if a bicycle part moves or has threads, it most likely needs greasing. The only bike part without those features and needs some grease is the seat post. Specifically, you should grease the seat post, pedal threads, and bottom brackets. 

All the same, you should not grease between the bottom bracket spindle and the cranks.

4. Is Lithium Grease Good For Bikes?

Lithium grease is ideal for use on any part of your bicycle. Actually, most manufacturers rub bike screws in lithium grease before installation. Also, since the grease is thick, it holds the bearing balls better when reassembling a bicycle hub.

5. Can I Use Cooking Oil On My Bike Chain?

For emergency purposes, vegetable oil would work well as a chain lubricant. However, it isn’t advisable to use cooking oil as a dedicated chain lube. It collects a lot of dirt faster than purpose-made chain lube.

Also, Read: What kind of grease should I use on my bike?

In Summary

There are many alternatives that you can use to keep your bike lubricated at all times. But can you use Vaseline bike grease?

From our discussion above, we found that petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) has a common base product with regular grease.

The main difference between grease and Vaseline is their melting points.

Grease can withstand high working temperatures, while Vaseline will melt at a point slightly higher than the human body temperature. Unfortunately, this is a big disadvantage when using Vaseline as bike grease.

In addition, grease is way cheaper than grease, which makes the use of Vaseline unsustainable.

All the same, for an emergency, Vaseline would work as a perfect grease substitute.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use instead of bike grease?

In some cases, individuals are in need of bike grease but may not have any available. In these situations, it’s common to look for readily accessible substitutes. The most frequently used alternatives to bike chain lube are known to be olive oil, various kinds of household greases, and even cooking oil. These choices are popular for their availability, and their ability to provide some level of lubrication to the bike chain. While they may not offer the same performance as a dedicated bike grease, they can certainly serve in a pinch. Personally, I have found that olive oil can work well, though it does require more frequent application. Remember it’s always best to use products designed for your bicycle to get optimal performance and avoid any potential damage.

Is it beneficial for cyclists to use Vaseline?

Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is an incredibly versatile product. A less known use of it is to provide an auxiliary barrier against the elements while cycling. Some cyclists, including a few of my cycling buddies, have reported slathering Vaseline on their legs and buttocks to repel water sprays, avoiding the discomfort of feeling damp and cold during long wet rides. Additionally, Vaseline can be applied to your face to act as a shield against the wind on exposed skin. It also works as a makeshift chamois cream for some, but for those who regularly cycle long distances, investing in a dedicated chamois cream might be a better solution. However, one should always remember that while Vaseline can provide interim solutions, it is not a substitute for proper cycling gear or accessories.

Is Vaseline identical to grease?

There are often misconceptions when it comes to the equivalence of grease and petroleum jellies like Vaseline. The truth is, they’re not entirely the same. Typically, grease is a blend of soap emulsified with mineral or vegetable oil. On the other hand, Vaseline is not generally categorized as a grease. The primary function of grease is to lubricate mechanisms that require regular lubrication, but where a lubricating oil cannot stay in place. For instance, in my years of experience in mechanical maintenance, using the right type of lubrication is crucial as it can greatly affect the performance and lifespan of your machinery and equipment. So while Vaseline and grease may appear familiar, they serve diverse purposes and shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

Can Vaseline be used as gear grease?

While Vaseline is indeed a type of petroleum jelly and shares certain properties with certain lubricants, it is not advisable to use it as gear grease. Amongst the reasons is the capability of Vaseline to degrade plastics which is detrimental to some gear mechanisms. Additionally, Vaseline is incredibly viscous, about 8000 weight, which can result in it causing more drag than lubrication to the gears, similar to gluing them together rather than allowing them to slide smoothly. White lithium grease is often suggested as a gentle yet effective lubricant. From my experience, even a small quantity can make a substantial difference. I have also found that candle wax could be a viable alternative too. Just ensure that the gearing is correctly cleaned and maintained to enhance the performance of your bike chain.