Did you know that a large percentage of electric motor failures are due to bearings and bearing lubrication issues in particular? It’s true, which is why it’s essential to keep your bearings adequately lubricated. Doing so will increase the lifespan and performance of your electric motor and help you avoid costly breakdowns and downtime.


As one of the leading electric motor repair specialists in PA, NJ, and NY, the team from North End Electric has collected some insightful facts for you here to help keep your bearings lubricated and in great condition.

Here are 7 Factors that Impact Bearing Lubrication in Electric Motors

Operating Temperature 

The temperature at which your electric motor operates should always be within the manufacturer’s recommended parameters. This is because the higher the temperature, the more quickly the lubricants used for your electric motor bearings will break down due to oxidation and evaporation, reducing their effectiveness and causing serious issues. One way to combat this is to inspect your electric motor frequently and apply extra lubricant as needed.

Hours of Operation  

For electric motors that are in continuous operation, it’s no surprise that they will require lubrication more often than ones that aren’t running 24/7. You can determine when it’s time to add additional lubricant by paying close attention to the hours your electric motor is running and providing it with lubricant per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Often, most electric motor makers will determine how often to relubricate based on the quality of the grease and the conditions in which the motor operates. However, generally light to medium-duty motors will often require relubrication on an annual basis if running continuously.

Motors Running at High Speeds

Electric motors that are running at higher speeds or revolutions per minute (RMPs) will take more of a toll on the bearing lubricant than others, causing it to break down much quicker. This is due to the fact the faster the motor is running, the hotter it is, causing the need for bearing lubricant application more frequently.

Bearing Type & Size

This specific type and size of your electric motor’s bearings also play a role in the amount of lubrication it needs to function at peak performance levels. The larger the bearings in your motor are, the more lubricant will be required for it to function properly. With regard to bearing type, typically, shielded bearings that are sealed will often maintain the optimal level of grease much longer than bearings with components that are unsealed and exposed, such as roller, thrust, and open-ball bearings.

Electric Motor Vibration  

Vibration can be a particularly tricky hurdle for electric motors to overcome, as they can cause not only problems with bearings and lubricants but other issues with the motor’s components as well. Motors that experience high amounts of vibration while operating cause their lubricant to drain more freely into the compartment housing the rolling component of their bearings, which produces excessive heat and causes the lubricant to evaporate more quickly. Additionally, excessive vibration in your electric motor is often a red flag that there are other problems with its components, so it should be inspected as soon as possible.

Electric Motor Operating Environments  

As mentioned above, the manufacturer’s recommendations for relubrication take an electric motor’s operating environment into account. This is because some environments are more stressful on motors than others. For example, in more humid and extreme environments, grease can be easily contaminated due to its sticky properties; it easily attracts dirt, dust, and other debris. Additionally, operating areas with high humidity break down bearing lubricants more easily. On the opposite end of the spectrum, colder environments can also take their toll on electric motor bearing lubricants because the cold will make lubricants more resistant and viscous. This, in turn, prevents the proper lubrication of the bearings’ rolling elements.

Types of Lubricants  

The viscosity of various lubricant types and their properties can also affect your electric motor’s performance. It’s important to note that some motors require grease, while others need oil to function properly, and using the wrong lubricant can drastically affect its operation. There are some key differences between the two types of lubricants. Grease is composed of a thickener and additives with a semi-solid base oil that’s either synthetic or composed of various minerals. For motors operating in less extreme environments, mineral bases are preferred, but for those working under more extreme conditions, a synthetic base is recommended to make the lubricant last longer.


Viscosity is also a key component when it comes to bearing lubrication and needs to be taken into account, along with the speed at which your motor is running and the temperature it maintains. There are varying mineral oil viscosity ranges that are ideal for different applications, so be sure to check your operator’s manual before choosing the right one for your motor.


Contact us today for electric motor repair, maintenance, and more!


Serving Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and the other surrounding areas in PA, NJ, and NY, North End Electric has the experience and expertise to provide first-class electric motor repairs and maintenance. We’re equipped to service HVAC motors, drives and soft starters, and all of the electric motors from today’s leading manufacturers.


Additionally, North End Electric also specializes in pump service and repair, generator maintenance and repair, and boasts a full-service machine shop for all of your electric motor needs. As a third-generation, family-owned company that’s been in operation for more than 60 years, our extensive industry knowledge is unmatched in the area.


North End Electric is committed to providing quality service, and affordable solutions, always with the customer first in mind. To learn more about our electric motor repair solutions or receive a quote, contact us online or call 1 (800) 933-7341 today!