Is there a sensible difference between special bike grease (i.e. park tool grease) and grease used in vehicles?

Is it worth (when speaking about cheap bikes) spending 10 times more money for special grease, or will vehicle grease be enough?

  • But park is not 10 times more. If you by regular then get water resistant grease.
    – paparazzo
    May 13 '15 at 8:43
  • 1
    For the amount of grease you use on a bike there's no point is being stingy. Bike grease is selected for bike service -- more water-resistant, less apt to "run", not compromised by the auto requirement to endure high bearing temperatures. May 13 '15 at 11:33
  • 2
    Where is this grease being used?
    – Batman
    May 13 '15 at 12:07
  • @DanielRHicks This question is because I own a LBS. Now in our country all the LBS using a grease designed for vehicles. And yes, for me parktool grease cost about 10 times more.
    – Alexander
    May 13 '15 at 20:56
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    Yes bike grease is better than car grease. But for me this is like a discussion if frozen vegetables are better than canned. Yes frozen vegetables are marginally better. Eating vegetables is healthy. The point is you are using grease.
    – paparazzo
    May 13 '15 at 21:28

Each kind of grease will perform best at a certain temperature. And is designed for a certain speed of movement of the parts it is used at to reach and not exceed that temperature.

So yes, it is worth it to use the special grease for bikes or get an other kind of grease that is designed for the speeds/temperature your parts will get.

I found that when a friend opened the ball bearings of one of the rear wheels of my recumbent trike and showed me dried out grease, which had just never gotten warm enough to spread through the bearing. He replaced it with grease for slow moving ball bearings. From then on the trike did run much better.

For the grease that does not move, there are also different ones. And again designed for different work. For those parts of your bike where you hardly ever want movement, you want grease that does not stick when it gets old. It should not go soapy or sticky because it changed character.

  • For bearings this makes sense, but what about non-moving parts like seatposts and quill stems?
    – Kibbee
    May 13 '15 at 18:57
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    @Kibbee - Ideally one would use an "anti-seize compound" on seatposts and the like, but, except for exotic materials, the choice is not particularly critical -- just something that won't tend to run. May 13 '15 at 19:31

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