Why we love… Grease nipples

How could you love a grease nipple? It’s a nasty, slimy, messy, dirty thing, a chore to deal with, an ever-present admonishment of neglect if ignored.

Pre-war cars have lots of them, with maintenance schedules demanding a shot of grease sometimes as often as every 500 miles.

Post-war that tended to be extended to 1000 miles and even beyond – perhaps as many as 5000 miles between gun-squeezes – but you can see why ‘no greasing points’ became an attractive selling point as manufacturers developed sealed-for-life balljoints, universal joints and other pivots. ‘How long is “life”?’

asked mechanics, rather metaphysically. But there is something reassuringly permanent about a grease nipple, and the possibility it offers that you, not some obsolescence-loving cost-accountant, are in control of your lubricated joint’s longevity. Treat it well, feed it with the right grease (or oil, sometimes) and it might last indefinitely. You can hope, anyway.

I knew of an old mechanic who took such pride in his work that he would unscrew every grease nipple, clean it, squeeze grease through it and refit it before re-applying the grease gun. It took ages. It was pure automotive Zen. And still the garage paid him.

Grease nipples

Grease nipples

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