It is interesting to note that the majority of packaged bearings indicate no reference to lube "shelf life." Lubricant manufacturers who might make recommendations on shelf life will make those recommendations based on shelf life related only to the storage life of the lubricant in the original container. Once the lubricant has been applied to a bearing or other device, factors which the manufacturer can neither predict nor control will govern lubricant life. Therefore the onus falls upon the end user to establish a different policy regarding either storage or operating life.
Our own established internal control procedures dictate after 2-3 years, or prior to dispatch, a review of packaging and lubrication is conducted. This is a scheduled time for review and does not presuppose that the lubricant has aged beyond its usefulness. Our policy here is that lubrication is "on-condition" unless a shelf life appears on the bearing manufacturer’s label.
In other words, the bearing and packaging should be evaluated by inspecting the package integrity and the visual appearance of the grease or oil for hardening, caking, discoloration, separation, etc. If the package is unbroken and the bearing lubrication appears normal, that review date of that part is extended accordingly. It should be noted that bearings that we have in stock are inventoried in a controlled environment in sealed containers.
In the event the lubrication is ever questionable, bearings can be re-lubricated. If you feel you have bearings that do need re-lubrication, even if you didn’t buy them from us, please contact us. We would be happy to help you with your requirement. Contact Us >