Grease Gun Not Working – How To Solve (Mini, Normal, Pneumatic)

A Grase Gun Not Working ProperlyThe grease gun is one of the most useful and common workshops and garage tools. Using this mechanical tool is easy, yet it requires some maintenance. You may face problems with the parts of a grease gun i.e. plunger, coupler, piston rod, cartridge, etc.

Today, I’ll discuss why is your grease gun not working and how you can solve the problem. Please, follow and read them attentively. Hope this will broaden knowledge of grease gun maintenance.

Possible Reasons Why Grease Gun Not Working

Plunger Related Problems

One of the most common problems you’ll encounter is that grease gun plunger not working. There can be various problems regarding grease gun plunger.

Sometimes you’ll see that you are having trouble pumping the grease out of your grease gun. This happens when the plunger of a grease gun is too stiff to work properly or the plunger itself is too large for the gun. Basically, a new grease gun comes with a stiff plunger.

You should push the plunger a little harder. Now, pull the plunger back and before. Putting the cartridge in, smear some of the greases around the inside of the barrel. Smear the grease as far as you reach because it will make your procedure easier.

After smearing around the inside of the barrel, slide the plunger up and down several times. This will help the plunger to pick up the grease and lubricate itself. Entering the cartridge will be easier after doing these simple steps and pumping the grease won’t face any difficulties.

Air Lock Related Problems

If you see that your grease gun plunger still won’t enter the cartridge, it means that your grease gun plunger has an air lock. Your plunger is pumping air and because of that after compressing air into the air lock, it will not move forward.

Having air lock in a grease gun is also a very common issue or you can say the most common issue. Now, I’m going to teach you how to solve this air lock problem in your grease gun.

Air lock means that your grease gun has caught air at the top of it. This air lock will cause the pumping of the grease to become harder. Sometimes no amount grease can come out of the gun because of the air lock.

Air locks mainly occur while installing a new cartridge. You have to follow these steps to solve this issue –

  • First, you have to turn the barrel anticlockwise 2-3 times. This will help the barrel to get rid of the trapped air from the top. Don’t turn the barrel more than 2-3 times, it will just make the job harder.
  • After turning the barrel, it will get loosened and with the barrel still loosened from the body, pump the handle in and out.
  • Pumping the handle in and out several times, you’ll see some grease is being released.
  • Now, turn the barrel clockwise again to seal up the gun while the handle is being compressed and held in.

If you follow these steps carefully, you will have no problem with air lock in your grease gun.

Keep in mind that grease guns come in various type i.e. pneumatic grease gun, air grease gun, battery-operated grease gun, electric grease gun, etc. If your pneumatic grease gun not working or air grease gun not working properly because of air lock, both will be solved following the solution I gave above.

Air lock is also a big problem for mini grease guns. If your mini grease gun has an air lock, you’ll see that your mini grease gun not working.

Air lock in a mini grease gun is removed by priming the mini grease gun. For this follow my instructions carefully.

  • First, you have to pull the pull rod using the t-handle all the way down. This will lock the pull rod and help you to load the gun with grease.
  • There is a metal cylinder inside the grease gun. Now, unscrew the metal cylinder and pull the empty grease cartridge out.
  • Now, you have to take a new grease cartridge. Pull the rubber or plastic cap from the top of the cartridge and peel off the mask from it. Slide the new grease cartridge into the metal cylinder. Make sure that metal-tab end faces down toward the dispensing nozzle of the gun.
  • Screw the cylinder again with the gun.
  • Unlock the t-handle and pull rod. Now, push the pull rod in and out of the new grease cartridge two or three times. This will allow grease to flow and create a channel to push air out of the back of the cylinder.
  • Now, squeeze the handle of the gun several times consistently until you see grease coming out of your grease gun through the dispensing nozzle. You have to do this step aiming for something that won’t be affected by grease, which can be trash or a shop rag or your work surface.
  • Unscrew the bleed at the top of your grease gun and pump the handle of the grease gun. This will help to open up the flow of your grease gun.

You don’t have to perform priming your grease gun again unless your new grease cartridge is cold and heavy.

While you are applying grease in your grease gun, if it loses its prime, then pull the t-handle and pull the rod back out and pump it in and out few times. This will solve the problem.

Spring Related Problems

There are few spring related problems in a grease gun. You might face them while working with a grease gun.

Sometimes, the spring can’t provide the adequate pressure needed to force the grease into the feed chamber and through the coupler. This basically means that the spring in your grease gun is damaged. You have to replace the spring. You can buy them from a local hardware store.

Other Grease Gun Issues

If your grease gun is old, there is a chance that the piston rod of the grease gun is rusted or it has corroded and won’t be working properly.

To check whether the piston rod is rusted or not, depress the pressure out of the grease gun. Now, if you feel more friction than before, that means the piston rod is not working properly and you have to change your grease gun with a new one.

You also might face some problems with the coupler of the grease gun. Coupler in a grease gun can get damaged accidentally. If it is damaged, the grease won’t come out of the end of your grease gun nozzle. Then, you have to change the coupler of your grease gun.

Battery-powered grease gun can have a particular problem with the blocked nipple. This problem will be solved by replacing the nipple with a new one.

Grease contamination a very important factor in working with a grease gun. Grease is an oily thing and it attracts sand, dirt, etc. These sand or dirt can be transferred to whatever you are lubricating through the coupler and extension pipe of your grease gun.

You should replace your coupler and flexible extension pipe periodically to erase this contamination issue and it is always a good practice.

Sometimes, the barrel comes away from the head of your grease gun and this happens because of the cross-threading. To avoid cross-threading, you have to ensure that the barrel is square to the head before screwing the barrel into the head.

Do not use a lot of grease in the grease gun head, it will lead to cross-threading the barrel. Always be careful when screwing the barrel into the head.

Tips to Keep Your Grease Gun Working All The Time

  • Always clean the fittings you are greasing. This will help you to avoid contamination.
  • You don’t need to grease something that needs changing. If the fitting you are going to grease is rusty or damaged, then it can become an issue later down the line. Always double check your fittings before greasing.
  • Always clean your grease gun after every use. If you don’t clean your grease gun properly, you are just creating more trouble for yourself. Cleaning helps the grease gun to run smoothly.
  • You should not tighten up the barrel too much because it can occur pressure failure within the grease gun. Otherwise, you’ll see your grease gun not working properly. When you are refilling your grease cartridge, never mix two types of grease together. If you are using two types of grease together, you’ll see that they are not mixing properly and that can leave you with a damaged grease gun and some wasted grease.

Final Words

90% of the time, the problem you might face is air lock or plunger related. You can remove air lock and plunger related problems following the instructions I’ve said. You have to be very careful fixing your grease gun-related problems because you might get yourself into some accident. Follow my instructions carefully and you can solve it yourself if when grease gun not working.

1 thought on “Grease Gun Not Working – How To Solve (Mini, Normal, Pneumatic)”

  1. Small 1 1/4 in replacement cartridge type. The hand operated gun type made in China. I think it is not able to get tee Handle plunger to pack grease into upper gun delivery area.. Sealing cup on top of plunger is folded backwards not turned fwd . Does this sound like common problem ? Or did an ‘airlock’ originally fold the cup seal backward to begin with ?

    I added a 1 1/4″ washer to make a better seal to push grease but grease slides by along the tee Handle.
    any ideas .?


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