Manual vs Automatic Lubrication For Machinery

manual vs auto

Modern production facilities, tech companies, and assembly lines are veering away from corrective maintenance and now going for preventative maintenance. Instead of waiting for equipment breakdown before doing a corrective fix, employees are now encouraged to perform preventive actions. In this post, we compare automatic lubrication systems to manual practices for lubricating your vehicles or equipment.

What’s preventative maintenance?

In a nutshell, maintaining machinery instead of fixing it once it’s broken can prevent or delay equipment breakdown from happening in the first place. With preventative maintenance, you can:

  • Prolong the life of equipment parts
  • Increase performance and productivity
  • Reduce repair costs

Preventive actions are varied. Some examples include inspecting the equipment, determining the effective lifespan of equipment parts, doing tasks that prolong the equipment’s lifespan, and replacing the about-to-be-worn-out parts at the right time.

Lubrication as part of preventative maintenance

Accurate, reliable lubrication is a crucial aspect of any preventative maintenance program. While lubricants may constitute a small portion of a company’s budget, without them, the company could incur considerable costs in repairing broken equipment.  

The best lubrication practices cover these 5 R’s:

  • The right lubricant
  • The right amount
  • The right time
  • The right point
  • The right method

Regarding the last R, you have two choices: manual and automatic lubrication. Your choice of lubrication method also affects the second, third, and fourth R’s.

Manual vs. automatic lubrication

The primary difference between manual and automatic lubrication is that in the former, the lubricant is manually applied based on a maintenance schedule (like daily, weekly, monthly, or annually). On the other hand, in automatic lubrication systems, the lubricant is applied regularly without manual intervention, allowing any equipment to operate at peak conditions.

Why choose automatic grease lubrication systems?

An automatic lubrication system (ALS)—also known as automatic grease lubrication system, automatic grease system, automatic grease lubricators, or auto greaser—is becoming more of a necessity than an option. Why?


We mentioned that lubrication is an essential part of preventative maintenance. However, what can often happen with manual lubrication is under-lubrication or over-lubrication.

Too little lubricant can lead to wear, heat buildup, and premature failure. But excessive lubricant is not good either—over-lubrication wastes not only lube but also cause stress, leaks, and damages.

Remember, you’re implementing preventative maintenance to increase the life of your equipment and reduce repair costs—there must be a balance. That’s why you need a lubrication system that’s reliable and accurate.  

This is where automatic grease lubrication systems trump their manual counterparts. The application will be more consistent, no matter how many times you need to apply the lube. Moreover, you’ll be more confident about the grease layer having an even thickness.


The lubricant must not only be applied at the right quantity; it must also be applied at the right frequency and the right place. Those are the third and fourth R’s—“the right time” and “the right point.”

However, with manual methods, it’s easy to miss some lubrication points or to forget the schedule it in. You may only realise your mistake when your equipment has broken down. With automatic grease lubrication systems, you can address these two issues. Moreover, automatic systems usually come with a monitoring feature.


An automatic lubrication system also prevents excess lubricant from spilling onto the road, work surfaces, or onto a finished product. Less waste and less cleanup.

No contaminants

If you do manual lubrication, you may unintentionally introduce dust, rocks, particles and other contaminants into your equipment. Once contaminants have stuck to the parts, it’s quite hard to remove them. Worse, they could cause eventual wear and tear, undermining the power of your lubricant. With automatic grease lubrication systems, you can avoid this. Usually, a filter is part of the automated system which prevents contamination.


We mentioned that automatic grease lubrication systems generate less waste; therefore, they are good for the environment. 

Moreover, a properly-lubricated machine is energy-efficient. This means less energy wastage, which is also good for the environment.


Not only are automatic grease lubrication systems good for your equipment and the environment – they are good for your business and staff. No exposure to unsafe conditions, especially those hard-to-reach lubrication points. By installing and using an automatic lubrication system, you protect the environment, your equipment, your employees, and yourself.


Automatic grease lubrication systems not only bring savings from costly repairs, you also don’t waste any lubricant. Lubricating the right points at the right time also mean savings. You can cut down on labour costs too with an automated system.

Will automatic grease lubrication systems work for trucks?

Don’t be mistaken—lubrication systems are not only for big facilities that operate equipment. Vehicles are machines too. Thus, the concepts of preventative maintenance, 5R’s of lubrication, and automatic lubrication also apply to trucks, cars, and other types of vehicles as well.

However, when choosing a truck lubrication system, don’t settle for just any provider. Choose a company that has the technology and business know-how of truck lubrication systems. An automatic truck lubrication system can be configured to fit various truck designs, no matter the type of chassis, brake, or steering system.