Why Is My Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer Dripping Oil From the Beater Stem?

Dan Ravens

Grease is the word. Grease is what lubricates and keeps KitchenAid stand mixers running smoothly for decades. When a user notices any oil dripping from the beater stem or anywhere else on a KtchenAid Artisan or any other stand mixer it means the grease has separated, and therefore needs replacement. There are two main parts of the mixer that are packed with grease: the attachment housing and the planetary.

Download a Free Manual

The profile of one of the famous KitchenAid stand mixers, the K45SS

The best thing any owner can do is download the KitchenAid service manual from mendingshed.com. This is a free PDF download that covers the old top-hinged and bowl-lift KitchenAid models used long before they were given their more recent monikers of "Pro", "Artisan" and the like. The manual contains good black-and-white photos that can guide any non-techie through every repair on any KitchenAid stand mixer, thereby saving hundreds of dollars in repair costs, and tons of anguish among aggrieved KitchenAid mixer owners.

Use a Little Elbow Grease

All that's necessary for KitchenAid Artisan or other stand mixer grease repacking are a few screwdrivers, punches and a tub of automotive grease. The top halves of the mixer separate with the removal of four large bolts. This opens up the area where the attachment housing can be exposed, cleaned of old grease and packed with new grease.

The Planetary Is Not Astronomy

Planetary is a strange name for any part of a mixer, but it has to do with the dual action and motion of the KitchenAid beater assembly. This is the other part of KitchenAid Artisan or other stand mixers that sometimes drips grease. (Remember...grease is not part of KitchenAid lubrication of any main mixer parts.) To repack this section, remove the drip ring, easing it off with a flat screwdriver head. Again, you'll need to remove the four large bolts on the underside of the mixer top section.

Plastic vs. Metal Gears

There's a lot a verbiage in the blogosphere about plastic gears and motor housings and such. Know one thing: The most durable old KitchenAid stand mixers employed a plastic gear in the motor housing as a fail-safe to guard against mixer burnout. It was only when the "improved" metal gear was put in newer models that KitchenAid mixers began overheating. This is not an instance where newer equals better. Replace any metal gear in a DIY repair with its older nylon gear equivalent.

Newer, Not Better?

Internet chat rooms abound with chatter, but the old KitchenAid reputation really was built on mixers that lasted 30 years and more with prudent, simple maintenance. If that very expensive modern KitchenAid Artisan or other stand mixer must be consigned to the junk heap, look around for one of the older models. These go back 20 years, but they work like a charm even when they're slightly scuffed, and new paint...and grease, will make one look and work like new.