Here, we developed a technique to assess the workability of sealed-for-life greased rolling bearings after a long-term storage. In this framework, we devised a model of equivalent transition between the conditions of natural ageing under daily and seasonally fluctuating temperature, and the conditions of accelerated thermal ageing at a constant high temperature. The tested bearings were thermally aged, and then their steady state friction and outer ring temperature were examined in a custom high-speed spindle. These results were compared to the performance of a reference new bearing tested under the same loading conditions. Our findings suggest that long-term storage can significantly degrade the performance of sealed-for-life greased rolling bearings. However, a proper running-in can substantially deter the ageing-driven degradation of the bearings.