Mechanic Tip: Skip the WD-40

Each week during National Bike Month, we will offer tips for maintaining your bike.

… even when your chain looks like this. oehmiche, cc
… even when your chain looks like this.
oehmiche, cc

Contrary to popular belief, you should never use WD-40 to lube your bike chain. Here’s why:

  • WD-40 is actually mainly a solvent and water displacer, used to remove gunk and rust and get frozen parts moving again.
  • It does have a light lubrication component, but it’s not sufficient for the heavy-duty needs of a bike chain.
  • Applying WD-40 to your chain will actually remove any lube already there, leaving you with metal grinding on metal. You’ll be worse off than before.
  • Once the WD-40 dries, it can actually cause more dirt and dust to stick to your chain.

Instead of WD-40, apply a bike-specific lubrication to your chain. These are formulated to handle the constant motion and dirt exposure that bike chains get, and are available at most bike shops.

Does WD-40 still have a place in your bike repair kit? Sure, when used in the situations it was designed for. And, as it turns out, the WD-40 company actually makes a specialized bicycle lubricant called WD-40® BIKE that can be used on your chain. Just don’t get it confused with the regular stuff.

More info:

by Corey McKrill

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