There is no doubt about the effectiveness and use of WD-40 in fixing daily issues; from de-greasing, fixing stuck or bound locks, lubricating appliances to removing rust.
But when it comes to your bicycle; many wonder if is it safe to use WD-40 on your bike chain.
Bear in mind; your bike chain has to go through a lot being exposed to grit, dust and rain. To keep your bike moving bike chain needs to be de-greased, cleaned and lubricated every month or two.
This is where the WD-40 bike chain cleaner comes into the picture. As its something already present in our garage and can be effective solution preparing your bike before riding again.
Can I use WD-40 on my bike chain? Yes, WD-40 Can be used on bike chain without issues. Since it acts as a cleaner its perfect for de-greasing and also apply a little bit of lubrication to the chain.
Thus sometimes not advised to use primarily as a lubricant for your bike; as it will came off easily in wet conditions. Producing unnecessary friction between the moving parts.
Table of Contents
What is WD-40?
WD-40 was first developed in the 1950s to protect the exterior of rockets from water damage.
Scientists discovered that the fluid had a number of uses around the house and garage and began marketing it to consumers as a rust preventer, solvent, and lubricant.
Since then, WD-40 has become a household staple. It’s incredibly useful for removing rust, smoothing out the action of squeaky hinges, and getting grease and oil off of soiled parts.
WD-40’s multi-purpose formulation means that it’s not usually the best choice for any particular purpose. It is, however, an acceptable option when you’re less concerned about having the absolute best results.
If you want an okay lubricant or solvent, WD-40 will work just fine.
Using WD-40 on Your Bicycle Chain
As mentioned above WD-40 can be used on bicycle chain without any trouble. In fact when in hurry I always use them for de-greasing and keeping rust off my bike chain. Just I need to apply a little lubricant after use.
But in general when it comes to using it on your bicycle chain there’s a bit of controversy (more on this later), but plenty of serious cyclists, cycling shop owners, and professionals use WD-40 on their bike chains.
It’s a great way to clean off dirt and old oil, prevent rust, and help keep new dirt from sticking to your chain.
For best results, get your bike into high gear (so the rear wheel spins quickly with a simple crank of the pedals) and prop it up so the rear wheel can spin freely.
With one hand, place the nozzle of your WD-40 can above the chain at the rear cassette.
With your other hand, crank your pedals and get the wheel spinning. Spray a bit of WD-40 over your chain for at least one full chain revolution.
Let this sit for about a minute, then begin to wipe your chain down at the chain ring with a rag or old sponge. Turn the pedals as needed until you’ve wiped off the whole chain.
If your chain still seems dirty, repeat this process one or two more times as needed.
Limitation & Controversy
WD-40 is not a particularly effective lubricant. Hands-on testing suggests that it doesn’t do a very good job of preventing metal parts from wearing down as they interact with other metal parts.
In addition to this, WD-40 is quite effective at removing any grease and lubricants that you’ve used previously from your chain. This means that whenever you apply WD-40 to your chain, you’re effectively increasing the rate at which the metal parts wear out.
Despite this, lots of very smart bicyclists continue to use WD-40 on their bike chains.
There are many reasons for this. Bike chains don’t last forever, and they don’t always break because of internal wear from friction.
WD-40 helps prevent rust, which can be a bigger factor in some climates, and helps keep dirt out of your chain. Getting bits of road grit stuck inside your chain can cause damage much more quickly than a lack of lubrication.
Since WD-40 helps with these two important issues, it can sometimes increase the lifespan of your chain more than using an effective lubricant that doesn’t prevent rust or fight off dirt.
Chain lube isn’t super expensive, but it’s definitely not free.
You probably already have a can of WD-40 somewhere in your garage.
Picking up a container of chain lube is almost certainly less expensive than buying a new chain, but it’s not always clear how long your lube will extend the life of your chain.
Maybe you’ll get into a crash, or maybe your chain will come off unexpectedly and snag on something. This makes the cost-benefit analysis of using a high-quality specialized chain lube over WD-40 even more complicated.
What Else Can You Use To Lubricate Bike Chain
Dedicated bike chain lubricant is the best solution for keeping your bike’s chain clean, flexible, and rust-free.
Not all chain lubes are created equal, of course, and some will perform better at some of these tasks than others. Look for a lubricant that matches your needs and riding conditions.
You’ll want a water-resistant lube that fights off rust for wet climates, a dirt-resistant lube for mountain biking on desert trails, and an extra smooth lube for long road riding in a mild city.
The current market leader for dry climates is Muc Off Dry Lube, Available Here at Amazon. While it’s not the best at handling lots of rain, Muc Off is incredible at fighting off dirt and protecting your chain from friction wear.
You’ll sometimes hear about cyclists using regular motor oil to try to grease their chains. This isn’t a terrible idea in principle – it’s a lubricant, after all – but it doesn’t work very well in practice.
Motor oil doesn’t lubricate against the sort of action that a chain undergoes particularly well, and it also has a habit of working its way out of your chain as your ride.
It’s probably not going to make things worse, but it’s not going to do the core job of keeping your chain lubricated very well.
WD-40 & Chain De-Greasing
WD-40 is a fairly effective de-greaser. Due to its ubiquitous nature in most garages, it’s often used for removing grease from things like bicycle chains.
Bike mechanics tend to prefer things like dish soap or other common detergents for this task, but if you’d like to use WD-40 to remove old oil from your chain, go ahead!
Best part it works just great on all bikes. Been a frequent rider ( use them for commuting too work ) I need to clean my bike more frequent than normal and the WD-40 had been a great help for me.
Using it is very easy, all you need is to spray on the points ( chain and moving parts ) and give it a few seconds to dissolve, rust, dust, grit, grease and old oil.
As stated above, you may want to consider using a bike chain lubricant afterward to keep your chain loose and spry.
Q. Can I Use WD-40 on Brakes?
Do NOT use WD-40 on brakes. WD-40 isn’t a great lubricant, but it is definitely an okay lubricant. You don’t want anything that reduces friction anywhere near your brakes.
Using WD-40 on your brakes will probably stop them from squeaking or rusting, but it’ll also stop them from stopping your bicycle.
If you ever get WD-40 or a similarly slippery product on your brakes, do NOT ride your bike until you’ve thoroughly cleaned your brakes with brake cleaner and tested their operation in a safe environment.
Q. Is WD-40 a Lubricant or De-greaser ?
While WD-40 is used as both a degreaser and a lubricant, it was designed as a rust preventer.
In most applications, it’s more effective at removing rust and de-greasing than it is at lubricating. It’s very much a lubricant, however, and it should only be used in situations where you want things to slip past each other more easily.
Q. Will WD-40 Remove Rust From Chain?
WD-40 is an incredibly effective rust remover. It’s got some chemical magic that helps it to form a layer in between the solid metal and the oxidized bits, allowing them to separate easily.
If you’ve got a bit of rust on your chain (or you’d like to prevent rust from building up in the future), WD-40 is one of the first products you should consider using.
Spray the WD-40 on the rusted surface or parts, leave it to settle for a few seconds. Then scrub off all the gunk using the brush and soapy water solution. Once the rust is all cleaned, wipe it with a clean cloth.