Why WD-40 is Bad for Your Bike Chain
Using WD-40 as a chain lube can actually damage your chain.
- 00:12 - The product actually began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and de-greaser to protect missile parts.
Near the end of last week’s tutorial, I mentioned that WD-40 should never be used as a chain lubricant. Quite a few people wanted to know what I meant by that. Here’s an explanation.
WD-40 was developed by the military in the 50s as a rust preventative solvent and de-greaser to protect missile parts. It quickly became a household item when people discovered it had thousands of other uses as a cleaner, rust-prevention agent, squeak-stopper and more. It also works wonders as a light lubricant on small items like hinges, locks, and toys.
Bicycle chains, on the other hand, are far too heavy and fast-moving for the lubricating power of WD-40 to have any effect at all. As a matter of fact, WD-40 will actually strip away any existing lubricant and leave your drivetrain dry – metal on metal. Basically, spraying this stuff on your chain is worse than using no lubricant at all!
Obviously, I strongly recommend using chain oil purchased from your local bike shop. Just go down there and ask them for regular waterproof chain oil. It shouldn’t be any more than 10 or 12 bucks, and it’s the best thing you can buy for your bike. My personal favorite is Cross Country, but if you want the Caviar, you can get quality oils from companies like Phil Wood. We’ll talk more about lubricants later…
- Jim Langley: Cleaning Your Drivetrain
- Sheldon Brown: Chain Maintenance
- Bicycle Torque Specifications
Discuss this topic in the Lubrication Forums
Hi guys, Totally new to bike maintenance. I recently moved countries and had to disassemble my bike to move it. I'm putting it back together now and need to make sure I've got all the tools I need to do a decent job. The fork had a thick white substance on the silver metal in the attached pictures. I'm not sure what this is and need to find a replacement. Any idea what lube I need for that? ...Read more
hey just thought id share with you since you are all repairing these parts, i came across some grease last weeknd being sold at a small bike festival in manchetser and theres a range of different greases for the bikes. i spoke to them about it they said its a new range but it expected big things due to the standard of the grease so like you do i purchased some, i then took all my bearings out clea...Read more
I have an old Raleigh from 1969 with a "AW three speed hub". It is the type of gear hub with oil cap. I ordered a bottle of "Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube"; after reading about the additives and how silent it can make the chain run I had to try it. I wondered if teflon and ceramic (boron nitride) in a synthetic oil would be be worth testing in the hub too. There might be an advantage to the basic m...Read more
My bike is fitted with Shimano BRIM 70 roller brakes. After about 2 1/2 years the rear brake has started to squeal. So I left the bike into a LBS for maintenance. I then proceeded to do some research on the brake and discovered that you should use a special shimano grease for these brakes. I contacted LBS and they said they had already used high temperature copper grease which would be just as go...Read more
There are a lot of diverse recommendations out there on the right oil to drip through the plastic oil cap of Sturmey 3 speed hubs. Based on my own experience at Pedal Depot tearing down quite a few, the biggest problem encountered (other than no oil..) is oil that is too sticky for the pawls and planets. Phil's Tenacious Oil, though a good oil elsewhere on the bike, is a bad choice here - it is ...Read more
Does anyone remember ( I think it was Pedro's ) screw-on freehub lubricator? It fitted in the front of the unit ( off the hub ) and it was used to flush out the old lube and really worked. I volunteer at a shop that gets old bikes that are ready for the skip and rebuild them for the disenfranchised for transport. We get a lot of tight screw-ons and instead of trashing them all. that luber would ...Read more
There is a product used in major tool rooms I have been in as an engineer for 34 years. It is called Kroil. I think you would have to get it off the web though, but believe me it is the BEST I have seen..... Penetrating-Lubricating Oils Loosens Frozen Metal Parts! ... Nothing Works Like Kroil Kroil - An industry proven penetrating oil that has no equal. Used by 480 of the Fortune 500 companies! ...Read more
Hello, I'm wanting to switch to a different grease in my grease gun. So I assume I'll need to clean the gun. How would I go about doing this? I'm switching from Finish Line mulit-purpose teflon grease to Rock n' Roll Red Devil to re-grease my DMR V8 pedals. The only thing I have as a degreaser is WD40, if I was to say, blast it with WD40 then thoroughly rinse it with hot water, would that be ok...Read more
Hi all! I just bought a cute little buttercup yellow Schwinn Breeze today. I put new tires on it and need to do some cleaning of the chain and gear hub and other bits. But the gears are pretty sticky and I'm not sure what's best to use... also noticed that there is a little capped hole in the hub and I'm wondering if I need to put something in there??? Thanks, BG...Read more
I used engine oil for chain and auto bearing grease for all bearings, including freewheel. If engine oil is OK for motorcycle chains, why not for bicycle? If grease is designed for bearing, why not to use it for bicycle bearings? Black grease is the best, because it has graphite in it, but it is too "dirty", I used yellow one. Freewheel "teeth" don't click anymore, which I think is good as long a...Read more
Hi guys, Does anyone know of any place in the UK that sells Super Lube Multi-Purpose Grease as shown in Alex's How to Choose the Right Lubricants video? Or any place in the US that will ship it to the UK (relatively cheaply!) I particularly want the tub rather than the tube. Or if not, are there any greases available in the UK that are just as good as this or similar? Cheers kindly...Read more
Hello, Any good ways to take wax lube off a chain? I tried it out on the recommendation of my local bikeshop owner, and I don't really like it, and would rather just return to the lube I've been using for a few years now. Anything special I need to do to get it off, or before I return to my old lube? Thanks....Read more
Has anyone had any luck with homemade chain oil? im looking for some recipes, a lot include motor oil and mineral spirits any good?...Read more
Hey, ive seen a few threads round here saying what kind of lubrication to use and why etc so i thought id take time to do a write up to explain why what and where, i'll name each type of oil/grease and what its useful for so here goes: Bearings (hubs, cranks and headsets): For bearings I highly recommend grease, any grease is suitable as long as its meant for bearings, some popular ones are marin...Read more
.....SINGER SEWING MACHINE OIL, Thats right the stuff made for sewing machines,i picked up a tin of this from a sewing shop for £2.20,Ive tested this for a period of 3 months on my chain, cables, derailers and brake pivots,i also use this stuff for cleaning my rims heres the pros & cons: Pros: Cheap Effective Doesn't pick up as much dust as other lubricants Comes in a easy applicator Cons...Read more