Can you use WD40 on your bike chain?
In short, you can use WD-40 as a cleaning agent but not as a lubricant. Why?
WD-40 as a cleaning agent for your bike chain
You can use WD-40 for general-purpose cleaning since this is a great cleaning agent. It can help remove rust, dirt, and grime off your bike chain.
But you should use a separate lube for the chain.
WD-40 as a lubricant for your bike chain
Despite being known as “the miracle solution,” WD-40 can’t do everything. It is primarily a solvent that helps remove dirt particles off a bike chain.
Although it provides temporary lubrication, it would be best to use a dedicated bike chain lube because WD-40 will treat the lubricants as contamination and wash them off the chain. As a result, you’ll experience metal-on-metal friction.
If you want to take good care of your bike, apply lubricants after you apply the WD40.
What if you don’t have a dedicated bike chain lube handy?
Remember, using WD-40 as lube is worse than using no lube at all since this is primarily a degreaser solvent. So, take your time and get a quality bike chain lube.
Better Bike Chain Lubricant Options
There is a wide selection of lubes available for your bike chain. Every type of lubricant comes with its own set of perks and disadvantages. The most prominent type of lubricants used in bike chains are:
These lubricants are perfect for dry seasons. They help clean and protect your bike chain and leave fewer grease marks. Finish Line, Squirt, and Muc Off are some of the most widely used dry lubricants.
Wet lubricants provide better protection against heat. They can seriously stain your clothing but will safeguard your chain in wet weather conditions. Eco Sheep, Finish line, and WD40 offer world-class wet lubricants.
They perform better than dry lubricants, but can’t outperform their wet counterparts. These lubricants offer a medium level of protection and are designed to be used all year long.
The WD-40 brand also provides general protection through a specialist product lineup. Muc Off, BananaSlip, and Hardcore are some of the market leaders in the all-weather lube production line.
As the name suggests, these lubes are made of a wax compound. The thick liquid wax, when applied, turns into solid flakes after trapping dirt and grime. Finish line, Silca, and MSPEEDWAX are some of the best wax lubes for bike chains.
Oil-based lubes are naturally thinner and usually come as an aerosol spray. Most modern-day bike chain lubes contain additives like ceramic or nanoparticles that can reduce friction and provide long-lasting lubrication.
Companies like ZFC and Muc Off manufacture world-class ceramic-based lubricants and they are getting increasingly popular day by day.
Contact your local bike shop to get a professional opinion on which lubricant is the best choice for you.
How Do You Use Wd-40 on Your Bike Chain as a Cleaning Agent?
- Soapy water
- Soft cloth/paper towel
- Wire brush/sandpaper
Step 1: Degreasing
The first step of using WD-40 involves you cleaning all the build-up contaminants like grease, dirt, and grime from your bike chain. You just have to apply a WD-40 degreaser and give it time to work. You can apply WD-40 to other moving parts of your bike as well.
Step 2: Scrubbing off
Once the WD40 is done working its magic, take a brush and a piece of soft cloth/paper towel. Now, gently scrub all the dirt, grease, and grime away. That’s about it. The primary goal of the WD40 is to make your cleaning work effortless.
In case you want to remove rust, spray WD40 directly over the rust and let it rest for a couple of minutes. After that, take a piece of wire brush or sandpaper, and scrub all the remaining rust particles away.
Step 3: Washing
Now, take some water and a sponge to wash your bike chain thoroughly. Water will clean the leftover degreaser before you reapply the lubricant. Once the washing part is done, leave the chain for a couple of minutes to dry naturally, preferably under the sun.
This will prepare the chain for our next and final step, lubrication.
Step 4: Lubricating
Once you are happy with the result, it’s time to put your lubrication game back on. WD40 also provides dedicated lubricants for bike chains. However, they don’t offer much protection compared to other sophisticated lubricants out there.
Be sure to dry out the WD40 completely before lubricating your bike chains as WD40 can degrade/wash away your lubricants. Once you are done applying lubricants, your bike chain is ready to be your companion in all of your bike journeys.
1. Will WD-40 remove rust from the bike chain?
Ans: Yes, the advanced formula of WD40 breaks down the rust particles and can remove rust from practically anywhere. The combination of WD-40 and a good scrubbing will help you get rid of all the rust particles. Just apply the solution, wait 3-5 minutes, and scrub the rust off afterward.
2. Can I use WD-40 on disc brakes?
Ans: You really shouldn’t. Metal parts that come in contact with each other generate heat through friction. These parts need additional lubrication support, and WD-40 washes away all the lubricant you applied before
3. Does WD-40 damage the bike chain?
Ans: No, WD-40 won’t damage your bike chain itself but it’ll wash away the lubes and that can cause a multitude of issues over time.