Why is WD-40 Bad for Your Bike Chain?

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Why WD-40 is Bad for Your Bike Chain?

If you’ve been using WD-40 on your bike chain to make it look and work better, unfortunately, you’re only making a very bad choice. 

WD-40 is a solvent and not a proper chain lube. While it does help get stubborn parts moving, once it evaporates, the lubrication has completely gone, and you can find yourself facing stiff links in your very next ride. 

Additionally, beware of using WD-40 on shifters, as the solvents found in this product may damage the tiny inner pieces that help keep a drivetrain running smoothly.

Keep your bike performance sharp by using an appropriate chain lubricant and avoiding WD-40 altogether.

So make sure you’re using true lubricating oil that won’t harm your bike chain in the process of keeping it running smoothly.

First, Let’s Find Out What actually is WD-40?


WD-40 has various uses. Founded in 1953, WD-40 stands for Water Displacement and was originally developed to protect missile parts from corrosion during the early space race.

Since then, the company has grown dramatically, and its multi-purpose lubricant is widely used around the world for automotive applications, household maintenance, and more.

The oil-based liquid is often used to loosen stubborn parts due to its penetrating ability and can be used on both metal and nonmetal surfaces.

Although it might be better known as an industrial lubricant, many people use it for other purposes around the house, too—from protecting silverware from tarnishing to squeezing into tight spaces for cleaning or repairing something.

Uses of WD-40

Its uses range from protecting your car and truck exteriors from tar, tree sap, and bird poop to restoring the shine on artificial plants or removing fingerprints from stainless steel appliances. 

Not only this, but WD-40 effectively lubricates squeaky drawers and doors while keeping garden tools rust and grime free. 

What’s more, it can effortlessly clean away scuff marks on ceramic floors or remove ink spills from carpet, leather, or other fabrics. 

WD-40 is also perfect for protecting outdoor iron furniture from rust. 

WD-40 is also a helpful product you can have in your home. Its uses for household projects are immense! Consider removing glue residue from old paneling, helping to lubricate your home’s gate valve, and even removing paint from tile flooring.

Even something as complex as sewing machines can benefit from WD-40: the wheels turn much more smoothly with its help. 

What happens if you use WD-40 on your bike chain?

Well, primarily, WD-40 is good for removing rust and cleaning the bike chain. As per its manufacturer, it’s blend of lubricants. But prefer using it just for chain cleaning purposes not for lubricating it. 

What you can do is to apply WD-40 on your chain and clean the rust and grime. After that clean the chain and apply proper chain lubricant.

It’s easy to think that WD-40 could be a great solution for bike chains, but the truth is closer to the opposite. 

WD-40 contains an incredibly thin oil, making it totally inadequate for projecting bicycle parts from extreme wear and tear. 

In fact, its molecules are so thin they will evaporate quickly especially in wet conditions.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, WD-40 will actually strip away any existing lubricant as well as regular grease – essentially leaving you with metal rubbing against metal at high speeds. 

At this point, you’re better off without any lubricant whatsoever! 

For which parts of your bike can WD-40 be beneficial to use?

1-Bike Frames

Rust is the biggest threat to steel frames, and while it may seem impossible to protect against it, there are steps you can take to reduce its impact. 

Every chance you get, take out WD-40 and apply it over the frame-this will create a layer that helps repel water, thus slowing down corrosive activity. 

It can be a hassle, but taking the time to do it could save you a lot more effort in the long run by keeping your bike frame in good condition for years to come.

2-Loosing Stubborn Parts

When undertaking bike maintenance, it’s inevitable you’ll run into seized parts that don’t come loose with a regular wrench or Allen key. That’s when you need to use a light-penetrating oil like WD-40! 

WD-40 has long been used by mechanics and cyclists alike to safely loosen stubborn parts and helps prevent rust setting in. 

Can you use WD-40 on your bike disc brakes?

Applying WD-40 could do more harm than good. WD-40 is not a good choice for disc brakes as it doesn’t provide the right kind of lubrication for disc brakes.

If you choose to use WD-40, you might find that your disc brakes don’t work properly after the application.

The best practice is to use specific brake lubricant designed specifically for the job, in order to avoid any potential problems down the line.

What can you use to lube your bike chain?

Generally, it is recommended to try dry lubes such as “T-9 dry lube” or wax-based lubricants for off-road bikes, as they don’t attract dirt and dust as easily as other types of lubricants. 

But if you live in an area with lots of wet winter weather, then using oil-based alternatives such as “green oil wet lube” may provide better protection against rust and corrosion due to frequent riding in rain or mud. 

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