WD-40 For Bike Chain: What You Need To Know (with Video)

Do you ever experience a frustrating grinding noise when you shift gears during a bike ride?

Well, fear not!

The solution to this common issue might already be sitting in your garage – WD-40.

Yes, that versatile can of WD-40 that you use for everything from squeaky doors to rusty bolts can also work wonders for your bike chain.

Below I’ll guide you on how to use WD-40 to clean your bike chain and then use chain oil to lubricate it, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride free from annoying noises.

What is WD-40?

WD-40 is a popular product that has been used for over 60 years as rust prevention and removal.

It is a special blend formula that was created in 1953 by a small company called Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, California.

The name WD-40 stands for “water displacement, 40th formula,” indicating that it was the 40th attempt at getting the formula just right.

When applied to a bike chain, WD-40 gets into every nook and cranny, breaking down dirt and debris and displacing water to prevent rust from forming in the first place.

WD 40 for BIKE

When to Use WD-40 on Your Bicycle Chain?

WD-40 can be used on a bicycle chain when it needs to be cleaned from rust. However, it is important to note that WD-40 is not meant to be a lubricant and should be followed up with a proper bike chain lubricant for optimal performance.

Apply the WD-40 sparingly and work it into the entire chain, making sure to cover each chain link.

WD-40 can be incredibly effective, but use it sparingly and in the right conditions.

4 Steps of Maintaining Your Bike Chain Using WD-40

Below, I’ll guide you through the 4 simple steps to clean your bike chain using WD-40.

how to use wd-40 to clean your bike chain
Step 1. Degrease The Chain

The first step is to degrease your chain to remove all the grease and grime buildup. While a bucket of soapy water and a scrubbing brush can do the trick, it can also damage your chain.

So, what’s the solution? WD-40 chain cleaner and degreaser! This product has all the ingredients you need to effectively degrease your chain without causing any harm.

It’s easy to use and quick too. Just rinse your chain to remove any dirt and mud, apply the WD-40 degreaser, and let it work its magic.

Oh, and here’s a bonus tip – you can also use this degreaser to clean and degrease other moving parts of your bike.

bike maintenance cleaning and oiling a bicycle
Step 2. Remove the Rust, Grime, and Dirt

Now that the WD-40 degreaser has had a chance to work on the bike chain, it’s time to start scrubbing off the rust, grime, and dirt. Grab a stiff-bristled brush and get ready to put in a little elbow grease.

Start by placing the bristles on the chain and gently scrubbing them back and forth.

Use a bit of pressure but be careful not to damage the chain or any of the links. As you scrub, you’ll notice the grime and dirt start to loosen and come off.

Be sure to scrub every section of the chain from top to bottom. You may need to rotate the pedals to access the different parts of the chain.

Take your time and make sure to remove as much grime and dirt as possible.

hands of bicycle mechanic cleaning chainring bike
Step 3. Wash It

Washing your bike chain after scrubbing off the grime and dirt is a crucial step in proper chain maintenance.

It ensures that any residue left by the WD-40 degreaser is completely removed before applying any lubricant to the chain.

Here are the necessary steps to follow:

  • Grab a clean sponge and wet it with clean water. Make sure that the sponge is soft and will not cause any damage to the chain.
  • Gently wipe the sponge along the entire chain, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Be sure to remove any residue left from the degreaser.
  • As you do this, be sure to inspect the chain for any signs of damage or wear.
  • Once you’re done, wipe the chain dry thoroughly with rags or cloth. This ensures that there’s no water left on the chain that could interfere with the lubricant application.
Step 4. Lubricate The Chain

Lubricating your bike chain is an essential part of proper chain maintenance and can help extend the life of your bike.

Start by shifting the bike to the middle gear, where the chain will be in the center of the cassette.

This ensures that the lubricant will be evenly distributed across the chain links and that excess lubricant won’t be flicked onto the frame or other bike parts.

Next, apply a sufficient amount of apply chain oil purchased from your local bike shop onto the chain.

Apply just enough to fully coat the chain but not so much that it drips or collects on the chain. Aim to cover the chain with a thin, even layer of lubricant.

Should You Use WD40 to Lubricate a Bike Chain?

No, WD-40 should not be used to lubricate a bike chain. While it can temporarily reduce friction, it is not a long-lasting lubricant and can attract dirt and grime, causing more harm than good.

It is better to use a specific bike chain lubricant for optimal performance and durability.

One of the main issues with using WD-40 as a bike chain lubricant is that it is not effective in wet conditions.

The spray can quickly wash away in the rain, leaving the chain unprotected and potentially causing damage.

Also, if applied together, WD-40 can remove other lubricants that have already been used, leading to further wear and tear on the chain.

Alternative to WD-40

man oiling bicycle chain close up

While WD-40 is known for its efficacy in lubricating bike chains, there are also other excellent options available in the market.

In fact, several bike shops and repairmen recommend using specialized lubricants to ensure optimal performance and prolong the life of bike chains.

One of the popular alternatives to WD-40 is Finish Line Dry Bike Lube. This lubricant is specifically designed for dry and dusty conditions, making it a suitable option for those who plan to ride their bikes in arid areas.

Other notable lubricants include the Bike Syn Chain Guard from DuPont and Rock N Roll Extreme Lube.

Bike Syn Chain Guard is a high-performance lubricant that’s ideal for extreme conditions such as off-road or dirt jumping.

Meanwhile, Rock N Roll Extreme Lube is formulated with a special formula that can displace dirt and grease while providing excellent lubrication for bike chains.

My Verdict

Using WD-40 on your bike chain can provide a quick fix for creaky or rusty chains.

However, it’s important to note that WD-40 is not a lubricant and may actually cause more harm than good in the long run.

It’s best to use a proper chain lubricant to keep your bike running smoothly and prevent damage to the chain and gears.

Remember to also clean and maintain your bike regularly to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is not recommended to mix different lubricant brands, including WD-40, as it may cause chemical reactions that could damage surfaces or reduce the effectiveness of the lubricant. It is best to stick with one brand and use it as directed for optimal results.

Yes, WD-40 can be effective in loosening up and removing rust from bike chains. However, it is not recommended as a long-term lubricant for bike chains as it can attract dirt and debris, causing more damage in the long run. It is recommended to use a specialized bike chain lubricant for optimal performance and maintenance.

While WD-40 can be used to clean a bike chain, it is not recommended as a lubricant. It can actually strip away any existing lubricant and leave the chain vulnerable to rust and other damage. Instead, use a dedicated bike chain lubricant for optimal performance and protection.

The best oil for bike chain lubrication is a high-quality lubricant specifically designed for bicycle chains. Avoid using household oils like WD-40, as these can actually damage your chain over time. It’s also important to regularly clean and maintain your chain to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

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