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Old 07-30-08, 07:32 PM   #1
facial
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WD-40 as a chain lubricant?

Bicycletutor.com highly discourages the use of WD-40 as a chain lubricant. The reasons that he gives are no other than its other numerous uses in household hinges, toys, etc., but is not a scientific refutation per se.

I have used this lubricant for many years now and I believe that, contrary to his assertions, it actually makes a chain last longer than if it is left out to rust without any oil at all.

What are your anecdotes/recommendations on the use of WD-40?
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Old 07-30-08, 07:39 PM   #2
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Use what you like, it is your bike, money, etc.

I use Rock N Roll Gold on my chains.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:49 PM   #3
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Here we go...

Those timeless words:
It's a solvent, not a lubricant.

Sure it will clean your chain, but it will not stay on your chain and lubricate the moving parts. It's pretty much a degreaser.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:52 PM   #4
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"I have used this lubricant for many years now and I believe that, contrary to his assertions, it actually makes a chain last longer than if it is left out to rust without any oil at all." QUOTE.


Apples & Oranges.


Regards,
J T
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Old 07-30-08, 08:00 PM   #5
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I have used this lubricant for many years now and I believe that, contrary to his assertions, it actually makes a chain last longer than if it is left out to rust without any oil at all.
That's not much of an endorsement. Bacon fat is better than using no oil at all.

WD-40 DOES contain a light lube in a carrier that is pretty much kerosine. However, it's not a durable or high film strength lube and has to be applied very often to have any real benefit. I know riders who use it successfully and get good chain life but they apply it every ride or two.

However, the purpose-made bike chain lubes aren't a scam to separate riders from their money. They work better and make the chain last longer with fewer applications than WD-40 will ever do. My personal favorite is ProLink but there are a lot of other good ones. Your riding conditions will have a big influence on what works best for you.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by facial View Post
Bicycletutor.com highly discourages the use of WD-40 as a chain lubricant. The reasons that he gives are no other than its other numerous uses in household hinges, toys, etc., but is not a scientific refutation per se.

I have used this lubricant for many years now and I believe that, contrary to his assertions, it actually makes a chain last longer than if it is left out to rust without any oil at all.

What are your anecdotes/recommendations on the use of WD-40?
Well, WD-40 does contain some oil so it is better than no lubrication at all regarding rust. But no lubrication is hardly the alternative.

I do think that some of the warnings against WD-40 on the chain are a little overstated. But on the whole I think it is good advice and I think the exaggeration is because newbies are likely to own the product and people want to communicate that better alternatives exist in the shortest possible manner.
There is nothing wrong in saying that different products are made for different purposes, and WD-40 isn't made for bicycle chains. For me, just the fact that people likely owns the spray can version is enough for me to recommend an alternative drip bottle product. Also, some people may get away with using a light oil product like WD-40 as a chain lubrication and corrosion prevention if they live in the right climate, but for a lot of people WD-40 is worse than "proper" chain oils. I think the combination of light oil, lots of solvent and pressure from the can may leave very little oil on the chain.
It is still a usefull product for bicycle maintenance. It is great to flush out dirt from e.g. freehubs, or clean STI levers that gets gunked up (I ride Campy so no personal experience).

--
Regards
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Old 07-30-08, 08:43 PM   #7
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Can we say that it is better than nothing but that every other more-appropriate product is better than it is?
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Old 07-30-08, 08:58 PM   #8
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use old car oil its basically chain lube without the negatives i keep a quart of new car oil just for bicycle chains if the stuff can kill wildlife it must work great on chains.
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Old 07-30-08, 09:09 PM   #9
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Can we say that it is better than nothing but that every other more-appropriate product is better than it is?
+1
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Old 07-30-08, 09:23 PM   #10
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so it goes, and so it goes
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Old 07-30-08, 09:50 PM   #11
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i use wd-40 mostly to dry my chain off after cleaning it ... then letting it hang for a bit before putting lube on it ... but only did that a time or two ...

the local shop keeps trying to sell me some stuff in a spray can called GT85 ...
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Old 07-30-08, 10:01 PM   #12
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I think you got the hint. ProLink, Boeing, White Lightning,etc are all good. Just keep your chain clean. There is a lot less wear & tear on chainrings and gears
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Old 07-30-08, 10:23 PM   #13
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WD-40 is better than nothing at all, but no way would I consider calling it a "good" every-day chain lubricant. Maybe "good in a pinch."

As stated earlier, it's not thick enough, so it's not going to stay on the chain very long. Looking at that over the long-term, you would be spending more money because you'd be using it more often than if you bought a lube designed for bicycle chains. You can probably find a small to medium sized bottle of good chain lube for what you'd pay for an average-sized can of WD-40. Even though the bottle would be smaller, it'll last a lot longer and be better for the chain.

But if you don't ride very much, WD-40 will suffice. If you've been using it all these years and you're happy with it, then just keep using it.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:13 PM   #14
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To read all the chain cleaning/lubing threads would lead one to believe that the average cyclist cleans his chain about 2 or 3 times a year. They are so grungy, that chain cleaning machines or coffee cans full of degreaser are needed. I can understand the problems the mudrunners have, but why are so many others not cleaning their chains enough? If you do it regularly, it's easy, it's quick, it's done and the chain doesn't have to come off the bike. bk
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Old 07-31-08, 12:28 AM   #15
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i've used wd a lot, my stuff lasts

mx
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Old 07-31-08, 08:04 AM   #16
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It started out life as a squeak remover more than anything else. I've actually used WD40 to clean my chain, but if you expect any long term lubrication from it on a bicycle chain, you're dreaming. Why wouldn't you want to use a real chain lube? If you don't want to deal with messiness, use one of the wax type lubes.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:35 AM   #17
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Here's all you need to know about chain cleaning. http://sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html
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Old 07-31-08, 08:42 AM   #18
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I use it after the degreaser to get extra guk off, wipe down, air dry a little, then add prolink on it, wipe down. Makes for a very clen chain.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:43 AM   #19
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Hey, can we just have any given "WD-40 as chain lube" thread stickied? It's not a very interesting discussion to go over every week.
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Old 07-31-08, 10:35 AM   #20
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I have used this lubricant for many years now and I believe that, contrary to his assertions, it actually makes a chain last longer than if it is left out to rust without any oil at all.
Well, duh. Almost anything will resist corrosion.

Even plain old motor oil makes a better chain lube than WD-40, and it's actually pretty good on the road. A real chain lube is essential in the dirt IME.

I once pulled up at a trailhead and watched someone spray WD-40 on his chain before going on a MTB ride. I still cringe at the thought.
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Old 07-31-08, 11:10 AM   #21
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Even plain old motor oil makes a better chain lube than WD-40, and it's actually pretty good on the road. A real chain lube is essential in the dirt IME.
+1

I switched to motor oil from grease, and it's also much less prone to accrete grit than grease. I only ride on-road, and my experiences with it are excellent so far.

I'm sure I'll get a dedicated chain lube someday, though.
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Old 07-31-08, 11:39 AM   #22
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WD-40 is fantastic for removing grease and road grime. It'll get crud off the bike without harming the paint.

BUT! You really shouldn't use it as a lubricant.

Oh, it'll lubricate moving parts, no problem. I've used it on motorcycle parts for decades to diagnose weird squeaks or metal on metal noises. However, it won't last.

Best budget lube in the workd is plain old 30wt motor oil. You probably have a quart in the garage right now. It'll be enough for years of maintenance.

If you use motor oil, you'll need WD-40 to clean it off of the rest of the bike, after the spinning chain slings it everywhere.

That's what you pay for when (if) you buy bicycle or motorcycle specific chain lube... added ingredients that keep the lube on the chain, so you're not oiling the whole planet.

In a pinch, a big old handful of Royal Crown Pommade will keep that chain quiet...
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Old 07-31-08, 12:30 PM   #23
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FYI:

Safe to clean chain with WD-40?
I am switching to WD-40 for chain lube! Check this out:
Isn't WD40 bad?
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Old 07-31-08, 08:20 PM   #24
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I used to use WD-40 on eveything when I was a child. Now I use the correct lube for the intended purpose. My favorite chain lube has been chainsaw bar and chain oil mixed 50/50 with mineral spirits. Doesn't pick up dirt and can go hundreds of miles before having to relube. The oil is also cheap at only $2.99 per quart.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:54 PM   #25
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WD40 is garbage.
For chains there are specialized lubes at your local friendly bike shop. These will lube chains better than anything else, and certainly much better than WD40!
For liberating stuck parts, Liquid Wrench is better than WD.
For a general household lube, I get a synthetic aerosol, again much better than WD. Loews has several synthetic aerosol lubricants; I like the teflon stuff.
The only thing WD has going for it is that it's popular.
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