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  1. #1
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    Safe to clean chain with WD-40?

    Hi,

    I did a search of the forums and couldn't find a good answer to my question, so I'll ask here.

    I have an old Specialized mountain bike with a somewhat rusty chain on it. I figure to clean the chain, I could just let it soak in a bowl of WD-40, and then just dry it off and apply bike lube. I've read some things on the internet however, that say WD-40 shouldn't be used on a chain as a lube. My question is, is it still safe to use for cleaning purposes?

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  2. #2
    Why Be Normal? Gorsar's Avatar
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    WD-40 is a water displacer/penetrating oil and would be fine to use to attempt to bring back to life a chain that's seen better days. It would break up the surface rust and penetrate the links to get where you can't. Typically to clean a chain I use Simple Green and then use a paraffin based lube on it. BUT, your questions is specifically aimed towards cleaning up an old chain.

    Probably the best choice would be to get a new chain but then you'd really be better off getting a new cassette too, and that adds up. I'd do exactly what you're doing, clean that one up and see how it does..
    Last edited by Gorsar; 05-17-06 at 06:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    As a messenger it was my lube of choice in the winter, kept a can in my bag always. Yea use it for cleaning if you want it'll break up alot of the crap. Makes a wonderful cologne as well, for that mysterious grease monkey vibe.

  4. #4
    Hardtail WorldWind's Avatar
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    Here are some good answers.

    Oiling your chain

    Complete bike nooby is looking for information on maintenance

    Beyond that once the smooth finish of your chain becomes rusted it is still serviceable but it now has a much more abrasive surface that will accelerated the wear of your rings and cogs. This is no real big deal but I point it out in case you want to prolong the utility of some perhaps hard to replace components. New chains start at about $9.

  5. #5
    Commited Suicide WannaGetGood's Avatar
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    I used it. It works, just only for about 1 ride. Get some real chain stuff.

  6. #6
    Senior Member FreeRidin''s Avatar
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    I used it to clean my rusted over chain too. I stuck it in a bowl filled w/ WD-40 over night and then washed the WD-40 off with water and then dried it. Finally slapped it back on the bike and lubed it up. It works wonders!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Killer B
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  7. #7
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    I killed many a chain as a kid using WD-40. I would advise against it, even as just a cleaning agent. If your cassette isnt ancient and still in decent shape, i think you'd be better off with a new chain. They are quite cheap.

  8. #8
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    My chain rusted solid three times this winter [lots of road salt to melt the snow and corrode my bike], and I brought it back to life all three times with sloppy quantities of Finish Line Wet XC lube. It's alot like Phil's Tenacious Oil, but not as sticky. Hose'r down with that, go for a ride to 7-11 to get a Slurpee, wipe it down when you get back. Repeat as necessary. Don't drink your Slurpee too fast or you'll get brain freeze. Here endeth the lesson...
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  9. #9
    dirt is good trevor's Avatar
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    This reminds me of when I told my dad that I needed to lube my chain and that I would do it when I got home from school. But when I got home my dad told me that he couldnt find my Chain Lube that I had specifically for my bike so instead he just used *** oil :O I hope it doesnt do anything gay to my Chain or anything like that.

  10. #10
    Senior Member concernicus's Avatar
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    its gross. keep it away from bikes

  11. #11
    ec velo
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    this is a hotly debated topic. wd40 vs. advanced chain lubes. I've used both. Depends on how much you care about/ how much you've spent on you bike. I use wd40 on my single speed winter beater; wd40 will never touch my 3k xc racing machine.

  12. #12
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    I've always used wd-40 for a chain lube. My last bike I bought new in '96. I rode it for 8 years and only replaced the chain once. Just lube your chain before and after every ride and also after washing your bike.

  13. #13
    I'd rather be riding Noif666's Avatar
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    I use WD-40 to flush the nasty road gritty bits out of my chain, give it a good wipe, repeat until pretty dern clean and finish up using some proper chain lube.
    So far it has worked a treat and I ride my bike just about every day rain, hail or shine.

    Hope that helps

  14. #14
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Its good that WD40 displaces water and carries away grit. The next question is whether proper chain lube will displace what WD40 leaves behind after its volatiles evaporate away. If not, it may be a problem.
    --
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  15. #15
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    well I'm THINKING (for a change)......... that most of us get the idea...

    WD40 isn't a good lubricant, but it can have a good use cleaning, and prepping a chain for a good lubricant. I see alot of threads for guys using, (abusing) WD40, 'cuz we've been brought up thinking this is a lube;

    I have half a dozen lubes - some dry, some wet, and don't ride in either real wet or real dusty conditions but will say that the (nearly) silent "hum" of a clean well-lubed chain is wonderful.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    WD-40 is a miracle fluid for many purposes and squeeky chains is one of them.

    But, beware! Mixing WD-40 with other lubes will break down the hard working lubes on the axle bearings and also will break down the lub in your freehub. If you regularly WD-40 a chain, plan to rebuild/relube your axle bearings more often.

    Everything in moderation!

    BTW, another way to drive out water is isopropal alcahol, the %'age kind. Then you know the chain is ready for a proper chain lube.

    Funny comment on the Water Lube... Water is actually a very good lubricant... used properly

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