Old 10-25-12, 10:33 PM
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Here We Go
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Here's a locksmith's advice from some other threads. I offer it at face value.

The short version of what he suggests:
- Tri-Flow or other teflon-based lubricant for routine maintenance
- WD-40 if there's some gunk/seizing going on inside, followed immediately by Tri-Flow or similar
- No graphite ever


Post 1:
DO NOT USE POWDERED GRAPHITE IN YOUR BIKE LOCKS.
DO NOT USE WD-40 AS A LUBRICANT ON YOUR BIKE LOCK.

After some time, particulates (foreign material) will get into the keyway. The graphite will cling to this crud and clump up, essentially defeating its own purpose.

WD-40 is a water displacement product. It is used as a cleaner, not a lubricant. When it dries, it will also attract particulates, gunking up your lock. It SHOULD be used on OLD, gunky, rusty, cruddy locks to clean them out. Spray some into the keyway and all moving parts. Wait 5 minutes or so and wipe as much out as you can. Wait as long as you can to let it dry out, and apply a teflon lubricant.

Use any teflon based lubricant. I use 'tri-flow'.
Spray some into the keyway and work it in by running the key in and out rapidly and turning the key in the lock repeatedly. This should be done 2-10 times per year, depending on how frequently you use the lock.

Post 2:
First off, I am a locksmith. Have been for twelve years. I know exactly how all of these locks work.

NEVER use WD40 on any lock EVER for the purpose of lubrication. It is meant to be used as a water displacing cleaning agent. If your lock is seized, rusty, grimy, old, horribly gunked up........use WD40. spray, wait 5-15 minutes, whack with a mallet or deadblow hammer (or hammer if you don't mind scarring it up). Try your key. Repeat. Run the key in and out rapidly many times. Repeat these steps. If your lock still refuses to open, buy a new one.

Use any TEFLON based lubricant (tri-flow is what my industry uses, almost exclusively) on all locks for routine lubrication. These work better than anything out there, including 3-in-one oils, household oils, and machine oils. You should lubricate your locks at least 6 times a year. More often in bad weather, especially on bike locks which tend to get a lot of road particulates in them. Spray some tri flow into the keyway and on all other moving parts/surfaces. Run the key in and out, and turn back and forth several times to work the lubrication in. This will exponentially prolong the life of your locks.
Believe it.
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