Cycling has a lot of different experts, and some cyclists have very unique methods when it comes to their bikes. We hear about them all. Some of them are absolute hacks, and others are just general nonsense.
A question a lot of people ask is about WD40 and if you can use it on a bike. Some people say absolutely not, and others say it’s perfectly fine.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know. Here’s what we will discuss:
- What Is WD40?
- Do We Recommend It?
- How You Shouldn’t Use It On Your Bike
- How To Use It On Your Bike
What Is WD40?
WD40 is something you will find in most households, but only some people know what it can do. It’s commonly used to fix squeaky hinges, clean rust, and help loosen bolts. WD40 actually stands for Water Displacement 40th attempt.
It was designed as a multi-purpose lubricant that could displace water and protect metal surfaces from rusting. It was actually invented many years before it was eventually released to the public.
It’s made up of many ingredients, mainly mineral oil and solvents based on petroleum. It’s actually got a lot more uses than you might think, but only in certain situations should it be used on your bikes.
Do We Recommend WD40 On Bikes?
Actually, this answer is more complex than you might think. We don’t recommend the original WD40 on bikes apart from how we have spoken about above, but even then, there are much better alternatives that can do a better job at a lower cost.
We do recommend WD40’s bike products, though. If you didn’t know, WD40 actually does a range designed for bikes.
They do different types of lubricants, cleaning products, and even a degreaser. You can find the products here!
How You Shouldn’t Use It On Your Bike
Now how shouldn’t you use WD40 on your bike? Surprisingly there are a lot of ways, but here are the most common mistakes we see.
As A Replacement For Bike Grease
We often see people using it as a replacement for grease on bolts or parts such as bottom brackets.
This isn’t what it is designed for, and eventually will dry up, and then everything will get stuck. Use proper bike grease, in our opinion.
As A Chain Lubricant
WD40 is a lubricant, but it does not work well on bicycle chains. You can apply it, and it will work, but it dries up incredibly quickly and after a short amount of time and then attracts dirt like crazy.
To Do Anything On Your Brakes
Many people use WD40 to clean their bikes, which is fine, and it can give them a nice shine, but you have to be careful not to get it anywhere near your disc or rim brakes. Not only does it make them completely useless, but it can end up contaminating your parts, and if that happens, they need replacing.
How To Use WD On Your Bike
The original WD40 can be used on your bike, but it’s limited in its functions. Here are the only ways we recommend you use WD40 when it comes to cycling:
For Cleaning Certain Components
The first way you can use WD40 on your bike is for cleaning. It’s fantastic for removing dirt and grime, especially on places like the chain, cassette, and even on components such as the derailleurs. The best way to use it this way is to spray it on a cloth and run it around the components themselves.
To Loosen Off Bolts And Parts
WD40 is excellent when parts on your bike start to get stuck. If you ever plan to work on a classic bike, it will be handy to have WD40 available. Spraying it on loose bolts can help free them up and stop you from rounding them off and having problems later down the line.
To Remove Rust
WD40 is incredible when it comes to removing rust. You can spray it on patches of rust on your bike and scrub them off using a wire brush. It’s very easy to do and probably the best use for WD40 on a bike, in our opinion.
To Stop Squeaks
Finally, you will see many cyclists use it to stop their bikes from squeaking. If you have a noisy derailleur or a shifting that is a little dry, WD40 is a great solution. You would benefit more from a small amount of grease, but WD40 could be a temporary fix.
Can I Use WD-40 On Bike Chain?
The only reason we would recommend using WD40 on a bike chain is for cleaning. It doesn’t make ideal lubrication and it does attract dirt, which is going to take away the valuable wattage you are producing.
A Final Note
WD40 is an excellent tool for around the house and generally working on any mechanical goods. It’s not ideal when it comes to working on your bike, but it does have some uses. We recommend using it cautiously, and if there are alternatives designed for bikes, consider them.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.