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Is WD-40 not a lubricant?

by Levi Bloom on June 16, 2008


"2. WD-40 shall not be applied as chain lube. Does it say 'lubricant' on the bottle?"

Er, yes. It does. It says "ideal for bike chains". Or my bottle does, anyway. Thanks for an entertaining site.

happy days, leo


[This must be in reference to my bike shop etiquette article, where I mentioned that WD-40 should not be applied as chain lube.]


Hi Leo,

I couldn't find "ideal for bike chains" on my bottle of WD-40, but I don't doubt that yours does say that.

But let me ask you this: If a box of donuts said "great for weight loss," would you believe it?

What about a bicycle tire made out of lead that said "great for use on racing bicycles?"

Kidding aside, manufacturers will say just about anything to sell their product. So take those claims with a grain of salt, however logical they may seem.

But, I'm sticking to my story - WD-40 is not a lubricant for bicycle chains. WD-40 is a solvent.

Some people use it to clean their chains, and if used sparingly, it can work for that purpose. (I still don't recommend it though, unless you keep the WD-40 away from the rest of the bike.)

Just as WD-40 will dissolve rust and remove contaminants from your chain, it will remove any lube that's on there. But it won't re-lubricate.

So if you want your chains to last longer than a week, I highly recommend using a true chain lube such as ProLink or Dumonde Tech Lite.


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