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Resident Curmudgeon
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Discussion Starter #1
Why do so many people badmouth / dislike WD 40? I've used it for many years without ill effect. As far as I can tell, nothing I've ever used it on has accumulated more dirt, worn out faster, or operated more smoothly than when other lube has been used. IME, it's also a very good cleaner as well as water displacer.

So.....I gotta ask.....what's wrong with it? And please, when you tell me what's wrong with it, submit some proof that you have that's been documented by some independent testing lab. Don't tell me stuff like, "Well, everybody knows..." No, I don't know. I honestly don't know if WD 40 is better or worse than other lubes. If somebody can put this to rest, I'd appreciate it.
 

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The Gimlet Eye
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Well, when you have outright lies like this:

Questions about WD-40 appear regularly in our bicycle forums. REI does not recommend using WD-40 on your bike. The best thing to use is a lubricant such as Finish Line, Pedro's or Tri-Flow. These lubricants are designed for your bike's drive train.WD-40 is basically kerosene.
No wonder people don't know what to believe.

I've found some really good teflon enhanced gun oils do nicely for the chain and whatnot. Rem Oil is good stuff!
 

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Well,,, I don't know what all the hate is about either.. I for one love WD-40....
With WD-40, duct tape, and a hammer, you can fix almost anything.
It is my opinion that those who have issues with my beloved WD-40 have been brainwashed by the advertising companies who calim they have a newer better lube that costs X5 as much.

 

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Have a nice day
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Hilarious. We have this same stupid WD-40 debate over on the motorcycle forums.

"WD-40 will ruin your chain and take away your birthday!"

"WD-40 prolongs chain life and creates jobs for poor children."


:rolleyes:

Although my personal favorite - and I'm not making this up - is from my father-in-law:

"WD-40 is just fish oil. That's why I use it on my crab rings." :confused:
 

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Soul Mining
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Some people say WD-40 contains a substance not yet discovered by scientists, and that it is tapped from a well at the bottom of the deepest ocean trench.

I use it to clean things. I use it to displace water from vital parts on my bike...just like it was designed to do! I even use it when a bolt won't come unstuck. But would I lube my chain with it? Nah.
 

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I Use WD40 On My Chain All The Time...

... as a cleaning solvent (also have had some success on road tar and other debris) and water displacer (the WD in WD40)... As a lube... no.
 

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Mr. Versatile said:
Why do so many people badmouth / dislike WD 40? I've used it for many years without ill effect. As far as I can tell, nothing I've ever used it on has accumulated more dirt, worn out faster, or operated more smoothly than when other lube has been used. IME, it's also a very good cleaner as well as water displacer.

So.....I gotta ask.....what's wrong with it? And please, when you tell me what's wrong with it, submit some proof that you have that's been documented by some independent testing lab. Don't tell me stuff like, "Well, everybody knows..." No, I don't know. I honestly don't know if WD 40 is better or worse than other lubes. If somebody can put this to rest, I'd appreciate it.
Well, until some independent lab conducts tests proving kerosene is not a good chain lube, fill up the dunk tank and have at it.
Why not conduct the independent testing yourself. Soak your pedals, hubs, and bottom bracket in it. Please come back in a year with the results.
 

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cog-it-goes ergo sum
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undies said:
"WD-40 will ruin your chain and take away your birthday!"

"WD-40 prolongs chain life and creates jobs for poor children."
So WD-40 contributes to child labor? Even when it tries to do good, it's just evil stuff...
 

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a little extreme...

If you just bother to read the ingredients, you'd see that the solvent is not kerosene and it contains about 30% oil. Oil is not a good substitue for grease.

WD-40 will work perfectly fine for lubing just about any pivot point, where you might otherwise use a thin oil.

It will also work as a chain lube, but the oil is not a synthetic nor does it contain teflon, so more frequent application would be wise. I've used a similar product, Liquid Wrench Super Lube with teflon and it worked fine.

What I have proven regarding chain lubes is that frequent lubrication (after nearly every ride) can increase chainlife by 2-10 times, depending on how poor the previous lubing technique was. Applying a 6/1 mix of mineral spirits and snthetic motor oil, I've got chains that will require 20,000 miles of use to reach 1/16 inch per foot elongation.
 

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Home brew is cheaper..

You can make a batch of home brew using 30W motor oil and odorless mineral spirits that will last about a year. I used WD-40 in the past on my chain. I found it was a magnet for attracting road grit. This debate about WD-40 has been going on for years. The best use I found for it was removing corrosion. My chains last longer using the home brew method. But what ever works for you I guess...
 

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your god hates me
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The The said:
I use it to clean things. I use it to displace water from vital parts on my bike...just like it was designed to do! I even use it when a bolt won't come unstuck. But would I lube my chain with it? Nah.
What about using it to *clean* your chain, before you lubed your chain with a more appropriate product?

I've had several ostensibly knowledgeable (or at least, far more experienced) cyclists suggest this approach, and so far it has served me well ...and then just a week ago I read somewhere that WD-40 leaves some sort of residue behind so it's *not* good for cleaning moving parts! What's a mother to do?

(Stop reading, obviously...)
 

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terry b said:
Best lubricant bar none for the circular hinges on my pipe fencing. After a winter of oxidation, they sound like out of tune Koto music. Good flush of WD40 - silence.

Hmmmm. I use it to discipline the unruly kids next door. WD-40......use it for simple lube jobs 'round the house. 's an alright cleaner. The Mack Daddy of quick, thermonuclear cleaners is brake cleaner. Yup. Great stuff. When I was racin' motorpickles I used to bathe in that stuff. Nothin' smelled more like racin' or victory than a small garage, at 4 am, charged to the gills with brake cleaner vapors. MMmmmmmmm. Nummmmmy.

I don't think the apendage growing out of my back has anything to do with the brake cleaner.....
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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Discussion Starter #17
I'm not a big fan of WD 40. I like it. I use it, but I'm not in love with the stuff. I just really wanted to know if anyone knew the truth. Apparently they don't.

The The says, "I use it to clean things. I use it to displace water from vital parts on my bike...just like it was designed to do! I even use it when a bolt won't come unstuck. But would I lube my chain with it? Nah."

OK, but why?

Bob Ross said, " Quote:What about using it to *clean* your chain, before you lubed your chain with a more appropriate product?

I've had several ostensibly knowledgeable (or at least, far more experienced) cyclists suggest this approach, and so far it has served me well ...and then just a week ago I read somewhere that WD-40 leaves some sort of residue behind so it's *not* good for cleaning moving parts! What's a mother to do?"


No proof there. Leaves a residue? OK, I say if you rubbed your chain with broccoil it would leave some sort of residue. Nothing new there. In fact, I think if it didn't leave a residue, it wouldn't have any chance of being a lube...right? And there's also no proof that there is any "more appropriate" product with which to lube your chain.

In response to Jesse D. Smith's post, "Well, until some independent lab conducts tests proving kerosene is not a good chain lube, fill up the dunk tank and have at it.
Why not conduct the independent testing yourself. Soak your pedals, hubs, and bottom bracket in it. Please come back in a year with the results."


You're too late Jesse. Been there, done that, bought the "T" shirt. I honestly can't remember having dunked any parts in WD 40, but I sure have lubed a lot of them, that way for the past 30 or 40 years. The results?? Good = 100% Bad = 0%. Hardly scientific, but that's been my experience. Naturally I used many other lubes, too, e.g. Finish Line, Tri-Flo, Pedro's, motor oil, Liquid Wrench, etc, etc. Personally, I can't see much, if any at all, difference in lube qualities between any of them. I never use(d) it on pedals, bottom bracket, hubs, headsets, etc. I always use grease on those.

I liked Dinosaur's post the best. I never knew it'd remove corrosion, but I'm gonna give that a try real soon. Thanks for that info.

So, I guess that, so far, no one really has any proof one way or the other, which to me means that everything said so far re: WD 40 is a lot of bovine excrement. I've said in previous posts on othe forums/threads, that in a former life, I must have been from Missouri - the show me state. When people make statements that are so definitive for or against products, something in me triggers the need to ask them to prove it. If somebody CAN prove, either pro or con, I, and I imagine, many, many other cyclists would sure appreciate it.
 

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Mr. Versatile said:
I'm not a big fan of WD 40. I like it. I use it, but I'm not in love with the stuff. I just really wanted to know if anyone knew the truth. Apparently they don't.\
I don't think there are a lot of rheologists, or better yet, tribologists out there, so the population of people specializing in mass flow and lubrication on RBR is prolly small. It'd be nice to hear from one so that we could get the specialist's low down on WD-40 as the Uber Chemical.
 

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Unless someone has done specific tests on WD-40 (both rheological and chemical), it is not possible to determine how this cleaner/lubricant compares to other lubricants.

Here are some relatively simple guidelines for lubrication. Low viscosity lubricants tend to work with less friction; high viscosity lubricants tend to stick better to the part requiring lubrication. On a bicycle, considering the low temperatures and forces being applied, almost any lubricant will offer plenty of wear protection if it stays on the mechanical wear points.

So why is grease used in headset bearing and a thinner lubricant used on a chain? If you put a low viscosity material on the headset bearings, it would tend to flow to the bottom of the headset cup. Grease, due to its tackiness, will remain distributed throughout the bearing area.

On a chain, the wear points are the pins; if one were to apply a heavy grease, it would never penetrate to the wear points. Thus a thinner lubricant is used.

As several posters have suggested, taking a higher viscosity oil (or heavy weight, as it were) and adding a removable viscosity modifier (a solvent such as kerosene) allows the lubricant to flow to the appropriate areas. As the solvent evaporates, the relatively high viscosity lubricant will 'stick' in the area where it was deposited.

Now, based on this information, we can make some suppositions on the effectiveness of WD-40. Anecdotal evidence can quickly show us that it is composed of some type of volatile solvent carrier and some type of non-volatile lubricant. Now let's take one tablespoon of WD-40 and let it sit out in the open for a week. And let's then assume that half of it evaporates (this is purely speculation; it may be more or less). Now swish the remaining fluid around. It will still be much less viscous than, say, a 30 weight motor oil. With less viscosity and a non-constant load as is seen on a chain, this low-weight lubricant will be more quickly removed from wear points as compared to a higher viscosity material.

So WD-40 will certainly work as a lubricant. But it will probably not stay on the chain for a long period of time. Also, as it flows out of the areas requiring lubrication, it will tend to pick up dirt from the environment. Some of this dirt has the potential to transport back to high wear areas. Will these factors considerably influence the life of a chain? Unless you have some solid numbers and some time to model the problem (or do a well-controlled empirical study), I don't think there is an easy answer.

Please keep in mind that this is a significant simplification of lubricants; the number of additives and components in most modern lubricants is considerable. But for the sake of this argument, we don't really need any complex materials for basic use on a bicycle.

I also haven't discussed how viscosity or additives are important in terms of water resistance.
 

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WD40 does everything well but nothing great. If you were only able to get one, WD40 may be the one. It's a descent cleaner and lube. In reality, there are far better cleaners and lubes.

The brake cleaners, already mentioned, are making there way into the bike industry. I've been using some by Finish Line and White Lightning. I can't believe how grease and grime just dissolves away with this stuff. WD40 can clean, but not as easily as these products.

When it comes to lube, pick your poison. I currently have White Lightning, Boeshield T-9, Prolink, and KryTech on my shelf. I can't decide which one I like best but they are all better than WD40. The provide adequate dry lubrication so they pick up less debris.
 
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