WD40: Junk or Legit?

I've heard lots of hearsay and rumors about this stuff with many mixed opinions of my own, but better to go to the knowledge source: is WD40 the way to go for keeping your chain running strong or will it cause harmful breakdown over time?

I've been using a wax based chain lube recommended by my Yamaha dealer, but I hate how sticky it is and the junk that ends up all over my bike after a ride.

What do you say? :thumbsup: or :lame:


WD 40 is a Penetrating Oil it is great for freeing up loose parts and for cleaning metal pieces, and keeping rust down. However, it is not designed to stick to the chain like a good chain lube.

I have tried the wax type chain lube and I agree with your comment about the stickiness, I don't like it. I use the Maxima Crystal Clear Chain Guard. It stays put but doesn't collect all over the place, and dirt doesn't seem to stick to it as bad. my 2 cents.

WD40 :thumbsup:

I dont like using WD40 on anything that moves. The only time i use the JUNK is when i'm using the drill press (to cool the drill bit) or i spray it on all exposed metal before and after going to the beach with the salt air.

:thumbsup: OK, so I'll be the odd guy here. I use WD40 as a chain lube. I have been using it for over 10 years on at least 5 different bikes (all using O-Ring chains). FYI, I keep a log of mileage and all part replacements, services, etc. On each of my last 5 bikes I put over 3,500 miles on the OEM O-Ring chains (Honda (1), Suzuki (2), Yamaha (2). Each time I used WD40 exclusively. In fact, I have never used chain lube nor chain wax on an O-Ring chain. I didn't like how the sticky stuff attracted dirt, which stuck to all of those moving parts. I'm a believer in "cleaner is better". WD40 removes water after washing and prevents rusting. I really don't know how well it lubricates the chain, I just know that 3,500 + miles per chain and sprockets is good bang for the buck. After all if the O-Rings are working then the lubrication should still be in there on the rollers where it's needed most.

Alan J Peterson

I've been using WD40 exclusively as a chain treatment for 20 years, I'v'e never found it to be harmful to an O-ring chain in any way. I get good long service from my chains and sprockets (partly because I use steel rear sprockets rather than alumajunk). The WD-40 is excellent for displacing water after washing the bike and keeps things from rusting. Sticky chain lube is unecessary and just attracts dirt/crud/sand and makes a self-destructing grinding machine out of the chain and sprockets.

I use WD 40 on my chain primarily to displace the water and keep the rust away. As mentioned; the lube is supposed to be kept in place by the o-rings. I still use chain lube on my non o-ring chains on my vintage bikes. The Honda stuff in the red can is my favorite. It is very light and makes the clean up an easy chore vs. the gooey chain lube mess of dirt & oil.

:thumbsup: For WD40. I used anti-sling type spray lube for several years, hated cleaning it off, and always wondered if it did more harm than good considering I had to scrub the buildup off. I then used chain wax for a few years, liked it better, but still was dissappointed with the build up. I have been using WD40 for about 3 years now. My chain is rust free, and easier to inspect. A few guys have warned that it does damage to the o-rings, but untill I see some hard evidence to support this theory I will continue with WD.

WD-40 is pefect for O-ring chains. O-ring chains have a lubricant injected in the rollers. That lubricant is what keeps the chain moving. The WD-40 keeps the surface rust off of the links. My chain looks good and lasts longer than the sprockets.

I don't like WD40 or any other solvent/ penetrating oil just because they stink and they only provide minimal rust prevention unless you keep the chain soaked. And with o-ring chains what's the point of keeping the chain soaked? I use Alisyn. It stays put even though it's not sticky and best of all, doesn't stink.

The honda chain lube works surprisingly well. It sticks good, doesn't sling everywhere, and isn't tacky like the PJ1 stuff I was using. My 2 pennies

It's surprising to me that WD 40 works for anything other than it's original intended purpose. It was created to displace water in the electrical panels mounted in the rockets used in the Mercury Space Program. I think the only reason there are any lubrication qualities in it at all is due to the light petroleum distilates used as an active ingredient. I'm pretty sure the stuff was meant to evaporate fairly quickly and seems to on any hinge I've ever used it on.

WD40 is GREAT for many things, but as a lube, it evaporates quickly and has little or no shear strength. It will ruin a chain in short order, if you use it for a chain lube. It does work well as a cleaner for many things. The only thing I would lube with it is a sqeaky door hinge, but 3 in 1 is even better for that. On the web, you can probably find "101 uses."

I had the same question a few years ago.

Was using PJ1 but my chain got so gunked up I had to remove it and soak it in mineral spirits to get it clean.

"WD" stands for "water displacement".

The Yamaha dealer I go to used Chainwax. It worked great. Did not fling off, did not attract and retain dirt, and made the chain easy to clean. I'm still using it.

Great info! Thanks for the input!


Chain wax should be left to dry before riding & then it doesn't stay sticky. After washing your bike, clean the chain with a chain brush, spray WD40 to get rid of the water, dry chain & spray with chain wax, then leave to dry until next ride.

That does it for me.

Well I love the stuff!!!! I use it to clean my chain and everything else. Once I've cleaned the chain (with a toothbrush and WD40), I dry it with a rag, then use an o-ring suitable chain spray. I've been doing this with my Hayabusa as well (owned for 6 years from new), it's still on the original chain and sprockets and the sprockets look like new. It's now done 20,000 miles and there are no tight spots in the chain. Find me another Busa with that sort of mileage with original C+S.

Admittedly with a dirtbike they get a lot of crap ground into them but with a quality chain, they still seem to last forever when kept clean and lubed!! That's also with all the salt we have thrown down on the roads in winter in the UK!!!

I've used it for years too. I spray the chain real good after I've cleaned the chain then rub off excess with towel. The chain is lubed and doesn't have a bunch of sticky crap globbed all over it. I've read that WD-40 in not good for chains based on several theories however I've never seen one case of a person having to replace a chain prematurely in the real world because they used WD-40.

I used to use honda's chain lube, or any number of brands of chain wax. Since I got my WR in '04 I've used nothing but loctite super lube w/ teflon & I'm still on the OEM chain. I like the stuff cause I can hit all the pivots & moving parts on the whole bike with it after a wash.

The link above isn't where I get it, I usually buy it from the local auto parts store, but it was the first correct google search result I got for it.

I have heard that the teflon component in the lube bonds with metals it comes in contact with which might be why I've had such good experience with it. Or it's complete hogwash, & I've just been really lucky. Either way, I'm gonna keep using it. :thumbsup:

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