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How you can and cannot use WD-40 in motorcycle care

Now it is off-season, many are engaged in the “treatment” of sores that have manifested themselves in the motorcycle over the past season of operation. Earlier, we talked about what should be in the garage of every motorcyclist to service the bike.

WD-40 has become a common lubricant of all famous brands over the decades. This is largely due to the fact that even fathers and grandfathers used it, and alternative options have not yet acquired such mass fame. The name is made up of WD – Water Displacement, which translates as “water displacer” and the number of the most successful sample – 40. There are pitfalls behind popularity, so we’ll talk about that.

A minute of history

To understand why this lubricant was so successful, you need to know that it was invented primarily for the space industry. The manufacturing company was formed in San Diego, California, back in 1953, under the name Rocket Chemical Company.

At that time, aerospace company Convair had a problem with excess moisture that got into Atlas rockets during their transport from San Diego to the test site. Therefore, the task of the creators of the WD-40 was to develop an anti-corrosion agent for protecting missile skin.

In 1969, when the Rocket Chemical Company was at its best, but no longer had anything to do with missiles, because the WD-40 was used by all and sundry, the company was renamed WD-40 Company. In addition, she produced, and still produces to this day, only WD-40.

Since then, the unique lubricant formula has not changed. Nobody knows what it is made of. The manufacturer refuses to patent the secret recipe so that no one knows its exact formula. Although there are well-known brands that are noticeably closer to the truth and breathe down their heads. They are often chosen as a cheaper alternative.

It is believed that the unique composition includes at least 50% white spirit, about 15% mineral oil and something close to 25% carbon dioxide. There are rumors about fish oil, but the manufacturer denied this.

A fly in the ointment and big changes

Over the decades, the “vadashka” has overgrown with myths due to its versatility and the fact that users came up with new assignments for it, one more original than the other. The jokers are already asking, is it true that if you pour WD-40 into each cylinder of the engine, the engine volume will double, and the burned-out mufflers will tighten by themselves from the inside? If. The trouble is that users are trying to solve all problems indiscriminately with a “vdeshka”.

– In any incomprehensible situation – lei WD-40, – the grandfathers bequeathed.

However, the grandfathers forgot to explain that the legendary grease is hygroscopic! Yes, it will help in some cases to solve problems with the treatment of corrosion, rust, contacts. But first, it will dry and degrease the surface, and then if, after use, you do not clean and process the place with the lubricants that should be there, the remnants of WD-40 will begin to accumulate moisture again. The situation can only get worse later. Even the manufacturer says that the lubrication effect of the standard WD-40 is short-lived.

Regarding the use of the WD-40 to wash and lubricate the motorcycle chain, the active community has split into two opposing camps. Some are sure that WD-40 can wash out the lubricant from the chain, while others say that nothing terrible happens to the chain after WD-40. In this situation, the manufacturer himself made a knight’s move and released the specialized WD-40 series for motorcycles.

While we are hotly arguing whether it is possible or impossible to use the usual yellow-blue WD-40 for cleaning brake discs, the manufacturer quietly sent chemicals to the market for these purposes too. In total, the WD-40 versions are separately available for motorcyclists: for cleaning brake discs, cleaning chains, lubricating chains, chain wax for especially wet reels, wax and silicone for polishing, and also a cleaner for cleaning the motorcycle body from dirt and dust. I guess that this whole set costs a lot of money and many readers will say that plain kerosene is cheaper and more familiar.

Interestingly, the manufacturer asks users to exercise prudence and quote: “Common sense should be exercised when using WD-40 products.” There is even a list of two thousand positions for which this grease can be used, but it is in English. There is also a disclaimer on the site.

I don’t think there will be many people in Russia who would like to assemble an entire shelf from the WD-40 motorcycle line, except for the adherents of the manufacturer. Usually our drivers follow a less costly route. So let’s see what you can do in a standard WD-40 motorcycle if you don’t have something more specialized at hand.


Everything is clear here. Most often, we use WD-40 precisely to fight rust, “ingrown” bolts or nuts into the body. Just remember to work on the bare metal afterwards so that rust does not creep up in the second to tenth circle.

Oxidized contacts

When the contacts of the sensors or the terminals of the battery are oxidized, they can be treated with WD-40, provided that everything will be cleaned later. If residues of grease remain, then the appearance of plaque, accumulation of debris and dust is inevitable. And yes, the WD-40 conductor is not the best. Therefore, if you are thinking of getting into a motorcycle electrician, there is a reason to look at more specialized professional contact cleaners. Although many in the old fashioned way clean the contacts with a file, process them with solid oil and rejoice in saving.

The WD-40 can be used to unscrew the candles and clean them.


WD-40 will help to remove stickers, traces of glue, bitumen stains, even some paint that could be left on the body by a can of ill-wishers. It is used as a cleaner on wheel disks, removes dirt from brake discs and the engine, but with the same condition – wipe the remaining spray dry.

The windshields and lighting fixtures are of a nature thinner, for which the WD-40 would be better set aside. Yes, there are advisers who recommend, at their own risk and peril, to wash everything that is bad with WD-40, but they apparently have never seen what harsh chemicals do when they get into microcracks in windshields. In general, Vedashka has high relations with plastic – polycarbonate and polystyrene, as well as with rubber. If you do not rinse then all the treated areas, you can get unpleasant “side effects”. It is not for nothing that the manufacturer writes a disclaimer under each article describing the use of WD-40.

No one disputes that the WD-40 has earned its popularity. But every chemical must be used correctly. At the time when the lubricant just appeared, it really solved all the troubles, since there were no equal competitors. Ordinary people decades ago had alternatives to kerosene, diesel fuel, lithol, solid oil … But now other motorcycles and time are different. I am glad that the manufacturer was puzzled by the problem of using lubricant in any incomprehensible situations from the squeak of the suspension to the rust of the pendulum, noticed how generously motorcyclists bathe chains in it and carefully rub brake discs … It’s great that the WD-40 has a line designed specifically for motorcycles, so that remove the issue of lubrication for all occasions. And we just have to carefully approach the choice of surfaces on which we will apply WD-40 and do not forget to finish the treatment.

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