Can You Use WD40 On Bicycle Brakes?

For serious and regular bikers who ride almost every day, bike maintenance is part of a systematic routine. Cleaning, washing, and lubricating different parts of the bike keeps dirt off the parts, making sure rust does not decline your bike’s durability and performance.

WD-40 is a common product for bikers attempting to keep up with that bike care work. The water displacement product is multipurpose and is considered to be a solution with a small amount of lubricant mixed with it.

Apart from decreasing friction between parts that are over-tightened and consequently loosening them, there is a prevalent misperception and confusion on whether this ‘unique, special blend of lubricants’, as labeled by the company, can be used on bike brakes. So, can you use WD40 on bike brakes?

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What is WD-40 Good For?

If any of your bicycle parts are stuck, you can rely on WD-40 to efficiently displace the part from its static position. When originally manufactured, the purpose of this solution was to perform degreasing, while protecting the metal parts removing moisture. Thus, preventing rust and corrosion!

Related reading: How To Clean Bike Brakes?

Can I Use WD40 On Bike Brakes?

No, you cannot use the regular multi-purpose WD 40 on bike brakes. In fact, experts suggest that you should never use this solution on your bike brakes, and if you do, you’ll have a difficult time reviving your otherwise functioning bike.

WD stands for water displacement. The degreaser works its way by removing moisture from the part it has been sprayed. Any lubricant, oil, or grease, when sprayed on brakes, will minimize the friction on the part. In the case of a brake, which operates due to appropriate friction, it will become practically become unserviceable.

Furthermore, WD-40 will considerably diminish the effectiveness of the braking power of the pads. This means whenever you are out on a ride, the stopping distance will be much higher than your usual braking distance standards. This is unsafe and makes your ride prone to accidents even on a spin in your local neighborhood.

Apart from the loss of friction and proper constriction of the brakes, a semi-greasy solution like the WD40 will also expose the brakes to further contamination.

Depending on how much WD-40 you have sprayed on your bike brakes, you might or might not be able to save your braking system. Some people suggest that it’s best to replace the brakes completely, as they won’t have their previous efficiency, no matter what you do.

While we agree that replacement is the best solution, there are a few ways to retrieve your bike’s brake system to full force and power. Keep in mind this is only possible if you have not sprayed too much of the degreaser on your brake.

Related reading: Can You Use WD40 On A Bike Chain?

Can I Use WD40 Bike Degreaser On Bike Brakes?

Yes, you can use the WD40 Bike Degreaser on your bicycle’s brakes.

The WD40 Bike Degreaser is an excellent product for maintaining the pristine condition of your bike’s disc brake rotors.

Over time and use, dirt and grime start accumulating on your bicycle’s disc brake rotors. While you won’t feel an obvious difference from the beginning, you’ll slowly feel the bike offering reduced performance.

This is because the grinding of the dirt particles while you bike increases the wear and tear of the rotors. So, they deteriorate over time and offer decreased performance. With the WD40 Bike Degreaser, you can solubilize the grime and make it easy to clean.

With this product, you won’t have to take the rotors off for a deep clean. So, you can use these on bike brakes. In fact, we highly recommend doing so. Not only the brakes but it can be applied to other metal parts such as the drivetrain also.

How To Remove Multi-Purpose WD40 Sprayed On Your Bike Brakes?

Contrary to popular belief, your bike’s braking system will not be completely ruined if you spray a small amount of WD-40 on your brakes. Before thinking of throwing away the old, grease-stained brakes and getting a new one, attempt to save your brakes one last time. If none of the above solutions work, and your bike brakes are still out of order, you may have to replace them!

Here is how you may get your bike brakes to function again after using WD40 on them.

Related reading: How To Fix Squeaky Bike Brakes?

Alcohol Rub

Alcohol effectively removes any oil, grease, or lubricant containing solvents like WD-40.

For this, you can disassemble the brake pads at first. Take a clean wiping cloth and pour alcohol on it. You can also use alcohol pads. Use this to wipe the braking pad thoroughly. Before assembling the brake back to the bike, make sure it is completely dry. Sanding them before the final use can be greatly useful as well.

This is perhaps the most efficient and easy way to get rid of all the degreaser that has gotten into your brakes.

Brake Cleaner

You can attempt to wipe off all the WD-40 using brake cleaners. Keep in mind that you might need a couple of cans before all the lubricant like solvent is out of your brakes.

Moreover, brake cleaners are widely available and can be found in any auto spare shop.

While chlorinated brake cleaner sprays are effective, they are also non-flammable as opposed to non-chlorinated ones that use hydrocarbons. Before using brake cleaners, remember to use gloves and take adequate precautions as they are highly toxic and, in some cases, flammable. Hence it is best to use the brake cleaner in an area that is open and ventilated.

Related reading: How To True A Bike Wheel Without A Truing Stand?

Torching or Heating

If you have used WD-40 on your bike brake and have noticed signs of contamination from the degreaser, this could be an unusual but simple way to save your brake.

Heat or torch the brake pad from a small distance to burn the remaining chemicals. It is also essential to remember that a complete cleaning of your rotor could aid in the process.

Wash and Scrub

Although less effective, this could be a convenient way to get rid of some of the WD40 that you’ve splashed on your brakes. For this, use warm water and soap detergent.

Use a combination of rigorous scrubbing to wash off the greasy chemicals. Use enough water to rinse the detergent solution, followed by hours of complete drying. When it’s dried, use the acetone solution carefully to get rid of any remaining WD40. You can also use alcohol pads for the last step.

Related reading: Best Wheel Truing Stand Reviews & Buying Guide

Using Other W40 Products On Cycle Brakes

Generally, WD-40 products are not recommended for bicycle brakes because they can degrade the rubber and plastic components and diminish braking performance.

WD-40 Product Name Can be used on bicycle brakes? (Yes/No) Explanation
WD-40 Specialist® Cleaner & Degreaser No Can remove necessary lubricants and degrade brake components.
WD-40 EZ-REACH No The lubricant can impair the function of brakes and contaminate brake pads.
WD-40 Original Formula No Can degrade brake components and is not designed for high-friction surfaces like brake pads.
WD-40 Specialist Line (various products) No Most are not suitable for brakes; some could damage plastic/rubber parts or impair brake function.
WD-40 Specialist Degreaser and Cleaner EZ-PODS No Degreasers can remove essential lubricants and cause brake components to wear prematurely.
WD-40 Original Formula Precision Pen No Not specified for brake systems and can contaminate brake pads.
WD-40 Multi-Use Product with Big-Blast Spray No The spray can contaminate brake pads and is not suitable for brake mechanisms.
WD-40 Multi-Use Spray No Can contaminate brake pads and impair braking performance.
WD-40 as a Rust Inhibitor and Lubricant No Can contaminate brake pads; not designed for use in high-friction areas.
WD-40 Specialist® Bike Degreaser No While it is designed for bikes, it should not be used on brake pads or rotors due to contamination risks.

Final Thoughts

Due to their limited acquaintance on what works for an inflexible brake and what doesn’t, a lot of people often spray generous amounts of WD-40 on their bike brakes, as they do on to other parts of their ride. The dire results make them then wonder if you can use WD40 on bike brakes at all.

While WD40 is a versatile degreaser, suitable to loosen tautened nuts and stuck bolts, it also effectively lubricates metal parts, creating an anti-rust coating. Nevertheless, it is never the brightest of idea to use the regular multipurpose WD40 on your bike brakes!

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