I don’t have to reiterate the importance of lubricating our bike chains. It’s like the lifeline of a bike. Anyway!
Sometimes you run out of chain lube like I did a year back. So I thought to myself, can I use cooking oil on my bike chain? How bizarre it sounds! It can be a viable solution for the time being.
It may not sound like a good idea at first, but if you read about the different characteristics of cooking oil, it seems like a good placeholder for WD40 or whichever lubricating oil you use.
Why Lubricate The Bike Chain?
Using lubes on bike chains is the safety net for your vehicle. It prevents corrosion, friction, and wear. You can’t go without regular lubrication if you want to keep your two-wheeler ready for the road.
When it comes to a bike, the essential part of it is the drivetrain. It provides the driving power. If you have a multi-speed drivetrain, you need to use lube more than someone with a single-speed.
A dry and non-lubricated chain will experience multiple problems, including noise, jammed chains, and difficult gear-shifting. The chain will wear out sooner than the expected time as it keeps experiencing friction at a higher rate.
What are The Conventional Lube Oils?
You’ll find many forms of bike chain lubes in the stores. However, as you know, they share similarities. It’s because they have the same base oil. Depending on the additives, they can be divided into these types below,
- Thick Grease
- Light Oils
- Spray Lubricants
- Wax-based lubricants
These lubricants are prepared to last longer in watery situations such as rain and clogged water. They stick to the bike chain tighter, which means they can withstand water splashes. They also have a greasy film that protects the metal parts from moisture.
The 2nd easiest lubricating oil to apply is light oils. Since it doesn’t have a thick consistency, it gets inside the chain and reaches the narrowest corners.
But the lower density means they come off the chains much earlier. It means it requires frequent lubrication to work.
Another type of lubricant is the one applied through a spray. This is the easiest lube to use, and it covers and reaches every spot you’re targeting. However, it does come with a level of wastage.
There’s another type of lubricant based on wax. It’s quite regularly used by off-road bikers. They do well in dry and dusty conditions to keep the chain parts working. However, if there’s water and mud present, it won’t work.
Wax lubricants are hard to apply but protect the chain parts from wear which shows increased longevity.
Can I Use Cooking Oil on My Bike Chain?
Cooking oil is not a proper lubricating oil. It’s too thin and light to stick to the chain. Splashes of water can easily get rid of it.
They may not stay for long on the chains, but they can be used when there are no other options left. The policy is; that any lube is better than no lube.
What Oils to Avoid As Bike Chain Lube?
Apart from cooking oils, two other oils perform poorly as alternative lubricating. They are,
- Engine oil – This oil is too thick and can make things much worse by collecting dirt and dust.
- WD40 – This famous spray oil is lubricating but is mainly a degreaser.
Other Alternative Lube Oils
There are pretty good alternative lubes you can resort to if you have no proper lube near you.
- Chainsaw oil – Since a chainsaw works like a chain, this is the perfect alternative. The thickness is good, but it can make frequent usage hard.
- Silicone Spray – It’s an easy-to-apply lube found in households. But water is its enemy.
- Clipper Oil – It works well, but it too washes away quickly.
- Vaseline – Keep in mind that Vaseline is also good at collecting dirt and dust.
- 3-in-1 Oil
So, can I use cooking oil on my bike chain? After some research, I got my answer, and I’ve put it in writing for you guys to take note of. It’s not something I’d use unless in a pinch. But hey, if it works, it works.