Whether or not WD-40 will keep your chain’s O-rings happy or ruin them is one of the most controversial topics in motorcycle maintenance. Check any web forum and there’s bound to be a 30-page debate raging, with supporters asserting that WD-40 is great for cleaning and lubing your chain and won’t hurt a thing, while critics claim it will destroy your chain’s O-rings, displace the grease, and ruin your chain.
What’s the truth? To find out, Senior Road Test Editor Ari Henning donned his lab coat, marched down to the MC garage, and performed some compatibility experiments. Chain links were disassembled, test tubes organized, and O-rings subjected to full immersion in WD-40 (as well as other common shop chemicals) to find out if and how the contents of the ubiquitous yellow-and-blue effects the O-rings used on today’s sealed chains.