Why Does A Bicycle Chain That Is Coated With Oil Not Rust?

Oil prevents oxidation and a bicycle chain that has been coated with oil will prevent moisture present on the bicycle from reacting with oxygen. This is partly because oil and water cannot mix and the oil shadows the water in such a way that prevents oxygen from reaching it. Therefore, why does a bicycle chain that is coated with oil not rust?

A bicycle chain that is coated with oil does not rust because of the presence of the oil on it. For a bicycle chain to rust, it has to be exposed to moisture and that moisture has to have access to oxygen (mostly present in the atmosphere) and react with it. This would lead to rust.

Simply put, oil is an important factor that prevents iron from rusting.

By reading this article, you will understand why a bicycle chain that has been coated with oil does not rust and other methods by which you can prevent bicycle chains from rusting. Let’s get into it.

Quick Guide To Bicycle Chain Oils

Bicycle chain oil, chain lubes or chain lubricant is an essential item for the maintenance of your bicycle chain. It ensures that your bicycle chain functions properly and prevents your bicycle chain from wearing out. It also makes your ride easier and comfortable.

Quick Guide To Bicycle Chain Oils

If you notice that your chain is a little bit ratty, hardly shifts between gears, or is beginning to look rusty, then your chain might need oiling.

However, different types of bicycle chain oils are suitable for different kinds of weather conditions. Which then do you need?

Dry Bicycle Chain Oil

This is more suitable for dry and dusty roads and trails as they do not stick to dirt and glue to chains. It is usually applied as a liquid, coats the bicycle chain and then dries almost immediately so that your chain does not become tacky or sticky to touch.

Wet Bicycle Chain Oil

Wet bicycle chain oil is designed for wet conditions. It helps the bicycle chains to stay put through rain, mud, or puddles. This chain oil is more suitable for winter, autumn, and spring seasons.

Ceramic Bicycle Chain Oil

These types of bicycle chain oils are designed as tiny microparticles of ceramic materials that coats the bicycle chains and properly lubricates the links. They are a bit costlier than the traditional chain oils but they ensure a quieter, smoother and more effective ride.

Wax Bicycle Chain Lube

This is a different variation on the dry lubricant chain oil. Wax goes on like a liquid and then dries up immediately on the bicycle chain. It is also less messy than the main dry bicycle chain oil.

Wax Bicycle Chain Lube

The major difference is that it needs re-application from time to time although this depends on the condition you ride in and how much you ride. The wax variant is also designed to fit most conditions.

Points To Note When Applying Bicycle Chain Oils

  • Ensure you clean your chain properly before applying the chain oil.
  • Read the instructions on the bicycle chain oil manual. Different products come along with different instructions.
  • Ensure you apply your bicycle chain oil from time to time especially if you wash your bicycle often or it got beaten by the rain.

How Can You Prevent A Bicycle Chain From Rusting?

How Can You Prevent A Bicycle Chain From Rusting

By Keeping The Chain Of The Bicycle Clean And Dry

Keeping your bicycle’s chain clean and dry will also prevent it from rusting. This does not imply that you have to keep your bicycle stored away somewhere, but rather, it is important that you spend a few minutes of your time cleaning the bicycle after every ride.

These include wiping off any form of mud or didn’t that has stained the bicycle and drying the bicycle’s chain with a clean towel or clean washcloth. Cleaning your bicycle will go a long way at preventing its chain from rusting.

By Applying A Coat Of Protective Paint On The Bicycle’s Chain

You can prevent corrosion or rust by applying a coating of special protective paint. Paint coatings of special protective paint can act as a form of barrier that prevents the electrochemical charge from transferring to the corrosive solution and the metal underneath. Another known method of carrying out this process is to apply a powder coating to the clean metal surface.

By Applying A Coat Of Protective Paint On The Bicycle's Chain

Since moisture is unable to reach the metal, the rusting process does not start. Paint however washes off with time and the process might need to be repeated.

By Applying Oil

You can prevent a bicycle chain from rusting by applying oil or any specified lubricant. A bicycle chain is made out of metal. The oil prevents moisture on the metal from reacting with the air. In this manner, oxidation cannot occur and as a result of this, the metal cannot rust.

The use of lubrication acts as a boundary to shield and prolong its lifespan by protecting machinery surface. A bicycle chain that has been coated with oil will prevent moisture present on the bicycle from reacting with oxygen.

Oil prevents metal from getting rust.

Can You Spray Paint A Bicycle Chain To Stop It From Rusting?

Yes, you can. The best type of paint for a rusty metal is spray paint and bicycle chains are a product of metals.

It is also more decent to spray paint over rust rather than apply a liquid paint with a paintbrush over rusty metal. Apart from decency, spray paints also leave a more ideal finish unlike the liquid paint.

Can You Spray Paint A Bicycle Chain To Stop It From Rusting

Once your bicycle chain has been cleaned, dried and dulled,  spray the rust protector paint on the surface that has been properly prepared. Ensure you apply multiple thin layer coats to prevent paint drips and runs.

Evan Cooper

Evan Cooper

Hi, I’m Evan Cooper, the founder and an editor of this site, Doesitrust. I’m a chemical engineer and working in a rust-eliminating paint manufacturing company. Besides this profession, I’m a researcher and blogger.

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