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Here’s How To Lubricate Bike Cables & The Lubricants to use

Lubricating brake cables are not necessarily necessary but there are too many benefits not to do so, bikes these days come with a plastic lining built in them but there are still various factors that wear them down or it just becomes harder to pull the cables due to rust caused from rain and high humidity weather

There are other things to consider here as well lubricating cables does not magically make them easier to pull and solve all your problems this is just a surety step, if you are not getting results from lubricating your cables you should try to change your cables

Lubricating new brake cables are good as well if you are replacing a part like a lever or housing lubricating the cables should help you as well generally if you get your things done by a mechanic they usually do it for you.

Which lubricants you should use on your cables :

There are certain types of lubricants that you should use on your cables, not all lubricants are good for brake cables and there are some that give the best performance under certain conditions where others might not here be a list of what to use on what and what might not be a good idea

Lubricants for rusted & dirty cables :

Generally, people jump to use WD40 for rust and consider that as a lubricant as well which is not the case WD40 is just a cleaning agent its a mix of alcohol products, and it’s NOT a lubricant it’s just a cleaning agent and you shouldn’t use it is a lubricant on any bike part because it evaporates completely in a very short amount of time

To lubricate rusted cables clean the cables with WD40 but apply a proper lubricant afterward there are many lubricants that you can use for example products based on Teflon and some chain lubes as well

  • dry chain lube
  • prolink
  •  boeshield T9
  • bike aid

Lubricants you should never use :

There are some lubricants that might sound appealing to you and you might be using them on other parts of your bike but not here your cables will get stuck there is a solution for that but you would end up with a messed up housing of your cables which would not be good

  • Grease
  • OIL
  • Wet chain Lube
  • any kind of wet or thick grease or oil

These things will cause you more problems than they should solve they will attract dirt and destroy your cables and your cable housing in case you had ever applied them on the cables you can use WD40 to wipe them clean but you would need new cable housings, unfortunately.

What kind of cables need lubing :

There are all kinds of cables that you can lube and if you do it in a proper way there are benefits of that whether you are using modern cables or old ones similarly old or new cables there are certain benefits to some extent of course as I said before as well lubricating cables doesn’t necessarily mean that you will somehow get the performance of new cables but to some extent, there is a noticeable improvement unless you mess up on the lubrication part or use the wrong lubricant on them

How to lubricate the cables properly :

There is a certain way to lubricate the cables whether they are your brake cables or gear cables there are certain things to keep in mind while you are lubricating your cables

  • Do not pour the lubricant simply into the cable housing
  • you just need to lubricate the cables only not the housing
  • you just need a minimum amount of lubrication
  • If you have already used grease or oil on your brake cables use a cleaning agent on them first
  • lubricant doesn’t need to be so much that you can feel it on your hands

Here’s how to lubricate your cables

picture shows exposed part of brake cable

move the housing and the cable should easily come off then pick up a rag pout some Teflon product or whatever you are using in little amounts and apply it on different exposed parts of the cable

for a cleaner and easier lubrication only move one part of the housing at a time and only lubricate that part then move on to the other one

The other most crucial thing here is if your bike for example has a closed housing and you dont see openings like this on your bike then you shouldn’t mess with undoing the cable from any part of the bike because there is a high chance that you will mess up your derailleur settings your pads settings so do not attempt that and just pay a visit to your nearby mechanic if there are exposed cables like this already on your bike then you can do it yourself

But keep in mind that you just need a minimum amount of liquid don’t overdo it.

How often you should lubricate your cables :

Now that you know how to lubricate your cables the next big question is how often you should lubricate your cables there are many factors that can count in this scenario but there is no limit to how often you had like to lubricate your cables you can lubricate them every day or once a week or once a year

In certain conditions or areas, especially muddy or rainy season or if your cables are old lubricating your cables in this kind of situation is good and it can improve your bike’s performance as well.

Conclusion :

All send and done do follow some main instructions

  • use dry lubricants
  • donot undo the cables
  • use minimum amount of lubricants
  • if you dont feel confident doing it by yourself get it done by a mechanic
  • if things dont improve even after lubrication then your cables might be tight or you might need a new housing