You ask we answer. Here's the latest in our "Ask a Mechanic" series.
Q: I hear all these suggested methods for chain maintenance. Is there a proper way to maintain a chain or just clean and spray it down?
A: Good question. Yes, you will get lots of age-old advice on how to care for your chain. Not sure what you ride but whether you spin laps on a dirt bike or hit the trails on an ATV both use a similar setup and require proper chain maintenance.
You nailed the short answer. Keep it clean and spray with lubricant. But it's a little more involved than that. Hosing the chain down with soap and water doesn't cut it. You need to remove all the dirt and debris after a day's riding. We recommend a grunge brush which fits perfectly around the chain and does all the work for you. A spray degreaser or Simple Green helps a lot and if you spray the chain first and let the cleaner penetrate for a minute or two the chain cleans up in no time.
Let it fully dry before coating with lubrication. We don't recommend WD40 as a lubricant but some riders use WD40 to help push the moisture out once the cleaner has been washed off. Once the chain dries, we like Maxima Chain Wax. But any chain lube manufactured for dirt bikes and ATVs will do. Don't use old engine oil as a lubricant. That lasts about 30 seconds.