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How to Stop Your Bike From Rusting

author image Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.
How to Stop Your Bike From Rusting
A rusted rear wheel of a bicycle. Photo Credit: ntdanai/iStock/Getty Images

Rust can be a death sentence for some types of metal. Rusting is the chemical breakdown of metal caused by its exposure to corrosive materials and oxygen. Sometimes the elements in rainwater, salt on the streets and other materials can cause rust to develop on exposed metal. Although it starts small, rust can grow quickly and eat away at the metal. It doesn't take long for rust to permanently damage the small metal components on your bike. However, if you notice rust early and treat it properly, you can effectively remove it and reduce your risk of the rust growing.

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Step 1

Remove existing rust by rubbing affected areas with a steel wool pad or sand paper. Rust will continue to spread once it develops on part of the metal, but eliminating the rust will temporarily spare your bike's metal from further corrosion.

Step 2

Apply touch-up paint or fingernail polish to the metal if the rust has occurred where paint has chipped away. The paint will prevent air exposure and, through that, the oxidation that leads to rust.

Step 3

Apply a protectant grease or WD-40 to exposed metal, such as gears, chains and brake cables. These surfaces are at a greater risk of rusting because they are exposed to the air, but greases can help control oxidation and reduce rust.

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