Activities Sports & Athletics How to Lubricate Your Bicycle 6 Key Moving Parts That Need Oil Share PINTEREST Email Print Sports & Athletics Bicycling Basics Gear Maintenance Baseball Basketball Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By David Fiedler David Fiedler is an experienced cyclist and author of "Ride Fit," a guide to cycling for fun and fitness. our editorial process David Fiedler Updated January 13, 2020 Keeping your bike parts properly cleaned and lubricated is crucial for good performance. Lubrication protects moving parts from excessive wear caused by friction, prevents them from "freezing up," and helps keep rust and corrosion at bay. Be careful, though. Over-lubricating can lead to poor performance and component damage (excess lubricant will attract dirt and other abrasive particles). As a general rule, excess lube should always be carefully wiped away before the bicycle is ridden. When lubricating your bike, really all you have to look for is the moving parts, where metal pieces move against one another. Use a light, specially-formulated bike lubricant and not any old junk that you find in your garage. Oil that is too thin will dissipate quickly and not hold; oil that is too thick will gum up and attract lots of dirt. In particular, focus on these spots: 01 of 06 The Chain John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images Your chain is your bike's primary moving part and the one that needs the most love and frequent lubrication. If you ride in dusty or muddy conditions, you should clean your chain regularly. 02 of 06 Derailleur Assemblies Your front derailleur and rear derailleur are what moves the chain between gears when you shift. These assemblies are made up of a number of small moving parts, including two small pulley wheels. You want to keep these clean and lubed so they don't bind up or become rigid. Shift the gears while you turn the pedals so you can see how the derailleurs operate, and then apply lubricant to any moving parts, including the pivot points of the assemblies. 03 of 06 Brake and Derailleur Cables These cables control the operation of your brakes and allow you to shift gears. If they get rusty or seize up from lack of lubrication, you will not be able to stop properly or change gears smoothly, if at all. And that's a major bummer. Check them frequently, especially if you ride in dusty or wet conditions, and re-lubricate as needed with a few drops of oil. 04 of 06 Brake and Shifter Levers Brake and shifter levers: Located on your handlebars, these levers are crucial for braking and changing gears. Apply a drop or two of oil to the moving points of the levers and the barrel adjusters to keep them functioning properly. Then wipe away any excess oil to keep from attracting dust. 05 of 06 Brake Assemblies On the brake assemblies (mounted on your frame at your front and back wheel) put a few drops of oil on any moving parts that you see. If you have trouble recognizing these pivot points, you can squeeze the brake levers, watching closely and see where they move. Anywhere these metal parts move against each other is a good place to lubricate. Be very careful not to get any oil on your brake pads. That will make it more difficult to stop quickly. 06 of 06 Pedals Put a few drops of oil on the part where your pedal meets the crank arm. Again, focus on getting the oil on the moving part that rotates around the spindle, which screws into the crank arm.