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I have an old motorcycle with chromed parts. Some of them look brand new, but others have rust on them.

Is WD-40 good for preventing corrosion on chrome parts? Can it also be applied after removing rust? Or are there better ways/products?

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One time-honored method is to rub the chromed parts vigorously with alumin(i)um foil. That results in the transfer of alumin(i)um ions to the steel surface, further protecting the surface.

WD-40 is a lousy, horrible corrosion prevention agent. If you can get it to last for longer than about 24 hours, you're doing well. It does do some jobs very very well... but it's nearly worthless for preventing corrosion.

If you don't mind (or if you enjoy) handling your bike every couple-or-few months, and if you're not talking about exhaust parts, paste wax does a very nice job of corrosion prevention...

  • Won't I damage (scratch) the chrome surface with the aluminum foil? I fear that I'll make it look good for a week, but inadvertently increase the corrosiveness of the chrome part. – ponadto Aug 22 '14 at 12:27
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    Aluminum is far, far softer than chromium - it will definitely not scratch the chrome if the chrome's clean. If the chrome is dusty, and if the dust is harder than the chrome, then any rubbing with anything will rub the abrasive dust against the chrome and scratch it. Just clean the chrome well before rubbing with foil... and do not use stainless-steel foil. – TDHofstetter Aug 22 '14 at 12:42
  • How do aluminium ions protect the surface? – Vigrond Aug 19 '15 at 22:28
  • @vigrond: Aluminum is one of the metals that "passivates" by forming an extremely thin layer of oxide, which seals the surface and prevents further oxidation. The transferred aluminum ions build up their own tiny passivation layer over the steel... almost like flash plating. – TDHofstetter Sep 5 '15 at 22:55
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Chrome does not rust, its the steel under the chrome that rusts and flakes off the chrome. In the UK the number one product for chrome is Solvol Autosol. Does what is says on the tube.

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    You are actually wrong. Chrome DOES rust, just not with the orange you see with iron. Like several other metals, chromium oxidizes clear. And when it has a layer of the the chromium oxidation on it, it acts to protect the chrome from further deterioration. For more understanding of chrome, watch this episode of Modern Marvels entitled Chrome. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 22 '14 at 20:50
  • The only metal that rusts is iron. 'Rusting' of chrome is the miniscule porosity of the chrome allowing the underlying metal, ferrus, to permeate through. – Allan Osborne Aug 23 '14 at 7:30
  • Rusting is the term used for the oxidation of any metal (as I stated earlier). I guess you didn't watch the episode of Modern Marvels I suggested to really understand anything about chrome. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 23 '14 at 13:24
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Once you have removed rust, use vaseline (yep it's weird but it works :p) every now and then to protect the chrome parts.

When you notice the parts starting to get opaque use light abrasive paste on a cloth to make the chrome parts shining again.

  • Won't it attract tons of dust, though? – ponadto Aug 22 '14 at 13:21
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    Based on my experience on a mate's bike, it doesn't (I helped him in the operation so I can guarantee the method worked). However, we didn't put it on the rims and that may be a dangerous spot (if you also consider the chain grease). – Andrew P. Aug 22 '14 at 14:15
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What ive done is get a mixture of engine oil, new oil mind you, and diesel. Now get a suitable amount in a container, that your sure of will cover the entire chrome base youre looking to protect. Once youve got the mixture ready, pressure spray it onto the desired areas. It will attract dust and dirt. It will. But no water can destroy it. Or if you want extreme protection use only engine oil. Similarly, it will attract dust and grime. But whenever you clean it, it will shine like a mirror! Thats what i use to keep my chrome rims from getting anything on them.

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Don't use anything based on petroleum. Petroleum based chemicals turn acidic over time. Use this method to protect your chrome: 1) Polish with a good chrome polish. 2) Apply a top coat sealant or synthetic was. (video here)

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I got most of the rust off then painted the chrome with wax oil

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