How to Use WD-40 to Maintain Your Car

WD-40 is a well-known, versatile product that has been trusted for decades to tackle a variety of maintenance tasks. While it’s famous for its rust-preventing and lubricating properties, many car owners might not realize just how beneficial WD-40 can be for vehicle maintenance. In this article, we’ll explore the numerous ways you can use WD-40 to keep your car in top condition, ensuring it runs smoothly and looks great.

Introduction to WD-40

WD-40, short for “Water Displacement, 40th formula,” was created in 1953 by the Rocket Chemical Company. Initially designed to prevent rust and corrosion on missile components, WD-40 quickly found widespread use in homes and workshops. Its unique formula allows it to lubricate, protect, clean, and displace moisture, making it an invaluable tool for car maintenance.

Cleaning and Protecting Car Parts

WD-40 can help clean and protect various car parts from dirt, grease, and corrosion. Regular maintenance with WD-40 can extend the life of your car’s components and keep them functioning efficiently.

Engine Cleaning

The engine bay can accumulate a lot of dirt and grease over time. WD-40 can help clean the engine and keep it in good condition.

How to Clean the Engine

  1. Cool Down the Engine: Ensure the engine is cool before you start.
  2. Cover Sensitive Parts: Use plastic bags to cover the battery, air intake, and any other sensitive components.
  3. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on greasy and dirty areas of the engine.
  4. Scrub the Surface: Use a brush to scrub away the grime.
  5. Wipe Clean: Wipe the engine with a clean cloth to remove any remaining WD-40 and dirt.

Battery Terminals

Corrosion on battery terminals can prevent your car from starting. WD40 can clean and protect these terminals, ensuring a reliable connection.

How to Clean Battery Terminals

  1. Disconnect the Battery: Remove the battery cables, starting with the negative terminal.
  2. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on the battery terminals and cable ends.
  3. Scrub the Terminals: Use a wire brush to clean off any corrosion.
  4. Wipe Clean: Wipe the terminals with a clean cloth.
  5. Reconnect the Battery: Reattach the battery cables, starting with the positive terminal.

Spark Plugs

WD-40 can help remove moisture from spark plugs and ensure they function correctly.

How to Clean Spark Plugs

  1. Remove the Spark Plugs: Carefully remove the spark plugs from the engine.
  2. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on the spark plugs.
  3. Clean the Plugs: Use a brush to remove any dirt or residue.
  4. Dry and Reinstall: Dry the spark plugs thoroughly and reinstall them.

Lubricating Moving Parts

Proper lubrication is essential for the smooth operation of various car components. WD-40 can be used to lubricate these parts, reducing friction and wear.

Door Hinges

Squeaky car doors can be annoying and indicate that the hinges need lubrication.

How to Lubricate Door Hinges

  1. Open the Door: Fully open the car door.
  2. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on the door hinges.
  3. Move the Door: Open and close the door several times to distribute the lubricant.
  4. Wipe Excess: Use a clean cloth to wipe away any excess WD-40.

Window Tracks

Sticky windows can be difficult to operate. WD-40 can help lubricate the window tracks, ensuring smooth movement.

How to Lubricate Window Tracks

  1. Lower the Window: Lower the window completely.
  2. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 into the window tracks.
  3. Raise and Lower the Window: Operate the window several times to distribute the lubricant.
  4. Wipe Excess: Wipe away any excess WD-40 with a cloth.

Trunk Latch

A properly functioning trunk latch is crucial for secure storage.

How to Lubricate the Trunk Latch

  1. Open the Trunk: Open the trunk to access the latch.
  2. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on the trunk latch mechanism.
  3. Operate the Latch: Move the latch several times to distribute the lubricant.
  4. Wipe Excess: Use a clean cloth to remove any excess WD-40.

Protecting the Exterior

WD-40 can also help maintain your car’s exterior, protecting it from rust and enhancing its appearance.

Preventing Rust

Rust can damage your car’s body and compromise its structural integrity. WD-40 can help prevent rust from forming on exposed metal surfaces.

How to Prevent Rust

  1. Clean the Surface: Wash and dry the area to be treated.
  2. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on any exposed metal surfaces, such as the undercarriage, wheel wells, and edges of doors.
  3. Spread Evenly: Use a cloth to spread the WD-40 evenly.
  4. Reapply as Needed: Periodically reapply WD-40, especially after washing your car or driving in wet conditions.

Cleaning and Shining Chrome

Chrome accents on your car can lose their shine over time. WD-40 can help clean and polish chrome, restoring its luster.

How to Clean Chrome

  1. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 onto a clean cloth.
  2. Wipe the Chrome: Use the cloth to wipe down the chrome surfaces.
  3. Buff to Shine: Use a dry section of the cloth to buff the chrome to a shine.

Removing Tar and Bugs

Tar and bugs can stick to your car’s paint, making it look dirty and potentially causing damage.

How to Remove Tar and Bugs

  1. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 directly onto the tar or bug residue.
  2. Let it Sit: Allow the WD-40 to penetrate the residue for a few minutes.
  3. Wipe Away: Use a cloth to wipe away the tar or bugs.
  4. Wash the Area: Clean the area with soap and water to remove any remaining WD-40.

Maintaining Tires and Wheels

WD-40 can help keep your tires and wheels clean and protected.

Cleaning Wheels

Wheels can accumulate brake dust and grime. WD-40 can help clean and protect them.

How to Clean Wheels

  1. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on the wheels.
  2. Scrub the Wheels: Use a brush to scrub away brake dust and grime.
  3. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the wheels with water and dry them with a cloth.

Preventing Tire Cracks

Tire rubber can crack over time due to exposure to the elements. WD-40 can help keep the rubber conditioned and prevent cracks.

How to Condition Tires

  1. Clean the Tires: Wash and dry the tires.
  2. Apply WD-40: Spray WD-40 on a cloth and wipe it onto the tire surface.
  3. Allow to Absorb: Let the WD-40 absorb into the rubber for a few minutes.
  4. Wipe Excess: Wipe away any excess WD-40 with a clean cloth.

Additional Tips for Using WD-40

  • Test on a Small Area: Always test WD-40 on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on a larger surface to ensure it does not damage the material.
  • Use Sparingly: A little WD-40 goes a long way. Use it sparingly to avoid leaving a greasy residue.
  • Proper Ventilation: Use WD-40 in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Follow Safety Guidelines: Follow the safety guidelines on the WD-40 can to ensure safe and effective use.


WD-40 is an incredibly versatile product that can help you maintain your car, keeping it in excellent condition both mechanically and aesthetically. From cleaning engine parts and preventing rust to lubricating moving components and shining chrome, WD-40 proves to be an indispensable tool for car owners. By incorporating WD-40 into your regular car maintenance routine, you can extend the life of your vehicle and ensure it runs smoothly. Keep a can of WD-40 in your garage, and you’ll be prepared to tackle a wide range of car maintenance tasks with ease.





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