Can you use baby oil in bike brakes

Last update:

It’s not unusual to think of cheaper and more available options. Everyone loves cheap alternatives!

But if you find yourself in your garage, eyeing a bottle of baby oil, and wondering, “Can I use baby oil in my bike brakes?” 

Well, technically you can, but should you? So the real question is, “Should I use baby oil in my bike brakes?”

Let’s find out… 

Can I use baby oil in bike brakes? 

Technically, you can, but you should not.

In fact, using baby oil in your bike brakes is a big no-no. While baby oil might be great for soothing your baby’s skin, it’s not the right stuff for your bike brakes.

You should know that bike brakes require a special kind of oil that’s designed to withstand the heat and friction generated when you squeeze those brake levers. 

Baby oil just isn’t up to the task. It’s not formulated to handle the intense conditions that your brakes go through.

Brake fluid is a specially formulated liquid designed for its intended purpose. Its composition is engineered to withstand the extreme heat generated by brake discs and pads, preventing the breakdown of the oil and the introduction of air into the system. 

Also, brake fluid contains rust inhibitors and provides lubrication properties to ensure optimal brake performance. So, you can not simply swap it for baby oil.

Remember that when it comes to bike maintenance, safety should always be the top priority. So, leave the baby oil for your little one, and give your bike the proper care it deserves.

What oil can I use in bike brakes? 

When it comes to oil for your bike brakes, you’ll want to use a specific type called brake fluid. Yes, brake fluid is the recommended oil to use for your brakes. 

There are a few different types of brake fluid out there, like DOT (Department of Transportation) fluid and mineral oil. And the type you need depends on the kind of brakes you have on your bike.

For most bikes with hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll want to use DOT fluid. It’s the most common type and it packs some serious stopping power. Just make sure to check your bike’s manual or consult a bike expert to be sure which specific DOT rating you need.

On the other hand, if you have Shimano brakes, you’ll want to go with mineral oil. It’s their preferred fluid, and it does a great job of keeping those Shimano brakes in good shape.

Best oil for bike brakes

The best oil for your bike brakes is the oil your bike manufacturer recommends, and this often depends on the type of brakes you have.

If you have Shimano brakes, then it’s Shimano Brake Fluid based on mineral oil.

And for SRAM brakes, you need DOT 5.1 Hydraulic Brake Fluid

If you have Magura brakes, you’ll need their special brand of mineral oil called Royal Blood.

Magura Royal Blood Mineral Oil, 1 Liter

And Bontrager brakes use Finish Line Brake Fluid, also based on mineral oil.

When choosing brake fluid for your bike, always check that you have the right one because using the wrong oil may damage your brake and cause brake failure. 

Can I use cooking oils (olive oil or coconut oil) for bike brakes? 

I hate to burst your bubble, but using olive oil or coconut oil for bike brakes is a big “NO!”

Using cooking oil as a substitute for Shimano branded oil in a bicycle brake system is not recommended because cooking oils lack the stability and viscosity required for optimal performance across a wide temperature range. 

Many bike brake manufacturers have carefully formulated their own oil, ensuring it does not harm the internal seals, including both hard and soft seals. 

It’s important to note that using the wrong fluids in your brakes may lead to some serious damage. So, I only recommend that you use the correct fluid recommended by the manufacturer to avoid costly repairs, potential injuries, and damage to your bicycle.

When it comes to bike brakes, you need specialized brake fluid that’s made to withstand the heat and friction. Olive oil might be great for sautéing veggies or making a killer salad dressing, but it definitely won’t cut it for your brakes.

So, do yourself a favor and keep the cooking oils in the kitchen where they belong.

Always stick with the right stuff when biking, because safety first. Brake fluid designed for bikes, and they are not particularly expensive, so use those. That way, you’ll be able to stop on a dime and keep cruising with confidence.

Related Post: How long do road bike brake pads last?

Can I use Vaseline instead of bike grease? 

If you’re wondering if Vaseline can do the trick as a substitute for bike grease, the answer is no!

While Vaseline might seem like a convenient option, it’s not exactly the best choice when it comes to greasing up your bike.

And the reason is that Vaseline is more of a petroleum jelly, and it’s not specifically formulated to handle the demands of your bike’s moving parts. Bike grease, on the other hand, is designed to withstand higher temperatures, resist water, and provide long-lasting lubrication.

Using Vaseline as a substitute might work in a pinch, but it’s not going to give you the same performance and protection that bike grease does. It might not last as long, and you might find yourself needing to reapply it more frequently because it easily melts away.

When it comes to your bike’s gears, bearings, and other components, it’s best to stick with the real deal—bike grease. It’s specially formulated to keep things running smoothly and prevent wear and tear on your bike.

Brake grease serves two important purposes in a bike’s braking system: it reduces wear and tear on the components and prevents the brakes from making squealing or screeching noises. 

It’s important to use the appropriate lubricants because brakes tend to get very hot, even with moderate use, and Vaseline or ordinary grease will quickly melt away.

Keep in mind that taking good care of your bike with the right products will keep it in great shape and ensure you have many awesome rides ahead.

Don’t cut corners when it comes to maintenance—your bike will thank you for it.

Wrapping up

It’s not a good idea to use baby oil in your bike brakes. While baby oil might seem like a convenient alternative, it’s not designed for the demands of bike brakes.

Brake systems require specific lubricants that can withstand high temperatures, resist water, and provide long-lasting performance. Baby oil just doesn’t cut it in terms of those requirements.

To keep your bike brakes in great shape, stick to the recommended oils and lubricants specifically formulated for brakes. That way, you can ensure optimal performance, safety, and longevity.

Photo of author
BikeCrunch offers the best riding tips and guides to help you get the most out of your cycling adventures. We offer in-depth bike and accessory reviews, unbiased buying guides, how-to guides, and much more. Mountain biking, road biking, commuting, touring, and recreational cycling are some of the topics we cover.