Rustproofing a steel frame


Maximum Pace
Just bought my first steel frame (well, since the 80s anyway), and was wondering if I should bother rust-proofing or not?

Planning to keep it indoors/avoid rain etc, so thinking maybe not necessary, and don't really want to mess around with Framesaver and similar products.

Would WD-40 sprayed inside the frame does a similar job?

Also, anyone know if CRC 5-56 commonly available in Japan is the same or similar to WD-40?

Cheers in advance!


Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
Phil the 5-56 is similar to WD-40.

I'd think it could not hurt spraying it into your seat tubes, but I wonder if it is needed? Maybe more important is that the bike not sit out in the rain, and I think most steel frames have drains in them, on the underside of most of the tubes, make sure these small holes do not become clogged, that way any water that does get into the frame has a way out.



Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
Hi Phil - most new frames are treated (or should be) with a framesaver. If you spray WD or other 'water dispersing' solvent you are actually washing away the heavy oil preservative and creating more chance for rust. WD and CRC do not prvent rust at all - they simply disperse water and temporarily lubricate the surface. They are high solvent formulations. Also - most higher quality frames are constructed with chrome-moly alloys which are naturally more resistant to destructive rusting. In fact - the frame may surface rust and stay that way for years without really causing any structural damag. However - frame tubing is pretty thin and rust can be an issue over long period of time. If you spot signs of rust or say after a few years of riding the bike, then you might want to get it treated. Generally the frame is washed out with solvent and a framesaver material is added again. Most framebuilders should be able to do this. Bike shops that I've seen around Tokyo can barely change a flat tire, so wouldn't think they could anything more frame mechanical than that.

I used to use Steelguard, Cosmoline or Rustilio - all these are commercially available by various industrial retailers. The process is pretty simple. Flush out the frame with a high solvent wash. Then followed by a drying agent like acetone or ethanol. Then inject the preservative. Note - some of the solvents and preservatives may damage paint and decals - so you might be looking at a respray as well unless you are careful.


Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
Phil if your talking about the Ritchey, do nothing to it. Stow it out of the weather (most people do) and ride the bejeebus out of it. Modern frames are not going to rust away. That frame will be going strong long after we stop riding, unless it gets traumatized in crashes or such. What is the build going to be?


Maximum Pace
Many thanks for the advice guys. So, basically, do nothing now, and if rust develops a few years down the line get it treated and rustproofed. "Doing nothing" was my inclination anyway, so perfect... :)

What is the build going to be?
Yes, it's the Ritchey. I've built it up with mostly Ultegra 6600 and Durace shifters; wanted to get it ready fast and the easiest way was to strip the Guerciotti down. Eventually I'll probably downgrade a bit to used 105 or something, I expect it'll get bashed around a fair bit so don't need anything fancy.