Hey guys. Today I’m going to tell you all about how to lubricate a lock cylinder and specifically how not to and I’m going to show you why. We’re going to start off with the five very common things that everybody and their brother is probably going to tell you to spray down your lock cylinder if you’re having trouble turning your key, if it’s starting to get a little sticky. And all five of these are great products and have their very specific uses, none of them are good however for putting down a lock.
Commonly, if you’ve got a motorcycle these are what you’re going to have in your garage. You’re going to have some chain lube, you’re going to have silicone spray, you’re going to have white lithium grease, you’re going to have WD40 and penetrating fluid. None of these, while they may lubricate, are going to keep that lock cylinder working well because every single one of these attracts dirt like a freaking magnet. You need your lock cylinder to work smoothly and stay clean, otherwise you risk damaging the lock and possibly breaking your key.
When you apply any of these into a lock invariably there’s going to be dirt and dust getting into it over time and they don’t let go. That stays in your lock cylinder and it just gunks it up even worse than before you started to clean it. This is the only product you want to use in your locks, and I’m not just talking motorcycle locks, I’m talking all lock cylinders. A dry lube, specifically something dirt and dust resistant. This particular brand comes in a spray can, you can also commonly find it in little squeeze bottles in graphite form. If you’re having trouble finding this type in your store you can go to a hobby store like Hobby Lobby, Joanne Fabrics, anything that has RC toys, they’re going to have little tiny tubes this size, this is Loctite, but this is the size they come in of graphite and that will work just as good.
But this type, obviously it’s easy to spray but the lubricant itself stays nice and dry and doesn’t hold onto the dirt and dust. What you want to do for locks like your ignition or your gas cap where the locks are integrated into the bike and maybe it’s getting a little tough, maybe you ran through a big rainstorm. It’s just been a while and it’s getting a little tough to turn. Put your lubricant directly into the lock, a little bit will do you. Work the key back and forth a little bit and you’re good to go. Do that periodically as normal maintenance.
Now, the other really common lock type you’re going to find are things that aren’t high security and these locks are not generally going to be part of the integral bike. Meaning the cylinders themselves are very easily removed, such as in saddlebags or trunks or side storage cases, things of that nature. And these are very common to start to get a little hard to turn, now if you have one that starts to get a stick and you’ve sprayed down the cylinder and it didn’t do any good stop right there because you need to do some quick disassembly. It’s not going to help to put anything down the lock itself because the problem is on the outside of the cylinder and for that, in this particular case, this happens to be my FJR. This is going to apply to virtually all bikes out there because all these locks operate the same way.
What we have to do is remove the cylinder from the saddlebag. In my case here I’ve got two little T10 safety torx bits to remove and this plate will come off the bottom of the lock cylinder, and be careful because it’s ready to then slide out. Now, let me show you where you need to clean. First of all, you have to clean the inside of this barrel. This is where anything you’ve sprayed that you weren’t supposed to be going to be collecting dirt and dust, all right? Now, what this is going to do is build up, not on this inside, but on the top. And what it’s going to do is prevent the lock cylinder from fully seating down. It’s going to build up right here underneath this lip and you can see why spraying from the top, spraying into the lock cylinder does absolutely nothing for this problem because it’s underneath this lip. But this build up will eventually push this towards the top and what that does is puts pressure on the bottom plate, because you’ve got this tongue that is swiveling to lock your bags in place and if there’s pressure pushing it’s pushing against this and it doesn’t matter how well lubricated your key is; this is dragging on your case itself and you can bend your key very easily if this isn’t cleared up.
This clearance needs to be precise so you absolutely need to keep this clean, if you see any kind of dirt and dust in here get it out and then never spray anything that’s going to collect dirt and dust in it again. Clean this out real quick, clean off the outside of this barrel. Now, the other place that snags us up is inside. This outside ring is stationary in the bike, the internal cylinder is what rotates, it’s hard to do it with on hand here, when you turn the key, all right?
Spraying down the lock cylinder does nothing to lubricate between these two parts so you need to take them apart, clean everything inside here and clean all the gunk off of here and then spray it with your dry lube. Once you get all three of these perfectly clean and sprayed with dry lube you can reassemble. Make sure to use Blue Loctite where appropriate for your bike and then you’ll have a nice smooth key action everywhere on your bike. And that’s it, as long as you don’t spray the wrong stuff on here, or get your bike horribly dirty you won’t have to do this terribly often at all.