I became pretty obsessed with my MTB maintenance. After every trip, I completely remove the chain and wash it. I am wondering if you can damage the missing (and weakest) link of the bike by doing that this often. Thanks.

  • 2
    Invest in a "chain washer". A lot faster/cleaner and virtually no chance of somehow compromising the chain. May 15, 2015 at 22:42
  • 1
    Some links are not designed to be opened and re-used. Make sure you don't have one of these. On the other hand there are instances that would recommend you NOT to wash a chain as it removes the grease inside the links and accelerates wear. A chain is best brushed, then rubbed with an oiled cloth.
    – Carel
    May 16, 2015 at 15:31
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    Assuming you are appropriately using an oil based lubricant. May 16, 2015 at 15:46
  • I do have a chain washer, but now that I own a chain that mandates to use the missing link only, to close it, I thought that it would be much easier to remove and wash it completely off the bike. I never considered the potential issue of removing the grease inside the link though. Sheldon Brown even suggests to BOIL the chain to clean it!
    – Dakatine
    May 16, 2015 at 17:53

2 Answers 2


I've been using the same missing link on a KMC x10sl for 3 years. I may have opened it around 40-50 times. No problem. Note that I use the proper tool to open it (KMC Missing Link Chain Pliers):

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  • I marked this as the accepted answer being it based on actual experience.
    – Dakatine
    May 16, 2015 at 17:51


Most sorts of reusable link generally have a "snap in" position that the link pops into when you pull on the chain. Between normal chain tension and design, the link should stay in that position. However, with repeated use, you can wear the portion of the link that is tight enough to keep the link in the running/together position. This means the link may become easier to get off, but will also be susceptible to coming uncoupled when the chain has less tension on it.

Your individual mileage on a quick link may vary, but generally they are much less expensive than a whole new chain and the reduced cost (to you) by keeping your drivetrain clean will likely be worth it.

  • 1
    I did just notice that the missing link quickly became actually easier to reset on. But, I can hardly imagine that the tension can ever become that low so that it would fall apart, there's always the rear derailleur pulling back the chain and keeping it tight after all.
    – Dakatine
    May 16, 2015 at 9:18
  • 1
    Depends on your riding style. Chain slap is enough of a thing that manufacturers are now building chainstay protectors into the frame. May 18, 2015 at 15:41

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