Required maintenance will vary depending on the application and environment, but no material or finish is entirely corrosion resistant. Following these steps, however, will increase performance and add additional life to your barbell.
Use a stiff brush to clean chalk and other residues from the knurling. A quality nylon/synthetic brush is recommended for most finishes, as cheap steel bristles can alter appearances and contribute to corrosion. A stainless steel brush is recommended for stainless and hard chrome bars.
If performed regularly, this can be done with a brush alone, but a quality oil based lubricant is suggested to help remove anything stubborn, such as heavy chalk, corrosion, etc. This also acts as a solid protectant. Let the oil soak on the knurling/shaft for a few minutes. Brush thoroughly and wipe clean with a towel.
If chalk is used frequently, it can over time get into the bushings and have an impact on sleeve spin. This is an easy fix and requires no disassembly.
Apply a few drops of lubricant to the bearings periodically, depending on your environment. This will help maintain a smooth, reliable spin, as well as help protect against the elements--especially in more humid environments. This requires no disassembly. Apply the same lubricant to the bearings from the inner sleeve side (standing the bar vertically) and spin the sleeve while the lubricant is applied. Repeat as necessary, again DO NOT use anything silicone based as it can dry out the existing lubricant and compromise smooth sleeve rotation.
If your bearing or bushing bar is being stored, we recommend using a horizontal rack (not vertical), to avoid chalk migrating into the bearings or bushings. Chalk inside bearings can over time lead to sleeves seizing up. Always try and avoid chalk getting inside the bearings.
American Barbell offers a super lube that acts as a cleaner and preservative as well as an excellent lubricator for both bearings and bushings.
WARNING - Visible rust on any bar shaft must be removed immediately. If rust forms and remains for long periods, it can create weak points beyond manufacturers control. Rust also will form under sealed or caked on chalk in the knurl areas. The knurl must also be thoroughly cleaned and lubricated regularly. Any bar can rust if not regularly maintained.
As with any precision tool, the better the care the better the performance.