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7 Tips to Remove Stuck Pedals from Your Bike

removing stuck pedals on a bike

It’s typically an easy task to remove bicycle pedals. Unfortunately, bike pedals do get stuck sometimes. This can be due to the elements of nature, such as water and mud. Maybe a lot of rust has built-up in the pedals. Or maybe they were just over-tightened when assembled. Whatever the case, stuck pedals really can be difficult to deal with. And we’re here to help.

Are you ready to remove those stuck pedals? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This article will present you with a handful of tips for successful removal of your bike pedals. Let’s keep those wheels moving and jump right into the action.

Tip #1: Prioritize Your Safety

First and foremost, it’s important to stay safe while repairing your bike. While this task may not present many dangerous situations, it’s still a good idea to consider your work environment.

If your bike pedals are stuck, there’s a good chance that you will have to supply some brute force for an effective removal. Understand your limits and don’t attempt to overstress yourself if the pedals aren’t budging. Avoid holding your breath while applying force. A good breathing technique involves breathing out while applying the force.

Be mindful of the chainring. It’s filled with sharp edges that present cutting hazards. Your best bet is to move your bicycle chain to the largest chainring before attempting maintenance. This will help prevent you from cutting yourself on the sharp edges of the chainring.

This may not be necessary, but if you are worried about the safety of your hands, just grab a pair of efficient work gloves. This will help prevent cuts and blisters. If you are worried about getting something in your eyes, be sure to throw on a pair of safety glasses or goggles.

Tip #2: Understand Left & Right Pedal Threads

Did you know that the threads on the left pedal are different than the threads on the right pedal? Well, it’s true, and it’s good to understand the differences before starting your project.

The right-side pedal has a right-hand thread. Remember the saying of “righty-tighty lefty-loosey”? This saying holds true for the right-side pedal. Turning this thread counterclockwise will loosen it, while turning it clockwise will tighten it.

The left-side pedal works in the opposite way. Turning this pedal clockwise will loosen it, while turning it counterclockwise will tighten it. This may seem a bit confusing at first, but this design is necessary to keep your pedals from becoming loose while riding.

Tip #3: Make Sure Your Bicycle Is Stable During Maintenance

If you’re going to be doing maintenance on your bike, you’ll want to make sure that it’s standing firm while you’re working on it. The last thing you want is a bike that keeps flopping around.

So how can you pull this off? Well… if you have a bicycle repair stand, then you’re in luck. This is the preferred method for making sure that your bike is stable while work is being done. If you don’t have a repair stand, don’t worry… there are other ways to keep your bike stable.

So you don’t have a repair stand, and don’t want to invest in one? No worries, just lean your bike against the wall. Make sure the pedal you’re working on is facing away from the wall. It’s recommended that you have a buddy hold the bike to keep it from wobbling around.

Don’t wanna lean the bike against the wall? Just turn it upside-down with the handlebars touching the floor/ground. Again, it’s recommended to have a friend hold the bike in place to assure that your work is uninterrupted by unnecessary movements.

Tip #4: Use Penetrating Oil & Apply Heat

Sometimes brute strength just isn’t enough. Fortunately, there are ways to help loosen your stuck pedals without calling on Superman to save the day.

Consider spraying your pedals with penetrating oil. Be sure that you’re hitting the parts that are attached to the crank. How long will you have to let the oil sit? This depends on the specific oil that you’re using. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use. You may be able to get away with letting it sit for only 10 minutes. But you may need to let the oil soak overnight for the best results possible.

After you’ve let the oil soak for a little while, it’s time to add some heat. This part may not be necessary, but it could help you gain that extra leverage against stuck bike pedals. How will you apply the heat? Well, you’ll have to be creative.

A common household item that could work well: a blowdryer. Just hold it up to the pedals for a little while before applying pressure. Are you any good with a torch? If not, then we don’t recommend this option. But if so, then try torching the pedal axle. You seriously shouldn’t use a torch if you aren’t properly trained in the safety and techniques involved.

Tip #5: Use the Proper Tools

This goes without saying, but what tools will you need? As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to have proper safety equipment, penetrating oil, and a heat source. However, these tools may not be necessary to accomplish your task.

There’s 1 tool that you will absolutely need in order to loosen your stuck bike pedals: a 15mm wrench. It’s recommended to use a pedal wrench, but you can accomplish the job with an open-end wrench as well. There’s one more important tool that you may need.

… And that important tool is a hammer. This will be explained in the next tip.

Tip #6: Consider Using a Hammer for More Leverage

So it’s come down to this… you’ve tried everything, but the stuck bike pedals just won’t budge. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a tool that could assist you in this moment of despair?

Have no fear, because the hammer is here. Just give your 15mm wrench a few good taps with the hammer. After applying penetrating oil and heat, this should do the trick. Once you’ve loosened the pedal, you can finish removing it with the wrench itself.

But what if the pedals still won’t budge? It’s recommended that you don’t try to force it too much, because you may round off the nut. And that’s another complication that you just don’t need. If you still can’t loosen your stuck bike pedals, this brings us to the final tip.

Tip #7: Take Your Bike to a Professional Shop

There really is a great feeling behind accomplishing a task by yourself. But there’s nothing wrong with swallowing pride and letting the professionals do their jobs when necessary.

These people have been trained to handle all sorts of bicycle problems. You can’t go wrong by swinging your bike by a shop to have them check it out. You probably won’t have to pay so much to have this procedure done. If you still want to give this project a shot on your own, you can always just talk to one of the professionals to see if they have any recommendations for the successful removal of your stuck bike pedals.

In Conclusion

There are many reasons as to why bicycle pedals can get stuck. Natural events may have caused the pedals to rust. The pedals may have been overtightened during the assembly. Whatever the reason, there are ways to make removing stuck bike pedals a lot easier.

With the right tools, safety equipment, knowledge, and a little bit of elbow grease, you’re well on your way to accomplishing this big project of yours. So make sure your bike is stable, grab a friend to help you out, and let’s get that bike back in tip-top shape.

And if you’re still unable to loosen those pedals? Don’t be afraid to take your bike to a shop to have the professionals check it out. Or just talk to one of the professionals to see if they have any extra tips for removing those stuck bike pedals. There’s no shame in that.

Are you ready to remove those stuck pedals from your bike? The time is now, and hopefully you’ve gained enough insight to make this dream a reality. It’s time to get that bike back into the shape you want it to be. Have fun with it, be careful, and as always, keep riding on.