Easy: How To Remove Stuck Bicycle Pedals

How To Remove Stuck Bicycle Pedals

If you are a bike enthusiast and regularly use your bicycle for work, leisure, exercise, or just as a hobby, then there are high chances that you might find yourself with the problem of stuck bicycle pedals.

Here’s how you can remove your stuck bicycle pedals:

  • First, examine the bike’s stability.
  • Next, use penetrating oil.
  • Move the pedals in the right direction.
  • Now make sure the pedals are properly aligned.
  • Push the spindle down to release the pedals.
  • Lightly tap the wrench if the pedals stay immovable.
  • Keep turning the spindle until free.

For a biker, a stuck pedal means a stuck bike. And a stuck bike means a stuck journey — you obviously will not carry your bike around on your shoulder everywhere!

But that is no reason to start panicking. You can always safely and with ease remove stuck bike pedals and have them re-fitted.

This step-by-step method provides you with all the help you need.

Why Do Bike Pedals Get Stuck?

There might be several factors leading to this:

  • Clogged mud and water jamming the pedals.
  • Rusty pedals.
  • Improperly fit pedals.
  • Not regularly maintained.
  • Wear and tear with age.

Natural Elements

One of the most prominent reasons for pedals to get jammed is the influence of natural elements like water and mud. 

For instance, if you live in an area where it rains a lot or there is always water around, then you might accumulate a lot of mud during your trips.

If not cleaned regularly, this gathers in the gaps between the pedal spaces and, after a while, forces the pedals to get stuck due to mud clogging.

It might also be that you venture out on mountainous trips or do a lot of off-road biking. This can lead to a lot of dust accumulating inside the pedals as well, which eventually leads to them getting jammed.

» This could also be something for you: Flat Pedals vs. Clipless Bicycle Pedals

Rust

Another reason for pedals being stuck can be excessive rusting.

It might be that you have not ridden your bicycle for a long time. Since the pedals were not in use, they accumulated rust.

Or maybe regularly riding your bike in wet regions has provided a significant onslaught of water on your pedals, resulting in its threads or joints accumulating rust.

Sub Par Fitting

Another important reason why your pedals might have gotten stuck is due to inefficient fitting.

Check when the last time you visited a bike mechanic was. Maybe the pedals that he or she fixed lacked finesse, and as a result, they got stuck.

Or if you did the fitting yourself, did you ensure proper alignment, or were you in a hurry at the time?

Maybe it’s time for you to get them fixed.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

One of the most common reasons to surface when talking about stuck bike pedals is definitely lack of maintenance.

It’s not just when talking about bicycle pedals; everything requires regular and proper maintenance. If one fails to perform this, then the consequences to be faced are only to be blamed on yourself.

If you haven’t cleaned your bike for a long time, it is quite certain that a lot of dirt and grime has accumulated over it. This might also have seeped into the empty regions of bike pedals.

» Read my blog post: Disc Brakes vs. Rim Brakes in Cycling

Regularly clean your bike with water and a proper cleaning liquid, and ensure all the parts are properly rinsed and free of dirt.

Also, ensure that you apply proper oil and lubrication to the chains, chainrings, and pedals. This will prevent rust from gathering as well as provide a comfortable and smooth ride.

Age

If your bicycle has been in use for a very long time, or you had a new bicycle frame but were still using your old bike pedals, then that was probably why your pedals got stuck.

Old equipment deteriorates over time, and this holds true for all parts and sizes: be it pedals, the frame, chains, tires, handlebars, or brakes.

Check if your pedals are crumbling due to age and if some parts got dislodged and stuck inside the spindle or on the pedal thread.

Is It Easy to Remove Stuck Bicycle Pedals?

It’s simple to learn how to unstick bike pedals. Only a few things, such as a standard penetrating oil and a regular house-hold hammer, are required. 

Additionally, you need to know which way to turn your pedal. With this information, you can avoid spending the entire day removing difficult pedals.

How Long Does It Take To Remove Stuck Bike Pedals?

You shouldn’t require much time to remove stuck bicycle pedals because it’s not difficult to do so (unless we’re talking about some specially stuck-up, extremely stubborn, ridiculously tough bike pedals!!) You may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to remove the stuck pedals completely.

The amount of time can, however, vary depending on your knowledge, experience, and available resources.

If this is your first time doing so, then you probably will be referring to a guide (much like yours truly’s) to identify the steps and track your progress accordingly accurately.

What Tools Do I Need to Remove a Bike Pedal?

Don’t overthink it. Just know that it’s enough to have some basic tools like:

  • 15mm spanner.
  • 8mm Allen (hex) key.
  • Double ended wrench

If you’re handling a children’s bike or a different bike type, you might want to have a variable set of spanners, for there might be parts with different sizes.

You can also opt to wear gloves in order to prevent your hands from getting dirty and avoid scratches.

Steps To Removing a Stuck Bicycle Pedal

Step 1: Examine the Bike’s Stability

Maintaining your bicycle’s general health is crucial. You must make sure that your bike is firmly upright at all times before attempting to remove a stuck pedal.

When working, a flimsily placed bike would be the worst because it would make focusing difficult. If you are performing some bicycle maintenance, this step is essential.

A bike repair stand is a great idea because it keeps your bike steady while you work on it. Place your bike on a stand or mounting bracket and slowly turn the crank arm. You’ll get a precise angle for easy access and leverage as a result.

But if you don’t, there are two excellent substitutes:

First is that you can lean your bike against a solid object: like a wall, for instance. Make sure the pedal you’re about to adjust is not directly facing the wall. But for this option, you’ll need a friend who can hold the bike and keep it steady.

Another suggestion is to flip the bike over. You must make sure that the handlebars of the bike effectively touch the ground for this technique. You must still ask a friend to hold the bike down for you if you intend to do this.

Step 2: Make Use of Some Penetrating Oil

Consider applying penetrating oil to your pedals. Make sure you are touching the components that are connected to the crank. 

How long must the oil be left to sit? The type of oil you’re using will determine this. For correct use, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions. 

It might be sufficient to let it sit for just ten minutes. For the best outcomes, you might need to let the oil soak overnight.

Next, it’s time to add heat after you’ve given the oil some time to soak. Although it might not be necessary, this step could give you an advantage over stuck bike pedals. 

How will the heat be applied? There are a few ways of going about this:

A blowdryer is a typical household item that could be useful. Just wait for a short time before applying pressure while holding it up to the pedals. 

How proficient are you with a match? If not, I do not suggest this choice. But in case you are confident about this, then try setting the pedal axle slightly on fire (warm it up).

Note: If you aren’t properly trained in the safety procedures and techniques involved, you should really refrain from using this heating method.

Generally, to speed up the process, it is advised to include a heat source in addition to the oil.

Step 3: Understand Which Way To Turn

It’s important to turn in the right direction. The right-hand thread is on the pedal’s right side. This thread can be tightened or loosened by turning it clockwise or counterclockwise.

The left pedal functions in the opposite manner. This pedal can be tightened or loosened by turning it either clockwise or counterclockwise. 

At first glance, this might seem a little perplexing, but the design is essential to prevent your pedals from becoming loose while you’re riding.

Step 4: Ensure Proper Pedal Alignment

The drive-side pedal should now be positioned at 3 o’clock. Additionally, position the non-drive section at 9 o’clock. Place a 15 mm pedal wrench next. For the pedal, a 15 mm open-end wrench is sufficient.

Step 5: Push the Spindle Down to Release

It’s time to push firmly so you can loosen the rod after finding the ideal angle for your pedal. 

In accordance with the thread on your bike, rotate the wrench. Just keep in mind the correct procedures covered in step 3, and you should be good to go.

Step 6: Deftly Tap The Wrench Handle

What if the pedals remain immovable? It is advised against exerting excessive force because you risk rounding off the nut. 

You definitely don’t need that additional complication, either. This brings us to our final piece of advice if you’re still unable to free your stuck bike pedals.

Use the hammer to tap the wrench’s bottom. For those who don’t have access to a pedal wrench and only use standard wrenches, this step is quite useful.

A pedal wrench has the advantage of providing you with the necessary leverage, which the standard type could not. 

Because of this, you can loosen the bike’s pedal a little bit easily by locking the wrench and giving it a light tap with the hammer.

Step 7: Continue Turning the Spindle Until Free

Repeat the previous step on the other side of the bike pedal after you’ve finished turning the spindle until the pedal is free.

» Read my blog post about: How Many Miles to Bike a Day?

Step 8: Bring Your Bike to a Professional Repair Shop

Although DIY (Do It Yourself) feels downright blissful and is easy on the pockets, there are times when the good old ‘you’ cannot seem to do it!

This is where ‘letting professionals handle’ the tasks comes into practice.

These individuals have received training to handle a variety of bicycle issues. You can’t go wrong by taking your bike into a shop to be examined. Most likely, the cost of this procedure won’t be very high. 

You can always speak with one of the experts to see if they have any suggestions for successfully removing your stuck bike pedals if you still want to attempt this project later on your own.

Conclusion

Bike pedals can become stuck for a variety of reasons. The pedals may have rusted due to natural occurrences; during assembly, the pedals might have been overtightened. 

Whatever the cause, there are solutions to make stuck bike pedals loose.

From now onwards, you’re well on your way to finishing this project of yours, along with the right tools, safety gear, knowledge, and a little bit of hard work. 

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