How To Lose or Tighten Bike Pedals? With Step By Step Guide!

Riding a bike is a delightful experience unless it starts giving you troubles in the middle of the road!

As bike lovers, one of the most common problems we face is wobbly pedals. It can happen anytime, anywhere! But what if it happens in a deserted place and there is no one to help in miles?

Well, that’s why you need to learn some basic maintenance, such as how to tighten bike pedals to avoid these situations.

And if you don’t have any idea about how do you do that, we’ve got your back! By the time you finish reading this article, you will become an expert!

So, ride with us all the way to the end!

What Causes A Lose Pedal – Everything You Need To Know

When the crank arms “flops” every time you pedal, or if you can wobble them from side to side, you have to stiffen the mechanism before it’s too late. Otherwise, you may have to replace the whole thing!

But the question is why this problem occurs in the first place?

There are plenty of reasons that can cause your pedal to wobble. And it is important for you to identify the accurate origin of the issue if you want to go out on the road without any trouble.

So, here is the list of reasons that can cause a wobbly pedal. Take a look at this, and after that, you can take all the necessary steps to fix it properly.

  • Damaged Bike Pedal Crank

A damaged or loose bike pedal crank is one of the main reasons that can cause this problem.

So, when the stability of the crank is disrupted, the pedal becomes unstable. If you keep cycling with a loose pedal, you will end up damaging the mechanism even more, and they will come off pretty soon.

The bike pedal crank arm connects the pedal to the crank, and a chain is attached to it. Also, the crank threads can get easily damaged as they are made with soft aluminum.

Moreover, the pedals are made of heavy-duty steel, so this combination often becomes hazardous for each other.

If the threads are damaged, you cannot fix your wobbly pedal by tightening it. You have to take your bike to a shop and replace the chain at first.

  • Loose Bracket

The bottom bracket connects the crankset to the bicycle and helps it to rotate flawlessly. These brackets can get loose over time, or it can also happen when they are not securely locked in their place.

Moreover, they can get damaged in an accident!

As the battered locking thread won’t secure the bottom bracket, your pedal will be wobbling for sure! And when you are riding your bike, you will hear a rhythmic creaking sound. That’s how you know that the brackets are damaged.

  • Bent Chainring

The chainring affects your bike’s gearing, and it is attached to the crank. If you are a regular bike rider, the bolt that holds the chainring will get loose over time.

If you don’t fix this in the early stage, they will even truly fall out. Otherwise, you will hear a big crunch in the middle of the road, and your bike will stop working!

So, when your pedals start to wobble, check the chainring for loose bolts. If you find any, you can just tighten these bolts, and your job will be done.

  • Bike Pedal Hitting Frame

When you hear a “clank” sound while riding your bike, it might be happening because the pedal is hitting the frame. Sometimes, you will just hear the noise even if the pedals are not loose.

But if you examine closely, you will see that the pedal is not straight.

If it occurs, keep your bike in an upside-down position and rotate the pedals by your hand. In this way, you will figure out if the bike’s pedal is hitting the frame or not.

Well, if it’s happening because of any dent, you can just take it to the repair shop and fix the parts.

  • Loose Bearings

Loose bearings are another common problem a biker may face regularly. If the bearings are loose, several parts of your bike will start to tremble.

These bearings easily get loose over time; hence, they require frequent checking. If you don’t fix the troubles as soon as possible, the whole crankshaft or chainwheel will get damaged, including the pedals, of course.

Moreover, while tightening the bearings, you need to be very cautious. If you over-tighten them, you won’t be able to move the pedals at all.

For better safety, frequently check the bearings for dents. And if they look rough and metallic, you should replace them as soon as you can.

How to Inspect the Bike to Identify the Issues

In order to identify the issues, you need to inspect your bike properly. Here are some tricks that you can use to find out the actual complications.

  • The sound of your pedals will tell you everything. Therefore, while riding your bicycle, carefully listen to its sound once in a while. If you hear anything unusual, go for further inspection.
  • Keep checking your bike for any visible damage or dents.
  • You can put your bicycle in an upside-down position to figure out the problems.
  • Perform regular bike maintenance to uphold its top-notch condition.

How to Tighten Your Bike Pedals – Step by Step Instructions

Tightening your bike pedals is an easy task, to be honest, and anyone can do this if they try a little. But if you want to perform a proper maintenance procedure, you need to invest a little time in it.

So, here, I am going to tell you how to fix your bike pedal perfectly to get the best service from it. Just follow my in-detail instruction to get the most excellent results.

Things You’ll Need

  1. A correct size pedal wrench or hex wrench
  2. A small file
  3. Grease
  • Step One – Remove The Pedal

You might be wondering, why do I need to remove the pedal, and why can’t I just do the “righty tightly, lefty loosey” method that we learned from our dads? Well, let me explain.

Well, I told you, it’s going to be an elaborate method. So, now I will let you know how to clean the threads out of the crank arm and clean the pedal threads for a better experience. And for that reason, you need to remove the pedals first.

So, here is how you remove the pedals.

  1. At first, rotate the crank arm for easy access and leverage.
  2. Then, place the pedal wrench on the spindle flats. However, if you are using a hex wrench, you have to place it into the port on the inside of the crank arm.
  3. Now, push a little hard to loosen the spindle. And then go clockwise if you are removing the left side pedal and try counter-clockwise for the right one.
  4. Keep rotating the spindle until the pedal is free. And then repeat the same process for the other side.
  • Step Two – Cleaning the Threads of the Crank Arm

To complete this step, take a toothpick and clean up the inside threads of the crank arm. It will help you to clear any significant obstruction.

Sometimes, the threads are smashed down, so this step will certainly help to open them again.

Moreover, you have to pull out the broken threads as well. But be careful while doing this as there are metal slivers that can cut your fingers.

  • Step 3 – Pedal Threads Cleanup

Well, some people are going to say that this step is not that necessary. But we are going all the way, so why would we skip this one?

First of all, take a small file and go around in between the threads. Make sure you are using the good edge to do that.

You have to keep doing this until everything is smooth and clean. However, you need to be careful as you can damage the structure if you try to scrub harshly. If you do so, they won’t bite in!

  • Step Four – Put the Pedals On

When you are done with the cleaning, you need to install the pedals again. And this is how you do it.

  1. Firstly, look for an “R” and “L” stamped or printed on the pedal’s spindle. After that, place it on the correct side of the bike. If you can’t find the mark, check the pedal’s thread.
  2. Now, apply a generous amount of grease to the spindle threads.
  3. When you are done with the lubrication, insert each pedal straight into the side’s crank arm at a 90-degree angle. Don’t worry, it will easily thread into place, and you don’t have to struggle even a bit.
  4. After that, take your pedal wrench and place it on the spindle flats. And if you are using a hex wrench, place it into the ports on the inside of each crank arm.
  5. Now, attach the pedals by rotating clockwise if you are doing the right-sided one. And for the left pedal, go counterclockwise.
  • Final Step – Tighten the Pedal

Finally, the time has come to tighten the pedal. To make the pedals tight, turn them clockwise when you are doing the right pedals. And for the left one, follow the anti-clockwise motion.

While keep doing this, you will feel resistance at a point. When it happens, you need to stop.

You can also tighten the pedal according to the manufactured torque. Or you can try about ⅛ of a rotation to secure it properly.

And now you are done with the whole procedure! Once you are finished, get on your bike and go for a little ride around the corner.

If you feel the necessity of stiffening the pedals a bit more, you can follow this final step once again to fix any further issues.

Tips and Tricks to Follow During Installation and Removal of the Pedals

Here are some tips for you to follow for a hassle-free installation and removal process.

  • First of all, keep your bike on a flat surface and secure it well.
  • To protect your knuckles from grease, shift the chain to the largest chainring.
  • You can try different wrench positions to gain some mechanical advantage. Try holding the opposite crank arm as another point of leverage if you feel that the pedals are too tight to remove.
  • Always perform this task with a fresh mind. Otherwise, you will not be able to figure out how to go clockwise or anti-clockwise.

How to Fix Common Pedal Problems – Maintenance Tips

If you take care of your bicycle regularly, you will be able to minimize the problems to a great extent. Frequent maintenance can save you the hassle of going through drastic and complicated repair works.

Moreover, you can save both money and energy at the same time!

So, you can follow these tips if you want to take better care of your ride to ensure long-lasting service.

  • You should buy a top-quality lube and apply it lightly everywhere the cleat contacts with the pedals. If you skip the regular lubrication routine, it will start to show you the signs of wear pretty soon.
  • Always keep checking and adjusting the tension. When tension is not adjusted properly, it will start giving you trouble.
  • Don’t forget to lubricate the threads. Just remove the pedal and gently wipe the threads, then apply a light layer of grease to maintain its smooth condition for an excellent bike ride.
  • You should overhaul the bearing once every six months if you are using a mountain bike. Otherwise, you can do it once every year.

Final Verdict

It’s just not about the bikes; when you take care of things, they tend to last longer. So, if you learn some maintenance tricks to uphold the prime condition of your belongings, you will get a better value for the money at the end of the day.

Pedals are an essential part of the bike, and your riding experience depends on them. And now that you know how to tighten bike pedals, you can easily maintain the optimal condition of your ride. How wonderful is that?

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