How to Remove Stuck Bicycle Pedals? – Easy Guide

Black and white picture of a pedal

But guess what, I found the solution.

For you, I have detailed the precise process to free your bike pedals so that you will never again ask yourself the question: how to remove stuck bicycle pedals?

Let’s get started.

Understand bicycle pedals threads

This part is perhaps the most important, you will quickly understand why.

If you didn’t already know, bike pedals are not both equipped with classic screw threads. In fact, one of the two pedals has a right-hand thread (a “normal thread”) like all the other screws you will find on the bike while the second one has a left-hand thread.

Which is which? That’s easy.

  • If you are facing your right pedal, turning the wrench clockwise will tighten the pedal.
  • If you are facing your left pedal, turning the wrench counterclockwise will tighten the pedal

In other words, it doesn’t matter which pedal you face:

  • If you turn the wrench towards the front of the bike, you tighten the pedal
  • If you turn the wrench towards the back of the bike, you loosen the pedal

The reason to be sure about the direction of tightening is simple, if you make a mistake and use the wrench in the wrong direction, you risk tightening your pedal even more, damaging it or making it impossible to loosen.

Zoom on a bike pedal

Tools and products you need to remove stuck bike pedals

In order to do the job properly without damaging your bike and hurting yourself, you should use the following products:

  • A pair of gloves
  • An allen wrench or a pedal wrench (depending on your pedal model)
  • Penetrating oil
  • A rubber hammer
  • Cloth, strap or clamps

The precise use of each element of the list will be described in the next step-by-step method.

How to remove stuck bicycle pedals – Step by step:

To remove your stuck bike pedals, don’t hesitate to ask someone for help if you have people at home, if you are alone — no problem — follow these steps carefully:

Put your bike in a stable position

First, you want to work with a stable bike that won’t move around while you’re handling it. For this, there are several schools. Some people will want to use a stand to attach the bike to so they can work on it freely. This is clearly not my favorite way to go about it as I find it difficult to put force into the release if the bike is not touching the ground.

Depending on my mood, I can use two ways to stabilize the bike, let it rest on my shoulder while I work or turn it over and let it rest on the handlebars and saddle.

Be careful though if you choose to turn your bike over, think about the first part of this article and don’t get confused about the directions of rotation.

Lock the crank arms with the right position

This step is not mandatory but I really recommend it, it changed my life so much to apply it.

To make it simple, the idea is to align one of the crank arms with the chainstay and wrap the two elements with your fabric, then use some plastic clamps to hold them together and make sure that the crank arms won’t move when you force the pedals off.

To understand exactly how to do this step, here is a short 50s video that will help you see what it’s all about, take the time to watch it 🙂

Apply the penetrating oil

Before any attempt to force the stuck bike pedal, which will not work and will tire you more than anything else, make sure to apply penetrating oil on the threaded part of the pedal.

Oil used in this way makes it easier to loosen stuck screws and nuts, make sure to spray this useful stuff into the critical area of the pedal that is at the level of the screw thread.

Once you have sprayed the area between the stuck pedal and the crank arm, let it sit for about 10 minutes to work. It is better to be a little patient.

For even more effectiveness, read the instructions for the product you are using carefully. Depending on the brand, the time recommendations are not the same and I can only advise you to follow the manufacturer’s advice.

Put the wrench in place and try to loosen

Now is the funny part.

This is where it all comes into play, place your allen or pedal wrench correctly so that you have as much leverage as possible. Place your hand in position as high as possible on the handle of the tool and force as hard as possible by turning the wrench towards the front of the bike.

Be careful because depending on the unlocking, it may snap, so don’t hurt yourself. I promise you that hitting your knuckles on the chainring is not very pleasant.

If the pedal doesn’t seem to move, don’t panic, you have a rubber mallet for this case. It will help you solve the common problem of lack of leverage.

Use a rubber hammer if too tight

If despite all your efforts the stubborn pedal does not seem to move, allow yourself to pick up and use the rubber hammer. Hit the highest part of your wrench firmly with it to maximize the extra leverage. With a few good hits, the oil and your good will, it should be done.

Of course, if you feel that even with the hammer nothing is moving at all, do not insist. Don’t take the risk of damaging your whole bike by forcing it too much. This will be an opportunity for you to go to your local bike shop, turning to a professional shop always is a wise solution. They can even give you some advice to prevent this from happening again.

If you really want to do it yourself you will find guides that will tell you to heat your pedal to make it easier to remove. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a good idea.

Unscrew the pedal completely

If the pedal has released, continue to gently loosen it with your pedal or open-end wrench and remove it gently. Well done! Only the second one left to remove 😉

What’s next?

Now you are able to remove your stuck bicycle pedals. Make sure to do it safely and to prevent you bike from being damage. But keep in mind that the best thing to do is to avoid a stuck pedal situation by regularly maintaining your bike.

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