How to Remove Stuck Bike Pedals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out dealing with stuck bike pedals can be a frustrating and daunting task. Over time, bike pedals can become tightly threaded onto the crank arms due to factors like rust corrosion or simply being over-tightened.
However fear not In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to remove stuck bike pedals, using a combination of common household tools and a dash of patience.

Before you get started gather the following tools and materials.

Bike Stand or Stable Support

Bike Stand

This will help keep your bike steady while you work on it.

Adjustable Wrench

Bike Adjustable Wrench

For most pedals, a 15mm wrench is standard but you might need a pedal wrench for some models.

Pedal Removal Tool

Pedal Removal Tool:

A pedal removal tool can make the job easier by providing better leverage and grip.

Penetrating Oil

Penetrating Oil

A good quality penetrating oil will help loosen the pedal threads.

Rubber Mallet

Rubber Mallet

This will come in handy for stubborn pedals that require a little extra persuasion.

Clean Cloth


To wipe away excess oil and dirt.

Now let’s dive into the step-by-step process of removing those stubborn bike pedals


Before you attempt to remove the stuck pedals, make sure your bike is secure. Place it on a bike stand or stable support ensuring it won’t tip over during the process.

Also, make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area as penetrating oil can have a strong odor.

Identify the Right Tools

Depending on your pedal type and the condition it’s in, you might need either an adjustable wrench or a pedal removal tool. Most pedals have 15mm flats on the axle which can be removed with a standard wrench.

However, some pedals have a hex key or Allen wrench fitting on the inside of the crank arm, which requires a pedal removal tool with the appropriate hex key or Allen wrench size.

Apply Penetrating Oil

Now, it’s time to tackle that stuck pedal. Start by generously applying penetrating oil to the area where the pedal spindle meets the crank arm.

Let the oil sit for at least 15-20 minutes to work its magic. This will help loosen any rust or corrosion and make the removal process smoother.

Positioning the Wrench or Removal Tool

With the penetrating oil soaking in, position your wrench or pedal removal tool on the pedal’s flats or fitting. Ensure it’s properly seated and won’t slip off during the process.

If using a pedal removal too, make sure it’s securely engaged with the pedal’s internal fitting.

Loosen the Pedal

Now, it’s time to put some muscle into it. Turn the wrench or pedal removal tool counterclockwise to loosen the pedal.

Remember that the left pedal has reverse threads so you’ll need to turn it clockwise to loosen it. If the pedal is still stuck don’t force it you may end up damaging the threads or your tool. Instead, proceed to the next step.

Using a Rubber Mallet

For exceptionally stubborn pedals, a rubber mallet can be your secret weapon. Lightly tap the wrench or pedal removal tool in the direction you want the pedal to turn.

This tapping can help break loose any remaining corrosion or rust. Be patient and tap gently to avoid damaging the pedal or crank arm.

Apply More Penetrating Oil

If the pedal is still refusing to budge, apply more penetrating oil and let it sit for another 15-20 minutes.

Sometimes, a second application is all it takes to break the stubborn bond between the pedal and crank arm.

Use a Longer Lever

If you’re still struggling to remove the pedal, you can extend the length of your wrench or pedal removal tool by using a pipe or another sturdy object.

Slide the pipe over your tool to give yourself more leverage. This extra leverage can make it easier to turn the pedal and overcome resistance.

Steady Pressure

Apply steady and controlled pressure to the wrench or removal tool, ensuring it remains properly seated on the pedal flats or fitting.

If you’re using a longer lever, be cautious not to overexert yourself, as this can lead to injury.

Alternate Between Sides

If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn pedal, try alternating between the left and right pedals. Loosen one a few turns, then move to the other, and continue this back-and-forth process.

This can help distribute the force more evenly and prevent stripping or damaging the threads.

Remove the Pedal

Once you’ve successfully loosened the pedal, continue turning it counterclockwise until it’s completely off the crank arm.

Be sure to keep track of any washers or spacers that may be present as they will need to be reinstalled when you put the pedals back on.

Clean and Inspect

With the stock pedal finally removed, take a moment to clean the threads on the crank arm and the pedal spindle.

Use a clean cloth or rag to wipe away any excess oil dirt or rust. Inspect the threads for any damage or excessive wear. If you notice any issues, it may be a good idea to replace the pedal or crank arm before reinstallation.


To reinstall the pedals, apply a small amount of bike-specific grease to the pedal threads. This will help prevent future seizing and make it easier to remove them the next time.

Screw the pedals back onto the crank arms by hand, turning them clockwise for the right pedal and counterclockwise (lefty loosey) for the left pedal.

Use the appropriate wrench or pedal removal tool to snug them up securely. Remember not to over-tighten; just make them snug.

Final Check

After reinstalling both pedals, give your bike a final check. Ensure they are securely attached and there is no wobbling or play in the pedal bearings. If everything looks good, you’re ready to hit the road once again.


Dealing with stuck bike pedals may seem like a daunting task but with the right tools techniques and a bit of patience, it’s a manageable job for any cyclist.

Remember to prioritize safety throughout the process by securing your bike and using the appropriate tools and methods. Regular maintenance and the use of penetrating oil and grease can help prevent future pedal seizing.

So, the next time you find yourself facing a pair of stubborn pedals don’t fret—follow this step-by-step guide and pedal your way to success.


Q: Why are my bike pedals stuck?

Ans: Bike pedals can become stuck due to factors like rust, corrosion, over-tightening, or a lack of lubrication. Over time, moisture, dirt, and other contaminants can lead to the pedals seizing onto the crank arms.

Q: Can I use regular oil to loosen stuck pedals?

Ans: While regular oil may work to some extent, it’s recommended to use a high-quality penetrating oil specifically designed for loosening rusty or stuck parts. Products like WD-40 or PB Blaster are popular choices for this purpose.

Q: What should I do if the pedal wrench slips off during removal?

Ans: If your wrench slips off repeatedly, ensure it’s properly seated on the pedal flats or fitting. If the pedal is extremely stubborn, consider using a pedal removal tool or applying more penetrating oil. Always exercise caution to avoid injury.

Q: Do I need a pedal removal tool, or can I use a regular wrench?

Ans: In most cases, a 15mm wrench or pedal wrench is sufficient to remove bike pedals. However, some pedals have internal fittings that require a pedal removal tool with the appropriate hex key or Allen wrench size for a secure grip.

Q: How can I prevent my bike pedals from getting stuck in the future?

Ans: To prevent future pedal seizing, regularly apply bike-specific grease to the pedal threads before reinstallation. Additionally, store your bike in a dry place to minimize exposure to moisture, and keep it clean to reduce the accumulation of dirt and contaminants.

Q: Are the left pedals threaded differently than the right pedals?

Ans: Yes, the left pedal has reverse threads meaning you need to turn it clockwise to loosen it and counterclockwise to tighten it. The right pedals have standard threads.

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