Why aren’t my bike pedals working? 5 ways to fix it! 

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Have you ever hopped on your bike, ready to pedal away, only to find that your bike pedals aren’t working as they should? 

It can be frustrating and dampen your cycling experience. But there are quick fixes to this if you can detect what the problem is.

In this article, we discuss the common reasons why your bike pedals may not be working and provide insights into troubleshooting and fixing these issues. 

6 Reasons why your bike pedals aren’t working

If your bike pedals are not working, there could be several reasons behind the issue. The most common pedal problems include:

  • Stuck or Binding Bearings 
  • Worn-out Bearings
  • Loose Pedal Threads
  • Damaged or Worn-out Pedal Bodies
  • Misaligned Cleats (for Clipless Pedals)
  • Lack of Maintenance

Stuck bearings

Over time, dirt, debris, or lack of lubrication can cause the pedal bearings to become stuck or bind. When this happens, it restricts the smooth rotation of the pedals, making it difficult to pedal effectively.

Bearings in bike pedals allow the spindle or axle of the pedal to rotate freely, ensuring a smooth pedaling motion. When the bearings get stuck or bind, it becomes difficult to pedal efficiently.

To fix this, you’ll need to clean the pedals thoroughly and apply lubrication to the bearings. This helps loosen things up and restore that smooth, effortless rotation you’re looking for. 

Regular maintenance, including keeping your pedals clean and well-lubricated, can prevent this problem and keep your pedals spinning smoothly.

Worn out bearings

Worn-out bearings are a common issue that can affect the performance of your bike pedals. 

As you pedal your bike, the bearings inside the pedal gradually experience wear and tear, especially if they are not regularly maintained. 

Over time, the smoothness and efficiency of the pedal rotation can be compromised, making it harder to pedal smoothly. You might notice roughness, stiffness, or even grinding sensations when pedaling. If your pedals have worn-out bearings, it’s best to have them replaced. 

Loose pedal threads

This refers to the situation when the threads that connect the pedals to the crank arms become loose, causing the pedals to wobble or even detach while riding. 

This issue commonly occurs due to regular use, vibrations, or incorrect installation. When the pedal threads are loose, it affects the stability and power transfer while pedaling, making your ride less efficient and potentially hazardous.

Bike pedals

To fix this problem, you’ll need to tighten the pedal threads properly using a pedal wrench or Allen key, depending on the type of pedals you have. Make sure to apply the correct amount of torque and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Regularly checking and tightening your pedal threads is important for a safe and enjoyable ride. To avoid a situation where your pedals fall off during a ride, give your pedals a quick check before hopping on your bike, and always keep those threads snug and secure!

Related Post: How long do bike pedals last?

Damaged or worn-out pedal bodies

Damaged or worn-out pedal bodies can cause bike pedals to not work properly. 

Pedal bodies refer to the outer part of the pedals that your feet make contact with. When they become damaged or worn out, it can affect both the performance and safety of your ride.

It’s normal for your pedals to wear out over time, especially with regular usage and if they frequently come in contact with rocks, curbs and other objects. 

When the pedal bodies are compromised, like if they have cracks, breaks, or excessive wear, it can lead to instability and potentially pedal failure. The structural integrity of the pedals are compromised, affecting their ability to securely attach to the crank arms and provide a stable platform for pedaling. 

This can result in wobbling, reduced power transfer, and even complete detachment of the pedals while riding.

If you notice any visible damage or signs of wear on your pedal bodies, it’s important to address the issue promptly. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to replace the entire pedal assembly.

Why does my pedal get stuck?

Pedals can get stuck due to several reasons. One common cause is the accumulation of dirt, debris, or grime in the pedal bearings, which prevents their smooth rotation. Lack of lubrication or using the wrong type of lubricant can also contribute to pedal sticking. 

Also, worn-out or damaged pedal bearings can create rough spots or uneven surfaces, causing the pedal to get stuck during rotation. It’s important to keep your pedals clean, properly lubricated, and regularly inspected to prevent or address issues that can lead to pedal sticking.

How to fix a bike pedal that won’t work

To fix a bike pedal that won’t work, you can try the following steps:

Clean the Pedals

Your bike pedals may be giving you problems because of accumulation of dirt and debris, in which case, a thorough cleaning is all it needs.

To clean your pedals, start by removing any dirt or debris from the surface using a soft brush or cloth. Then, use a mild detergent mixed with water to gently scrub the pedals. 

Pay special attention to the pedal body, bearings, and any crevices. Rinse with clean water and ensure they are completely dry before applying lubricant. Cleaning your pedals regularly will keep them looking sharp and functioning smoothly. 

Lubricate the Pedals

Bike pedals need lubrication to reduce friction, ensure smooth rotation, and prevent wear and tear on the pedal bearings and moving parts.

To lubricate your bike pedals, apply a few drops of bike lubricant to the pedal bearings and moving parts. Make sure to distribute the lubricant evenly, ensuring it reaches all the necessary areas. Wipe off any excess lubricant. 

Lubrication reduces friction, allowing your pedals to rotate smoothly and efficiently. It’s like giving them a little boost of happiness! Remember, a well-lubricated pedal means a smoother ride. So, show your pedals some love and keep them spinning with ease!

Tighten the Pedal Threads

If your pedals’ problem is caused by loose threads, you can remedy the situation by tightening the pedal threads.

To tighten the pedal threads, use a pedal wrench or Allen key (depending on the pedal type) to turn the pedal spindle clockwise until it is securely fastened to the crank arm. 

Avoid over-tightening, as it may cause damage. A snug fit is what you’re aiming for. With a confident twist, you’ll ensure your pedals stay firmly attached, providing stability and power transfer during your rides. 

Replace the Bearings

If the pedal bearings are worn out or damaged beyond repair, they may need to be replaced. 

To replace pedal bearings, start by removing the pedal from the crank arm using a pedal wrench or Allen key. 

Once the pedal is disassembled, carefully remove the old bearings and clean any debris. Place the new bearings in their designated spots, ensuring they fit snugly. Reassemble the pedal, making sure all components are aligned properly. 

Finally, tighten the pedal back onto the crank arm. Pedal bearing replacement may require some mechanical know-how, so don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a friendly bike mechanic if needed. With fresh bearings, your pedals will be ready for smooth and enjoyable rides!

Consult a bike mechanic

If the issue persists or if you are unsure about how to fix the problem, it’s best to seek assistance from a professional bike mechanic. They have the expertise and specialized tools to diagnose and repair more complex pedal issues.

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