How To Oil A Fishing Reel: How-To Guide & Our Top 3 Picks

by Thavius | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
How To Oil A Fishing Reel: How-To Guide & Our Top 3 Picks

If you love fishing, you will regularly take care of your fishing gear. Without any doubt, a fishing reel is an important part of your gear and will determine your chances of success. Regardless of what type of fishing reel you have, it’s important that you learn how to oil it. Therefore, all anglers will agree that this part of your gear needs to be maintained regularly.

Gear maintenance is crucial if you want your fishing reels to function optimally for long periods. Fishing reels are regularly exposed to contact with saltwater, affecting their functionality.

Lubrication is an essential aspect of maintaining fishing reels. It ensures that all the moving parts can move smoothly and prevents wear and tear damage. To properly oil the fishing reel, you would need to take it apart. These operations may seem like a lot of work, but they actually aren’t.

This piece will inform you about the best fishing reel oils, including all the essential information that you need to know about how to oil a fishing reel. Let’s begin!

Why Should You Oil Your Fishing Reel?

Whether you’re a novice angler or a veteran, your fishing reel is crucial to your performance when out at sea. As a result, you need to oil the reel body to make sure that you can get the best performance from it. Yes, you should oil your fishing reel before and after you start using it.

Some rod reels are properly oiled by their manufacturers. However, some come with an insufficient amount of oil in them. Therefore, you need to do the needful to enjoy your fishing reel.

A typical fishing reel consists of many moving parts. The purpose of adding a few drops of oil is to reduce friction. It also reduces the corrosion caused by exposure to saltwater. High-quality reel oils are designed with anti-corrosion properties.

When oiling your fishing reel, you have to make sure to use the best materials. Invest in specialized products. While they may be more expensive, they will offer you more benefits without damaging your reel parts. Thoroughly research online to find out interesting information about different types of reel oil.

What Are The Steps To Oil An Entire Reel?

Different Components of a Spinning Reel

Spinning Reel

Anatomy of a baitcasting reel

Casting Reel

If you want to oil a fishing reel, you need to be prepared to follow a step-by-step procedure. First, you will have to disassemble the reel parts. Then, you would have to clean each of them with a clean cloth or paper towels and cleaning solvent. Adding reel oil to dirt or any type of residue in your spinning reel will do more harm.

Don’t use detergent or harsh chemical materials when cleaning your reel parts. You can search the internet for specialized reel products that will thoroughly clean your gear without further breaking it down. After you’re done cleaning the reel components, dry them in the sun. When they are fully dried, you can apply oil to them.

There are usually many parts of the spinning reel that require lubrication. And you need to pay attention to all of them. You also need to note that excess oil can be a big problem. Ensure you avoid overlubricating at all costs.

When oiling your fishing reel, the following parts should be lubricated:

  • Main shaft
  • Reel handle
  • Knobs
  • Line roller
  • Gears
  • Ball arm springs
  • Bearings
  • Anti-reverse bearing

Each reel is designed differently and may require something unique. But the following are general step-by-step procedures on how to oil a fishing reel:

  • Clean the outside of the reel
  • Disassemble the reel gently
  • Clean the parts with a bristle brush, paper towels, or any soft material. Make sure to add a suitable cleaning solvent
  • Apply grease to the gears
  • Oil all the bearings. Clean up any excess oil
  • Start assembling the reel and oiling all the other parts one after the other, including the spool shaft, and drag adjustment knob
  • Oil the bail connection points and shake the reel lightly to ensure that the oil spreads over the connections.
  • Assemble the reel completely

After disassembling these parts, you need to label them correctly to make it easier to assemble them.

For optimal convenience, some reel manufacturers design their products with maintenance pots. This feature is useful for beginners and anglers who don’t know much about disassembling a fishing reel.

Maintenance ports are easy to use. These ports are simply small openings where you can regularly add drops of reel oil. This way, you can perform regular maintenance on fishing reels without opening them up. However, you need to note that this process does not replace proper maintenance.

A maintenance port will only ensure that your reel body functions optimally and reduces the occurrence of malfunctions caused by low oil content.

Watch this video to learn how to disassemble a spinning reel:

How Often Should You Oil Your Fishing Reel?

Basic cleaning of the fishing reel can be done after every fishing trip to remove dirt. However, thorough cleaning should be done once a year.

Professional anglers may choose to do this thorough cleaning more than twice a year. Professionals use their fishing reels quite often. Therefore, they have to ensure they stay in good condition.

If you use multiple reels, make sure to oil each of them and keeps their internal components working perfectly. Do not wait for your reels to start to show signs of low oil content before you begin to look after them. The best idea is to set up a routine that suits your angling frequency and the fishing season.

What Are The Best Materials Used To Oil A Fishing Reel?

Many anglers are worried about the best oil to use to maintain their fishing reel. Well, there are several products on the internet and each of them offers something different. However, you have to find out which of them offers your reel the best benefits.

Stick to reel-safe products. They cost more, but they are designed to look after the reel body’s bail connection points. Certain manufacturers have density-specific, anti-corrosion, and other properties that will boost reel performance.

You also need to note that you won’t use the same oil for all the parts. There are different types of oil, and they all have different properties. As a result, you will have to determine which type of oil is best for different parts of the fishing reel.

For instance, grease is denser, will stay in place longer, and will reduce friction over time. Grease is also effective as a sealant that prevents water absorption through exposed areas. Oil is perfect for fast-moving parts that don’t undergo much stress.

Take your time to search for a high-quality lubricant. They may be more costly but they are a worthy purchase. These products usually have great thermal stability, and anti-corrosion properties and are water-resistant. Avoid silicon-based grease because it will freeze up to several parts of the fishing reel.

Our Top 3 Picks For The Best Fishing Reel Oil

If you’ve decided to oil your fishing reel, what kind of oil would you use? By now, you should already know that you can’t just apply any type of oil to your reel. The physical properties of any oil used mustn’t damage your reel. 

Today, there are several reel oil alternatives. So, which one of them should you settle for?

CLENZOIL Marine & Tackle Fishing Reel Oil Cleaner and Grease Kit

If you intend to keep your fishing reel in good condition, the best alternative is to maintain it. You would need a complete cleaning and lubricating kit to carry out proper maintenance. The ClenzOil Marine & Tackle Fishing Reel Oil is your best bet to give you all the necessary tools, equipment, and products. The complete kit is made up of 1 oz. needle oiler, microfiber towel, 2 oz. pump sprayer, swabs, and synthetic grease.

Clenzoil will penetrate deep into your fishing reel and lubricate its different parts while also preventing corrosion of the metal in the reel. Using the kit, you can apply grease easily without getting your hands soiled too much. The needle oiler is perfect for lubricating far-to-reach corners while the pump sprayer is ideal for cleaning all the reel parts. Also, the synthetic grease is made from a unique formula that keeps it from washing away.

  • Cleaning kit contains all the materials you need to maintain your fishing reel
  • Synthetic grease lubricates and maintains fishing reel parts.
  • Soft microfiber cloth for wiping the reel
  • Everyone may not be interested in purchasing a complete cleaning kit

Ardent Reel Butter Grease

If you own a small fishing reel and are looking for grease with a lesser viscosity than you will regularly find out there, you may opt for the Ardent Reel Grease. While this grease is not as thick as some other alternatives on the market, it will certainly protect your gear in freshwater conditions. This reel oil is as effective on small reels as any other product on the market.

What’s more? There is a saltwater variant of this particular grease. You can guess that this variant will contain some additives that will protect the metal bearings from the effect of saltwater splashes. You need to note that this grease is not as thick as some other products on the market. As a result, it doesn’t have the same level of stickiness. Therefore, there are fewer chances of making a mess when used. For small bearings, the Ardent Reel Butter Grease serves a protective function.

  • Easy to apply and causes a lesser mess
  • Thin and low-friction properties
  • It may be too light for certain applications

Penn Precision Reel Oil

This reel oil is one of the most popular alternatives that you will find out there. The Penn Precision Reel Oil is widely used by anglers and tech experts due to its favorable properties. While the Penn Precision Reel Oil is only made up of synthetic material, it’s best used where you need to minimize the amount of friction between reel parts and prevent the occurrence of rust and corrosion. It’s a top choice for many out there. Just a few drops will work a lot of magic for your gear and have it feeling as good as new.

For smaller reels, this product is especially effective. It will reduce friction and prevent the entry of water into the reel parts. What’s even better? The Penn Reel Oil is a great choice for ice anglers and won’t freeze up their equipment. But avoid applying too much of this oil. All you need is a thin film of protective oil for effective results.

  • There is a low viscosity to minimise friction
  • It offers optimal protection for bearings and gears
  • This product won’t get gummy or messy
  • The applicator tip is quite big

Can You Use Vegetable Oil To Clean A Spinning Reel?

Many people consider vegetable oil to be a low-budget option to high-grade mechanical oils. While this is true in some cases, it can lead to terrible results in others.

Vegetable oil is one of a long list of items that you should not use to clean your spinning reel. The truth is that vegetable oil is not a type of reel oil. As a result, it does not have the physical properties required to maintain your reels.

Vegetable oil has a high viscosity in cold temperatures. This means that it will thicken in cold weather. It’s a bad idea to clean your spinning reel with a product whose physical properties depend on the temperature of the surroundings. This type of oil will have an unreliable performance. It will also wash away relatively quickly and increase friction over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean and lube a spinning reel?

If you have some experience disassembling mechanical parts, cleaning and oiling a spinning reel is quite easy. All you have to do is disassemble, clean, and oil each part. Remove dirt and excess oil. Then, assemble your fishing gear.

What oil to use for fishing reels?

There are different types of oils on the internet. Each of them has different properties. You’ll have to search for the perfect type of reel oil for your gear to get the best results. Don’t be scared to invest a little more money in exchange for more quality.

How to grease a Penn spinning reel?

To grease a Penn spinning reel, you have to know how to loosen its internal components. Then, you disassemble them and clean them thoroughly. Next, use a compatible reel oil on each internal component.

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I've been a fisherman for over 35 years. From catching small bullheads with my grandfather at his pond to catching strippers on the backwaters of the Chattahoochee, I love to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water.