How to Oil a Baitcasting Reel -

How to Oil a Baitcasting Reel: Everything That You Need to Know

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If you’re at a level where you fish using baitcasters, you know that the tools require maintenance. Baitcasters make fishing easy because they provide efficiency and accuracy. However, one of the maintenance practices that they need is oiling.

Failing to lubricate a fishing reel causes the internal gears to grind against each other. It can consequently lead to corrosion, seized reels, and a shorter lifespan of the equipment. The drag washers, sliding mechanisms, and bearings also require regular lubrication.

If you’ve never cleaned or oiled your baitcaster before, follow this guide on how to oil a baitcasting reel. You also should check the brand of the equipment as the maintenance procedures may slightly differ.

On a general level, there are three main components used in the maintenance of baitcasters. These are grease, oil, and rubbing alcohol.


Grease is not a commonly used component in the maintenance of baitcasters. However, its importance can’t be ignored. Its purpose is to maintain the cleanliness of the internal gear.

Every time you use reels in water, primarily saltwater, they’re exposed to the risk of corrosion and water damage. As the water dries from the reels, it leaves behind tiny minerals. These can accumulate and cause the gear to wear out gradually.

Other small particles can also find their way into the gear and bearings, leading to wear and tear. A coat of grease applied regularly will reduce this risk. If you're serious about protecting your reel and its components, grease it regularly.


Before you use any oil for your baitcaster reel, check to see that it’s designed for your type of baitcaster. Read the instructions on the baitcaster to find the exact type of oil required. You can also check with your manufacturer if they offer oil with their equipment.

Take note that you should avoid using WD-40 oil, olive oil, machine oil, and 3 in 1 oil. You should also be wary of oil that's too thick or too thin. If you can’t get oil from the manufacturer, only use the type of oil suitable for the majority of reel types.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol should only be used after mixing it with warm water. This prevents it from being too strong for your reel. During the application, you can utilize spray bottles to spray the alcohol on the reel.

You can also pour some on a piece of cloth and clean the reel. Doing so also helps to remove residue.

How to Oil a Baitcasting Reel

Application of the Lubricant

The first step to oiling your reel is to disassemble it and take out all the parts. Pull out the side plate by removing the screws and releasing the spool. This way you'll be able to access all the internal components.

After you’ve disassembled the parts, wipe them with a soft cloth. Soak it in alcohol and wipe the reel and every other part. You also have the option to spray the alcohol on the pieces instead and wipe it off with a clean cloth.

This step is to get rid of the residue that settles on the baitcaster.

Once the parts are clean, take the oil you prefer and put a small quantity on a Q-tip. Rub the tip on the brake, spool, lines, housing, and moveable parts of the reel. Dab a little grease on both sides of the reel and every slot.

Spread the gear by cranking the reel to have more area on which to spread the oil. The tension knob should also be wiped clean and oiled as well.

After cleaning and oiling the reel and all the parts, it’s time to reassemble them. Ensure everything is working as it should. Lastly, apply a little grease to the exterior to protect the finish and line.

You'll observe a significant difference if you compare the reel before and after oiling.

How to Pick the Best Lubricant

The topic of the best lubricant for baitcaster reel is a bit controversial among anglers. Every manufacturer recommends their type of oil for their brand of reels. At an individual level, everyone has the oil they consider to be the best.

As a guideline, when choosing a lubricant, consider the following factors.

1. Corrosion Resistance

The quality in your grease is especially crucial if you fish in saltwater areas. Saltwater can quickly destroy unprotected reel components.

2. Water Resistance

Lubricants should be water-resistant so that they're not washed off as you cast in water.

3. Viscosity

This applies especially for grease lubricants as they come in different viscosities. Grease with lighter viscosity is better because it quickly gets into hard-to-reach spots. Thicker grease is best used for gears and should be replaced less often.

4. Thermal Resistance

You want a lubricant that’ll stay liquefied even in temperatures below zero.

Final Thoughts

Proper maintenance of your baitcasting reel is crucial to keep it functioning in the right way. One of the routine things you must do is oil the gear and the other components of the reel. Ensure you choose the right lubricant to prevent damaging your equipment.

We hope this post has helped you learn how to oil a baitcasting reel using the right lubricant.

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