Why Does My Bike Pedal Keep Falling Off?

It’s easy to take a bike for granted, but they really are complicated pieces of machinery that require proper care. Even if it’s something as simple as your bike pedal falling off, there are several potential causes to consider. 

The Pedal keeps falling off because people often forget that the left and right pedals have opposite thread directions and install the pedals improperly. Sometimes it is due to lack of lubrication or force applied when assembled or due to wear and tear or dirt getting in between the threads.

But what can you do about it, what do you need to fix it? Let’s figure it out together in this post!

Pedal or Crank Arm?

Either your pedal or your crank arm can be the root cause of your pedal falling off, but it’s important to distinguish between the two. Your pedal is just the bit of material that your foot goes on when you ride the bike. The metal that your pedal connects to is a different part – the crank arm. 

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When you install your pedal onto the crank arm, the threads interlock to hold the pedal in place. If you install them correctly, then the pedals will tighten rather than untighten when you ride. This helps prevent pedals from falling off under normal circumstances. Pedals start falling off when the threads aren’t working properly for one reason or another. 

Why is My Bike Pedal Falling Off?

There are a variety of factors that can cause your bike pedal to fall off. If it just won’t stay in place no matter what you do, the threads are probably damaged. When this is the case, you replace the bike pedal and potentially the crank arm. 

Threadlock won’t help due to the unique properties of bike pedal threads, and it’ll typically make the problem worse. 

However, there are more minor reasons for pedal malfunctions. If your pedals have one of these issues, then you can fix them with pedal lubricant and a hex wrench. When you act early enough, you can make up for issues like faulty installation and be back on your bike in no time.

Install Pedals Properly

One of the most common reasons for pedals falling off is that they are not installed properly. The Left and right pedals have opposite thread directions. As a result, a left pedal can only go on a left crank arm and vice versa. Make sure that you have the right pedal for each crank arm

During the installation, you should apply special pedal lubricant to minimize wear and tear and maximize operating efficiency. This will help prevent your bike pedal from falling off in the future, and you can also apply pedal grease to help with slipping issues in the present. With a good bit of grease, it’ll be easier to make the pedal settle properly and remain in place. 

Assembled Without Enough Force

The pedal nut needs to be tightened well for the pedal to stay in place. A loose pedal will fall off easily, and you’ll have to tighten it properly when you put it back on. This is easier to do if you have a good hex wrench or pedal wrench to use. Also, take note that you’ll need a particular type of torque wrench to tighten some unique bicycle pedals. 

Unlubricated Pedals 

If the assembler didn’t lubricate the pedals, it will expose them to greater wear and tear. Not to mention, unlubricated bike pedals are more likely to suffer from faulty installation and fall out. Using an improper lubricant can also be a source of problems, which is why you should use pedal lube.

Dirt Gets in the Threads 

Careless handling can result in dirty crank arm or pedal threads. Installing a pedal on dirty threads will cause a variety of problems, such as pedals that don’t sit properly. 

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Even if dirt doesn’t immediately cause the pedals to fall out, it will increase wear and tear. After long enough, the pedal and crank threads will suffer enough wear that you need to replace them. 

Wear and Tear on Crank or Pedal Threads

Every moving part on your bike suffers a bit of wear every time you ride. Of course, the threads of your pedal and crank arm are no exception. 

With heavy riding, you can wear down the threads over time until they no longer stay in place. This is especially true if there was some other problem, such as a lack of proper pedal maintenance. 

If you let dirt get into the pedal threads or if you didn’t lubricate them during assembly, this will result in faster pedal damage. Once the threads are worn out, you simply have to replace the pedals. That’s why you should take steps to keep your pedals in good shape and prevent them from falling out in the first place. 

How to Prevent Your Bike Pedal From Falling Off 

The best time to prevent your bike pedal from falling off is before it starts to become a problem. 

If you tighten it properly, grease it, and put the correct pedal on the correct crank arm, you shouldn’t have any problems. However, sometimes something goes wrong in assembly, and you don’t realize until farther down the line. 

Grease, Don’t Threadlock 

You might have dealt with loose bolts by using threadlock in other scenarios and found that it worked properly. However, doing this with a bike pedal can ruin the pedal and crank arm. If the threads are still working at all, threadlock will bind so badly that you’ll never be able to remove the pedal.

Instead of using threadlock, greasing the threads to help the self-tightening mechanism work is the way to go. If the threads are too far gone, though, lubrication won’t help and you’ll need new bike pedals. 

Sam Benkoczy

Hi, I'm Sam. I own and maintain 6 e-bikes, 15 regular bikes (road bikes, folding bikes, hybrid bikes, city bikes among others). I learned about bikes from my local bike mechanic as well as from bike maintenance courses. I love being out there in the saddle, and using my bike as a practical means of transportation. You can also find me on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/bikecommuterhero Say hi to me at sam@bikecommuterhero.com.

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