How To Make Your Spinning Reels Last Longer (Tips, Tools & Mistakes)


How often do you clean and oil your fishing reels?

Do you do it at all?

Do you even know what you’re supposed to do?

Today’s reels aren’t cheap and just like your car, lawnmower, or any other machine with moving parts, a little preventative maintenance goes a long way.

In this video, I’m going to show you the tools you need, what to do, and what NOT to do, as far as preventative reel maintenance goes.

Ready to dive in?

Click the play button below to watch the video.

P.S. Have any questions about reel maintenance? Let me know down in the comments!

Preventative Reel Maintenance [VIDEO]

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Now, before you dive into these preventative care tips, make sure you have the right tools.

Here’s a list of the tools I use:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • flathead screwdriver
  • reel lube/oil (any brand works)
  • Q-tips
  • Clenzoil
  • clean rag

Pre-step: What not to do…

Don’t take your reel all the way apart unless you are confident you can get everything back together.

I’ve made this mistake before and have not been able to fully reassemble the reel.

Step #1: As soon as you get off the water after every trip, lightly spray your reel down with freshwater

Two things to not do in this step:

  1. Don’t drown your reels in freshwater
  2. Don’t use a lot of pressure when spraying your reels

Both of the actions above can push salt deeper into your reel, so just lightly mist off your reel and then wipe it down with a rag.

I keep a freshwater spray bottle in my truck to do this as soon as I get off the water.

Step #2: Take the spool off your reel before you start

Make sure there’s no sand or debris on the spool and if there is, lightly wipe it down and remove it.

Another reason you want to take the spool off if so that you don’t get grease or chemicals on your line.

Step #3: Put a dab of reel oil on the shaft where the spool rests

After you do this, crank the handle a few times to make sure the oil is covering the shaft.

Pro-tip: with grease or oil, less is more.

Step #4: Put a dab of oil where the handle spins

After you do this, make sure to wipe off any excess oil so that it doesn’t get on your hands later.

Step #5: Put a dab of oil where the handle inserts into the body of the reel

I made a mistake in not doing this, and as you can see in the video the handle does not want to move now.

Step #6: Clean and lubricate the roller on your bail

This is one of the most important parts of the reel to keep clean since the line touches your reel under lots of tension here and any debris or lack of mobility in the roller can cause your line to break.

Step #7: Make sure all the screws on your reel are tight

As you use your reel over time, there’s a chance some of the screws could come loose and you don’t want your reel falling apart with a trophy fish on the line.

Step #8: Spray a rag with Clenzoil and wipe down the entire reel

This is will help reduce corrosion and extend the life of the reel.


best inshore fishing reels

Whether you fish once a month or several times per week, it’s important to take care of your reels so that they last longer and perform better on the water.

I fish every week, so I normally clean and lubricate my reels every other trip, but if you fish less you can do so once a month.

Also, remember that your reels can corrode from just sitting in the garage unused, so make sure to keep up with maintaining them even if you aren’t using them.

Have any questions about preventative maintenance for your fishing reels?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who needs to take better care of their reels, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Raul Fernandez
2 months ago

Tony, Do have a solution for taking out or smoothing out any nicks or wear and tear on the spool. I was going to use some type of wet emery cloth.

Richard Fiorentino
4 months ago

I remember hearing from Luke that he never does maintenance on his reels. I ALWAYS agree with Luke !

Glenn Mc Murrian
6 months ago

Hey Tony what is a good Cleaning Sulution to use for soaking the gears of a casting reel to help cut the grease and grime but still leave a clean no residue behind once it is dry.

John R Arnett
8 months ago

I DO think it is important to use certain brand lubricants.if you use a product (grease,oil etc) that is not compatible with the lubricants used from the factory it can have bad reactions.unless you have completely disassembled the reel and cleaned the original grease out and replaced it with your lubricant of choice just be careful!!! You guys are awesome salt strong rocks!!!!!

Son Ho
9 months ago

I’m deaf. I like to fishing.

Last edited 9 months ago by Son Ho
James Hagist
1 year ago

Tony, how about a reel that won’t lock anymore? Any tips on that or is time for the shop?

Troy Hill
1 year ago

Great video Tony. Needed to clean reels and remembered video. It’s the small things that y’all do that really help us out. Keep up the good work.

Anthony Scot McGallicher
1 year ago

About to oil up the reels and remembered this video from when it first came out. Thanks Tony good stuff!????

1 year ago

I am samim owner of
We are taking about fishing reels like best spinning reel under 100 dollar or 50 dollar and best saltwater spinning reels for the money.
This article was very informative,i like your blog

Richard Fiorentino
4 months ago
Reply to  samim

Try the Daiwa’s. You can get the Legalis as a member for $55.
1 year ago

I just watched another video you did regarding storing rods and reels where you mentioned the CorrsionX product. Here is my question, I have Shimano Stradic Ci4 and then claim only use their “linseed” oil. I am sure this is overkill right, any good oil will work? Secondly, for MAINTENANCE (not long term storage) should I use the Corrsion X instead of the Clenzoil? Also, you mention putting oil on the shaft, but I am under the impression that is the one area you would want to put a small amount of grease (not oil), although you mention oil?
Thanks for all you do.
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks Tony!


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