September 1st, 2012
Shimano Spinning Reel Maintenance Tutorialby Grant Pentiricci April 27, 2013
Shimano reels are one of the best brands on the market. However, if not maintained they will eventually begin to perform poorly. Anglers spend a lot of hard earned cash on purchasing a reel, and often it’s with the intent to keep that reel for a long time.
With proper maintenance and regular cleaning a Shimano reel should easily provide a decade, if not more of excellent performance. However, if not maintained properly with correct lubricants your reel will begin to under perform which will definitely result in a frustrated angler. The best way to avoid this is to invest the time and money in a good cleaning kit and spend the time maintaining your reel. Your reel will thank you and reward you by performing flawlessly when you hook a bucket.
It’s important to get a quality cleaning kit. Ardent reels makes a great kit that I use to clean my reels, however you can easily put one together yourself by acquiring the items needed yourself.
Here is a look at the Ardent Reel Clean Cleaning kit along with some suggestions on alternate items for your cleaning kit:
It’s important to note that:
YOU SHOULD USE THE SHIMANO OIL PROVIDED WITH YOUR REEL. ONLY THIS OIL. NOTHING ELSE. NOT SEWING MACHINE OIL, 3 IN 1 OIL, OLIVE OIL, CLIPPER OIL, WD-40 OR ANYTHING ELSE! JUST DON’T DO IT!!!
REMEMBER: Oil goes on bearings and grease goes on gears.
Do not use WD-40 to oil any of your reel parts. It may work well for many applications but it is not good for reels. WD-40 is a water displacement solution (degreaser) and will not work well in a fishing reel.
As there is a lot of information on the internet that is misleading, I feel like I have to reiterate this: Do not use any 3 in 1 oils, olive oil or any type of machine oil on your reels. Only use oil that is specifically designed for your reel. Some oils are too thick and will attract grime to it as well as slow down your reel, reducing performance. Other oils are too thin and will splatter into other moving parts of the reel creating a mess and reducing performance. Use only the oil provided in your Shimano box when you purchased it. If you didn’t receive oil in your reel box, purchase the correct oil for lubricating fishing reels.
ONE drop is enough. Do not put more than one drop as the extra oil will get on the other parts of the reel. The video below details more specific cleaning procedures.
You will not need a lot of grease for regular reel maintenance. Use only reel grease that is designed for fishing reels. Grease only the worm gear and put only 1 drop on the gear. Follow the instructions in the video for specific details on how to do this.
I use only Ardent Reel Kleen cleaning solution to clean my reels. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol is the only other cleaning solution I would recommend on reels. Mix it with a little warm water so it’s not too strong and use a small spray bottle to apply it. It doesn’t leave a residue and works just fine. If using the alcohol mixture, apply to a cloth and wipe down the reel. If you spray it directly on the reel, spray it very sparingly as you don’t want the cleaning solution to seep into the reel’s internals. Do not use WD-40 or and other degreaser-type cleaners as they leave a film on the reel and may be harmful to the reel. Cleaners such as dish soap leave a residue also.
Your Reel’s Schematic – Because you never know! If you don’t have it you can find it here
Cloth towel – A clean cotton or terry cloth towel to set your reels on and another to clean the reel with
Workspace – Somewhere to work undisturbed, with good lighting
Q-tips – This is needed for light oiling and cleaning had to reach spots. Ardent makes small foam swabs that you can purchase for this if you wish as well
Reel cleaner – Ardent Reel Kleen Cleaner works well and it comes in a nifty spray bottle. Isopropyl alcohol mixed with a little water is the only other thing I’ve used. Any reel cleaner specifically designed for reels is acceptable
Soft Bristled tooth brush – For brushing away dirt and grime
Reel Oil – Use only proper reel oil! Do not substitute reel oil with other oils intended for other uses
Reel Grease – Again, use only proper reel grease designed for fishing reels
Now that you’ve got a workspace set up and you have a cleaning kit ready to go you can proceed with performing maintenance on your reel. Follow these instructions on the steps for this:
When you are done cleaning your reel, it’s important to ensure you back off the drag, and place the reel in a reel case or a neoprene pouch for storage. Alternatively you can wrap your reel in a clean rag or even a clean sock will protect it just fine. Store your reel in a room temperature area where it will not be subjected to extreme temperatures and out of direct sunlight.
Voila! your Shimano reel is clean and lubricated. It will be ready for your next fishing trip.
About AuthorMore info about author
Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general and an avid multispecies angler. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud pro staff member of State Apparel, Power-Pole and Gambler Lures. Grant is a member of B.A.S.S, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.More by Grant Pentiricci