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I’m fairly new to mountain biking and I’ve recently removed a quick release wheel and I’m trying to reattach it. However if I tighten it too much it makes a squeak noise around the axle. Also I’ve noticed that I only have one spring and I’m sure I’ve bought it from the shop like that.

Anyway my question is should the quick release nut be tighten as much as physically possible? And also is it safe & normal for a bike to have only one spring (on the quick release)?

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Does the squeaky noise come from the axle or from the brakes? Is it unusually hard to rotate the wheel? – anatolyg Jul 30 '13 at 10:44
Normally there should be two springs, though the springs aren't all that important. They really just serve to "center" the skewer while installing/removing the wheel. But the QR should be quite tight -- it should require a bit of effort to close the lever. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 30 '13 at 11:07
Along with what @danial stated - squeaks are typcvially cause when when things are loose, not tight. Without tools, it is very unlikely you have the ability to overtightened the QR, (unless you are a gorrila). The rule of thumb is the QR should leave a dent in your palm when you tighten it. – mattnz Jul 31 '13 at 0:55

If you're missing a spring from your QR Skewer, you'll be fine. I only have one spring at the moment also and haven't had any issues.

As for tightening the nut before locking the QR down, it should be tight, but not too tight so that you don't bend the QR lever. You shouldn't have to break a sweat to close the lever.

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"break a sweat" is a very subjective measure of force. It should be tight enough that the QR lever just makes a mark in the palm of your hand. – Rider_X Oct 16 '13 at 6:12

The springs simply keep the quick release (QR) skewer centered in the wheel hub, making it easier to insert the hub (and wheel) into the frame dropouts. It has no safety function other than to facilitate seating the wheel correctly. If the wheel is not seated correctly in the drops when you tighten the QR then you run the risk of the wheel coming out during a ride. That said, this is true whether or not you still have the QR springs.

When tightening the QR, it should be tight enough that the QR lever leaves a mark in the palm of your hand.

Finally, if you are getting a squeaky metal noise your single QR spring may be on backwards. The narrow end should point toward the hub, the wide end toward the end of the QR skewer. If you have it backwards the wide end of the spring will get jammed into the frame and hub axle, potentially making a squeaking noise when tightening the QR.

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