I recently (about 2 weeks ago) changed from regular road clipless pedals to SPD clipless pedals on my road bike.

I didn't have time to change them myself so I just asked one of the workers to put it on and I know for sure that he didn't apply any grease or oil for where the pedal is inserted and tightened.

Now (after 2 weeks of pedaling) my right hand pedal makes a creaking sound once I put my full weight on it, I don't even have to pedal, just putting my whole weight once the right hand pedal is at 6 o'clock will cause the sound (I specifically didn't touch the saddle to be sure it doesn't come from there).

I searched on youtube and looks like the simple solution is to take off the pedal, apply grease to the inserted end of the pedal and tighten it back.

My question is: Do I have to buy grease for it or can I use chain lube or WD-40 and if I have to buy grease, does it have to be a certain type of grease (I'm guessing motor vehicle grease is a no no)?


I loosened and retightened the chainring bolts and afterwards greased the pedals.

It wasn't hard at all for me to take out the right pedal with the wrench (where I presumed the clicking was) and it looks like that was the main problem. anyway, I took the time and greased everything anyway!

thanks for the help, guys!

  • 1
    You tighten the pedal. Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 13:50
  • I will definately try that but I heard that the pedals only tighten the more you actually pedal.. so, you're saying that this theory is incorrect?
    – user38723
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 13:58
  • 1
    Yes, that theory is incorrect. Not totally out in left field, but misses several important points. Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 14:07
  • 2
    @DanielRHicks : If the thread is 'dry' tightening without grease isn't the best solution.
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 15:33
  • In terms of thread lubricant, pretty much anything works. WD40 is not a very good choice because it contains very little actual lubricant, but most any other oil or grease (even lard) will suffice. Be wary of using a thread lock compound, unless the component manufacturers call for it and you use the precise variety specified. Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 22:07

2 Answers 2


Don't ride before servicing thos-e pedals. A poorly greased or loose pedal will ruin the thread of the crank or may even cause breakage of the pedal axle. A correctly tightened but non-greased pedal thread may cause the threads to fuse.

You should remove both pedals, clean the threads and the crank arms, apply grease and thread them back in. In case you own a torque wrench the tightening torque ranges normally from 35-40 Nm.

Remember that the right pedal unscrews counter-clockwise and for the left pedal it is clockwise.

Grease: chain lube isn't adequate because it contains a large proportion of volatile components. WD-40 is an absolute no-go, it isn't grease. White cycle grease is best this case, it is generally available in smaller portions. You should apply the grease to the threads of the pedal and screw them in by hand for the first turns. It should fit in easily without the use of a tool. Tighten and check again after a 10-15km ride.

  • Just to add that I had what I thought a creaking pedal but it appeared to be the inlay sole of a cycling shoe. The noise stopped when I put in a different sole.
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 18:49
  • Every bike shop should have the Park Tool grease, which should also be sufficient and is good to have in general. Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 19:02
  • Just to point out: Even WD-40 or chain lube (or even Vaseline or any other mineral oil) is much better than no lube/grease at all.
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 10:45

The shop mechanic may have judged there was already enough grease on the crank threads and more was not required. Only a small amount is sufficient. It will not hurt to check and apply a bit more though. What is more important is tightening the pedals to the correct torque. As mention in other answers loose steel pedals axles can destroy alloy crank arms threads.

As the creak is on the right you might find it’s not the pedal. Chainring bolts are common culprits.

  • It's good that you pointed out the chainring bolts, I just tried loosing them and then retightening them but it seems that the little creak still persists so once I'll get the grease, I'll check if the problem was actually in the pedal :)
    – user38723
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 16:23
  • 1
    Since you write about the chainring bolts, once you have the grease take them out again an grease them too. As well as the contact surfaces between rings and cranks.
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 7:30
  • @Carel I think I have a Shimano ultegra so I can't take out the crank without removing the whole crankset right?
    – user38723
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 7:19
  • @Maxim : You'll only need to take the whole crank unit out if you want to grease the axle. The chainring bolts can be accessed from the left side from under the downtube and the bottom bracket. You can even remove the rings by threading them over the right crank and not too large pedals. I do it normally that way. It's easier with the rear wheel removed or the chain on small-small (less chain tension)
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 6:45

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