Types of Reel Lubricants and Uses



By Maureen Albertson
Penn Parts Dept.
©Mystic Reel Parts

What lube and grease should I use?

There are so many options available out there for using on your fishing reels, many of which are close enough that it is a matter of angler preference as to which one to use. We will try to address some of the use points for the products that we currently carry. You can browse our available products here: https://www.mysticparts.com/PennParts/Lubes.aspx

What is best for cleaning off the old grease?

WD40, Penn Rod & Reel Cleaner, Corrosion X or similar products of this nature. A wire brush also helps with cleaning the metal parts.

When to grease, when to oil and what do I use?

Parts that require grease.
Gears, where only a light coating of the teeth is required to have the gears run smoothly. DO NOT pack the housing of the reel full of grease, contrary to popular thought, this does not make the reel smoother and this will cause other parts to malfunction. In some instances, as when using incorrect greases, it can solidify (avoid all lithium based greases for this reason).
Parts that require oil.
Other moving parts can have oil applied lightly, with some exceptions (see below). Reel X and Penn Oil are ideal for these situations. AME TSI 321 is also a candidate, while also being excellent for repacking ball bearings.

The collar type "clutch bearing" type of an anti-reverse part does NOT use grease (in spinning reels). Resist the urge to grease the inside under that center collar. The rollers inside are the anti-reverse brakes. With grease, they don't brake, especially when the weather is colder. An light viscosity oil is required instead, and very little of that.

DO NOT put any kind of lubricant on the anti-reverse pinch-finger dog and ratchet, as this will cause the dog to slip and tha anti-reverse to fail. This applies to both spinning and conventional style reels. The far right example is greased, it needs cleaning off to function properly.

NOTES: Cal's Universal Reel and Star Drag Grease comes in two types, by color. Tan is used for standard and larger reels. Purple is used for smaller freshwater sized reels and/or colder climates.

Drag washers...to lube or not to lube...that is the question.

Penn designed their HT100 drags to run dry, but they can be used (angler's option) with a VERY THIN coating (which is then wiped off) of drag grease.

Types of Drag Greases:

  • Shimano makes a drag lube - we don't carry it at this time.
  • Penn hasn't come up with an equivalent yet.
  • We do carry Cal's Universal Reel and Star Drag Grease, you can find it in the Lubes/Greases section of our online catalog in the PennParts Dept.
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