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Shimano Baitcasting Reels Maintenance Tips

Shimano reels, when properly maintained, provide years of dependable high performance. Below are a few simple steps to help keep your Shimano reels in top condition, as well as preventative measures to avoid costly repairs.

List of tools that may be needed for service:

  • Tools: Flat Head Screwdriver, Small Philips Head Screwdriver, 10MM But Driver or Shimano Wrench
  • Lubricants: Shimano Bantam Oil (BNT1445), Shimano Drag Grease (A-DRA1/4)
  • Cleaners: Cotton Swabs, Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, Tooth Brush, Paper Towels or Rags
  • Schematics: All Shimano reels come with schematics, however, they can also be found here:


Tools and cleaning materials recommended to service reel. Some Shimano reels come with Bantam Oil. These simple tools are readily available at hardware stores.

For most reels, access spool assembly via Turnkey Dial. Spool access on Chonarch reels is via Escape Hatch- located on the rear lower left hand side of reel.

Remove spool assembly. Clean any visible dirt and debris from exterior of reel with cotton swabs or toothbrush and isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Dirt, debris, salt, or sand leads to wear and tear.

Clean the inside of pinion gear with a cotton swab for optimal freespool and casting performance.

Clean and oil VB Brake Collars to maintain quiet, efficient casting performance. Replaced Brake Collars if worn or excessively dirty.

Inspect and clean spool and assembly. Clean spool shaft and oil spool bearing or bushing if applicable. Note Do not grease spool shaft, as it will affect freespool adversely.

Clean and oil VBS Brake Case and spool bearing. A clean and oiled brake case will ensure quiet casting performance.

Lightly oil Super Free support bearing and drive shaft bearing.

Clean and oil levelwind system. Grease may also be used for high usage reels to further prevent wear and tear or corrosion.

Heavy Duty Maintenance: Recommended for reels that have had extensive saltwater exposure and/or those that have been submerged in saltwater.

Lightly rinse reels with freshwater using a spray bottle. Avoid excessive water from a high pressure source as this may push salt and/or debris inside the reel. Wipe down reel with a rag or towel after rinsing. This is also good practice after every fishing trip.

Use a small Phillips or flathead screwdriver to remove handle assembly.

Use a 10MM nutdriver or wrench to remove handle but. Thereafter remove star drag, spring, and washers.

Remove side plate screws. It is always a good idea to lay out the parts in order to aid in reassembly.

Remove side plate. Take care not to loose yoke springs as they may fall out.

Remove drive gear, drag washers, pinion gear, yoke, yoke springs.

Drive gear, drag spacer, drag washer and drag plate.

Clean drive gear and apply Shimano Drag Grease on the threads of the gear.

Clean drag washer of old grease. Apply a light coat of Shimano Drag Grease.

Clean the inside of the pinion gear for optimal freespool performance.

Reinstall drive gear, drag washer, yoke, and pinion. Take care not to damage gear threads. Not the proper orientation of yoke and pinion gear.

Reinstall yoke springs and roller clutch inner tube. Reinstall right side plate and side plate screws.

Reinstall star drag, washer, handle assembly. Tighten handle nut with 10MM nutdriver or wrench.

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