Fishing Reel Oil Substitute (Featuring Top 12 Items to Use!)

Fishing is more fun when your fishing reel is well functioning thus, maintenance is the key to prolonging its life. Now, if you run out of oil supply, we’ve gathered a list of fishing reel oil substitutes.

The top fishing reel oil substitutes include Lucas’s oil products, Break free Lubricant cleaner, and other several products that are somehow accessible even in your household. 

If you want to discover more about this topic, continue to read this article.

Top Fishing Reel Oil Substitute

1. Lucas Oil Product

Lucas Oil Product 

Normally Lucas oil product is a starting fluid for failing gasoline or diesel engines. It can be used in car engines, garden machinery, lawnmowers, and even outboard motors. While Lucas oil product for fish reels is also a good substitute for maintenance and fishing.

2. Break Free Lubricating Cleaner

Break Free Lubricating Cleaner

Break Free is a brand with a cleaner lubricant product that comes in a squeeze bottle for convenient application. It is frequently used by anglers on their fishing reels.

Additionally, this product is compatible with salt water immersion, has anti-wear additives, and holds a temperature of -65F to +475F without wearing out.

3. Super Lube Synthetic Oil

Super Lube Synthetic Oil

Super Lube 51004 Synthetic Oil contains suspended Syncolon (PTFE) particles. It is a high Viscosity and a waterproof component that is a must-have for anglers.

Its chemical content reduces friction, protects wearing, rusting, and build-up of dirt, thus, having a shiny and long-lasting reel.

4. 3 in 1 oil

A 3 in 1 one oil is a multipurpose lubricating product that cleanses, lubricates, and prevents rusts on household surfaces namely the doorknobs, bolts, hose, hinges, chains, machinery, and more.

Among the numerous purposes of this product, oiling the fishing reel is not on the list. But, due to its accessibility and cheap price, many anglers manage to use it as an option when their reel oils run out of stock.

Some 3 in 1 oil are not 100% synthetic, plus they are unsuitable in saltwater. But most anglers claimed it as somehow beneficial.

Having a purely synthetic oil is better because it handles extreme weather conditions without breaking down, and your fishing reel will last longer. If none, any 3 in 1 oil is best tested in cheaper reels to see if it works or not.

5. Cooking Oil

Cooking oil like olive oil makes the meal appetizing. But cooking oil is not manufactured for lubricating purposes especially in cold areas.

We all know that cooking oil solidifies those exposed to cold temperatures. Come to think of applying this in your fishing reel and see the result which is surely undesirable.

When in a hurry under a hot season of fishing, you may put a small amount and make sure to cleanse it afterward and cover a more suitable oil.

6. Gun Oil

Gun oil serves as an alternative but only for temporary function. Nearly all anglers in the U.S. have been gun owners. They tend to have gun oil as part of their maintenance. And it seems to be useful for fishing reels too.

These oils are not toxic however, they should not be applied to all parts of the fishing reel like the ball bearings because of their viscosity.

7. Lithium Grease

White lithium grease is another recommended alternative for lubricating reels. This comes from various product ingredients and containers.

Most fishermen advise using lithium grease in a tube container. Even if you already have an aerosol can type of product it is useless.

Although both are good for other purposes, they differ in chemical content. The lithium grease in aerosol contains acetone which is harmful to the reel’s material.

While lithium in tube containers do not have an acetone content.  It lubricates and protects the fishing reel from rusting when soaked in saltwater.

You can buy it in nearby hardware stores or auto shops.

8. Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is an additional replacement that is easily found in your household. But this kind of oil can be damaging when in contact with rubber and plastic parts of the fishing reel. It can be corrosive at times and gloves are needed when handling this.

It may not be a good choice, but you may use it momentarily.

9. Motor Oil

Motor oils are almost the same as reel oils since it’s synthetic. However, just like other alternatives, this is a temporary substitute.

If you have a thin or light motor oil available it’s likely acceptable. As an owner, you must think first before using such oil because it is too viscous that may gunk the fishing reel.

Before applying motor oil, better pick another less harmful option.

10. Synthetic Automotive Oil

Other anglers suggest changing fishing reel oils to synthetic automotive oils because they notice a more successful outcome.

But an oil with a TFE ingredient should be avoided when used in fishing reels because it may solidify or gum later on.

11. Vaseline

Vaseline’s petroleum jelly is known to be one of the most accessible alternatives for reel oils. We believe every household has this product for healthcare needs.

However, Vaseline is only suggested as temporary greasing material, and should not be used in daily fishing.

Vaseline is too thick and greasy which cannot fully penetrate the deep parts of the reel. Everyday application on the reel washer may also cause flexibility on the line fibers, hence dispersing them all quickly.

12. WD40


WD40 is a degreaser that is popular in protecting metals from corrosion, accumulated debris, and other messy things on almost all surfaces. It may look like a perfect material, but it is not for lubrication.

This WD40 may serve as annual maintenance for it will not damage the fishing reels. Using it daily will surely result in the dysfunction of its inner components.

As much as possible, find a legit alternative and only use this as a last resort.

Read more: Does WD-40 Attract Fish?

How to lubricate a fishing reel?

Lubricating a reel is simple, just follow this process.

Firstly, loosen the line spool to remove it. Grab a reel cleaning agent or a cotton swab and alcohol. Clean out the greased surface completely.

Next, once cleansed, put one to two drops of oil to the parts of the bearings, roller, handle, gears, and the rest. Do not overflow the surface or it will reduce the efficacy of the reel.

fishing reel oil substitute

You may remove the reel from the housing to have full coverage of lubrication. Secure that parts are exactly assembled as it is.

Remember to avoid mixing various oils for it causes harmful side effects to the fishing reel.

How often do we lubricate a fishing reel?

If you fish for a living, we bet you know the importance of oiling the fishing reels. Since most of them are dominantly made from a metallic material, it becomes tarnish when frequently exposed to seawater.

Oiling the reel varies depending on its habitual use. Everyday angling needs oiling at least once a month. But when you notice a rough flicking on the reel, add a small amount of oil to make it work.

Occasional fishing needs oiling maintenance every 5 to 7 months. And when you want to take a break from fishing, thoroughly clean and oil every inch of the reel before storing.


In the end, the top fishing reel oil substitutes are just temporary options for lubricating your equipment. It is still recommended to purchase legit products that will make your reels last.

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