Bike Maintenance Tips: Solving a Common Quick-Release Problem

Quick-release levers make removing and installing wheels tool-free and usually pretty straightforward. Usually…


Have you ever run into a situation where the wheel:

  • Seems jammed into the bike’s frame or fork?
  • Won’t slide into the frame or fork and dropouts easily?
  • Won’t “center” in the frame but rests “off-center” against one of the brake pads or the frame?


Chances are, the little springs on your quick release lever are not installed in the correct direction.   


First, what is the correct direction?

  • The springs should slide onto the quick release skewer, one against the lever and the other against the adjustable nut, with the narrow ends pointed inside and facing the hub.


Like this:


YES. Your life will be easy.


Point narrow end of spring towards the center.


Springs should butt up against the end of the axle.


NOT like this:


NO. Your life will be hard. Don’t face the wide end of the springs to the inside.


Incorrectly installed springs rest over the axle & interfere with the installation of the wheel into the bike.



  • When removing the wheel, don’t remove or disassemble the quick release. There’s usually no need to do that. At most, unscrew the adjusting nut to clear the quick release assembly from the frame and fork.    
  • If you MUST disassemble something, pay close attention to the order and direction that the parts are installed. As you remove parts, lay them out in the order and direction they were installed.


Written by Bike New York’s Director of Education, Rich Conroy.