No Tools Needed: How to Fix a Broken Bike Chain

How to fix a broken bike chain

One minute, you’re pedaling down the road without a care in the world, and the next… your bike chain is broken. You find yourself stranded and stranded, with what feels like a mile to the nearest bike shop.

Well, don’t worry—you can fix it on your own. That’s right! All you need is some time and patience and you can get your bike chain fixed in no time. In this article, I’m going to show you how to fix a broken bike chain without tools—so no need for wrenches or hammering away at stubborn link plates.

You may be wondering why it’s important to learn how to fix a broken bike chain in the first place… I don’t have to stress the importance of having a functioning bicycle chain when biking. Not only is it necessary for safety reasons, but it also keeps your bike in top shape so that you’ll get the most out of your ride every time. So let’s dive right into it!

What to Look for Before You Start Fixing

Fixing your own bike chain is both satisfying and economical, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Before you start, though, you need to make sure that the chain is indeed loose and not just broken. A broken chain will not stay together no matter how much pressure you apply.

To find out if your bike chain is loose or broken, there are a few things you should look for. First and foremost, check if the links are straight or twisted. If the links are twisted or folded over, then the chain has likely been broken for some time and needs replacing. Second, look for any visible signs of damage such as corrosion or rust, which can weaken a chain’s strength over time. Finally, take a look at where the two ends of the chain meet: if they are misaligned or not properly connected then it’s likely that your bike chain is just loose and can be fixed with only a few simple steps—plus you’ll get to feel awesome knowing that you fixed it yourself!

Step-by-Step Instructions on Fixing a Broken Bike Chain

Ah, the dreaded broken bike chain. The good news is that you don’t need any fancy tools to fix it—you can do it with just a few everyday items. So, here are the steps on how to get your chain back in good shape and get you on your way:

  1. First, shift your bike to the smallest chainring at the front and the smallest sprocket at the back. This will help you get a better grip on the chain when detaching it.
  2. Using a flat-blade screwdriver, gently lift up the groove of each side plate of one link in two places. This will help to improve overall chain tension and maximize contact points.
  1. Once you have lifted both sides up, slide out the pin carefully—you can use a pair of needle nose pliers or tweezers for this—and connect back together with all worked links and pins intact.
  2. Finally, make sure you check from both the inner and outer sides of the chain that all plates are aligned properly and there is no kinking or gaps within each link before finally pushing in each master link pin securely by hand until it clicks into place!

How to Fix a Rusty Bike Chain

How to Fix a Rusty Bike Chain

The next step in fixing your loose bike chain is to get rid of any rust. When rust builds up on your bike chain, it can bind up the links and make them harder to move. Luckily, getting rid of rust is easy — you just need a few simple tools.

Wire brush

Using a wire brush on the links of your bike chain can help clean off rust and dirt. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush so as not to damage the metal, and work slowly and methodically. Then, use a rag or cloth to remove any metal shavings from the chain.


Another great way to remove rust from your bike chain is with WD-40 multi-use motorcycle product. Just spray it on your chain, let it sit for a couple minutes then wipe it off with a rag or cloth. The lubricant in the spray helps loosen up old rusty parts, making them easier to move.

Rust remover

If you have an especially rusty bike chain, you might have some luck using a rust remover product. All you need is an old toothbrush — apply some of the product onto the affected parts then scrub lightly with the brush. Then rinse off with warm water until all traces of the product are gone.

It might take some elbow grease but with these simple tools and techniques, you’ll be able to get rid of that pesky rust in no time!

How to Tighten a Loose Bike Chain

If you’ve ever heard a grinding noise coming from your bike chain, chances are it’s loose and needs to be tightened. Fixing a loose chain is a simple task that anyone can do—all you need is to have a few tools on hand.

So, how do you tighten your chain?

First, check the chain for any rust. If there’s visible rust, then it might be worthwhile to replace the entire chain before attempting to tighten it.

Once you’ve checked the rust, it’s time to get started on tightening the chain. To do this, you’ll need:

  • A bike repair stand (optional)
  • A set of Allen keys or a set of pliers
  • A rag or towel
  • Bike lubricant
Folding Allen Wrench Set
Folding Allen Wrench Set

Now that you have all the tools you need, it’s time to start tightening! Begin by cleaning off any dirt or debris from the bike chain by using your rag or towel. This will ensure that there are no further clogs in the chain later on. Next, use either the Allen keys or pliers to adjust the tensioning bolt located at the rear wheel hub until the chain rotates smoothly without resistance when spun by hand. Finally, apply some bike lubricant to reduce friction and increase the durability of your bike chain!

Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Your Bike Chain Long-Term

Fixing a loose bike chain doesn’t have to be a tricky process, and you don’t need any special tools. That being said, if you want to keep your chain in good condition for years to come, there are a few tips and tricks that are helpful to know.

Regular maintenance

Regularly inspecting your bike chain for worn-out links goes a long way in helping you avoid any major issues down the line. Similarly, replacing your chain every so often is recommended, as it helps reduce wear on other parts of the bike.

How to clean bike chain

To clean a bike chain, you can follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the necessary materials: a degreaser, a chain cleaning tool (such as a chain cleaning brush or chain cleaning device), a clean rag or cloth, and lubricant
  2. Shift your bike into the smallest chainring and smallest rear cog to relieve tension on the chain
  3. Apply the degreaser to the chain by spraying it directly or applying it to a cloth and rubbing it onto the chain
  4. Use the chain cleaning tool to scrub the chain thoroughly, making sure to reach all sides of the links
  5. Once the chain is clean, rinse it with water to remove the degreaser
  6. Dry the chain thoroughly using a clean rag or cloth
  7. Apply a lubricant specifically designed for bike chains, ensuring that each link is properly coated
  8. Wipe off any excess lubricant with a clean cloth
  9. Allow the lubricant to penetrate the chain for a few minutes before wiping off any additional excess
  10. Finally, shift through the gears to distribute the lubricant throughout the chain.

Remember to regularly clean and lubricate your bike chain to keep it operating smoothly and extend its lifespan.

By following these steps for regular maintenance on your bike’s chain, you’ll be able to enjoy riding for years to come without worrying about a broken or worn-out bike chain!

When You Need Professional Help with Your Bike Chain

You’ve tried all the DIY solutions to fix your bike chain, but the problem remains. When that’s the case, it’s probably time to take your bike to a professional for an inspection.

A qualified bicycle mechanic can quickly identify what exactly is wrong with your bike and how to fix it. They may suggest other components you’ll need for replacement and can give you helpful advice on how to maintain your bike chain in the future.

But there are a few things you should do before taking your bicycle in for repair:

  1. Visually inspect your chain — look out for any visible signs of damage or wear and tear.
  2. Clean the chain thoroughly — remove any dirt and debris that have accumulated over time.
  3. Check the tension — if it’s too loose, tighten it up slightly before taking it into the shop.

Getting help from a professional is essential when fixing a broken or slipping bike chain, so be sure to invest in quality maintenance and repairs!


In conclusion, with a few steps and no special tools, you can fix a broken bike chain with ease. Start by finding the broken link and removing it, then link the halves of the chain back together. Add some lubrication to the chain to reduce friction and noise, and then make sure to do regular bike chain maintenance. With the right care and attention, your bike chain can stay in good shape for years. So, go ahead and get out there and enjoy your ride!


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