Repairing Worn Out Garden Hose Reels: DIY Solutions

Is your garden hose reel acting up? Maybe it’s leaking, the reel mechanism is jammed, or the hose keeps getting kinked. Don’t worry repairing worn-out garden hose reels is simpler than you might think! In this guide, I’ll walk you through DIY solutions to get your hose reel back in working order. 

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these tips and tricks will save you time, money, and frustration.


Understanding Garden Hose Reels

Types of Hose Reels

There are several types of hose reels available, each with its unique features and benefits. Here’s a quick overview:

Manual Hose ReelsRequire manual effort to reel the hose.Affordable, simple designLabor-intensive
Retractable Hose ReelsAutomatically retract the hose with a spring-loaded mechanism.Convenient, saves timeMore expensive, prone to spring issues
Wall-Mounted Hose ReelsMounted on the wall, can be manual or retractable.Saves space, easy accessInstallation required
Cart Hose ReelsMounted on a cart, easy to move around the garden.Portable, versatileBulky

Common Issues with Hose Reels

colorful hoses in the grass

Garden hose reels, like any outdoor tool, are prone to wear and tear. Some of the most common issues include:

  • Leaks in the hose or connections
  • Reel mechanism problems, such as jamming or difficulty retracting
  • Hose kinks and tangles

Understanding these issues is the first step towards fixing them. Let’s dive into the tools and materials you’ll need to get started.

When dealing with garden maintenance, it’s crucial to address issues promptly. For instance, if you need to repair a worn-out garden hose reel, you might also find it helpful to know how to fix a leaking garden hose connection for comprehensive solutions.

Essential Tools and Materials

Before you start repairing your hose reel, gather the following tools and materials:

Adjustable WrenchTightening or loosening nuts and bolts
ScrewdriversRemoving or securing screws
Lubricant (WD-40)Lubricating moving parts
Hose Repair KitFixing leaks and punctures
Replacement WashersSealing hose connections
Utility KnifeCutting hose sections
PliersHolding or bending parts
Teflon TapeSealing threaded connections

Having these tools on hand will make the repair process smoother and more efficient.

Identifying the Problem


Leaks are a common issue with garden hose reels. They can occur in the hose itself, at the connections, or within the reel mechanism. Here’s how to identify and fix them:

Reel Mechanism Issues

Problems with the reel mechanism can make it difficult to retract or extend the hose. Look out for these signs:

  • The hose doesn’t retract fully
  • The reel is hard to turn
  • Unusual noises during operation

Hose Kinks

Kinks in the hose can restrict water flow and cause frustration during use. They often result from improper storage or a poorly designed reel.

Garden irrigation systems require regular maintenance to function efficiently. While repairing a garden hose reel, you might encounter related issues, such as needing to solve sprinkler head leaks, ensuring a well-maintained and leak-free watering system.

Fixing Leaks

a red hose on a cart with a tree in the background

Using Hose Repair Kits

Hose repair kits are a quick and easy solution for fixing leaks. They typically include connectors, clamps, and replacement hose sections.

  1. Identify the Leak: Locate the exact spot where the hose is leaking.
  2. Cut the Hose: Use a utility knife to cut out the damaged section.
  3. Install Connectors: Attach the connectors from the kit to both ends of the cut hose.
  4. Secure Clamps: Tighten the clamps to ensure a leak-proof connection.

Replacing Washers

Old or damaged washers can cause leaks at the connections. Here’s how to replace them:

  1. Disconnect the Hose: Unscrew the hose from the faucet or reel.
  2. Remove the Old Washer: Use a flathead screwdriver to pry out the old washer.
  3. Insert New Washer: Place a new washer into the connector.
  4. Reconnect the Hose: Screw the hose back onto the faucet or reel.

Sealing Small Punctures

For small punctures, sealing them can be a quick fix. Here’s how:

  1. Clean the Area: Wipe the punctured area clean.
  2. Apply Sealant: Use a waterproof sealant designed for hoses.
  3. Let it Dry: Allow the sealant to dry completely before using the hose.

Proper water flow is essential for effective garden irrigation. If you’re repairing a garden hose reel and notice insufficient water flow, consider troubleshooting low water pressure in outdoor hose bibs to maintain optimal garden hydration.

Repairing the Reel Mechanism

Lubricating the Reel

Lubrication can solve many problems related to the reel mechanism. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Identify Moving Parts: Locate the parts that move, such as the axle and gears.
  2. Apply Lubricant: Spray a generous amount of lubricant on these parts.
  3. Operate the Reel: Turn the reel to ensure the lubricant spreads evenly.

Replacing Springs

Springs in retractable reels can wear out over time. Here’s how to replace them:

  1. Disassemble the Reel: Use a screwdriver to open the reel casing.
  2. Remove the Old Spring: Carefully take out the worn spring.
  3. Install the New Spring: Place the new spring in the correct position.
  4. Reassemble the Reel: Put the reel back together and test the mechanism.

Fixing the Retractable Mechanism

If the retractable mechanism is faulty, follow these steps:

  1. Check for Obstructions: Ensure there are no blockages in the reel.
  2. Inspect the Spring: Make sure the spring is intact and properly aligned.
  3. Tighten Loose Parts: Secure any loose screws or bolts.

Dealing with Hose Kinks

Preventive Measures

Preventing kinks can save you a lot of hassle. Here are some tips:

  • Store the Hose Properly: Use a hose reel or hanger to prevent tangles.
  • Avoid Sharp Bends: Lay the hose out straight after use.
  • Use a Hose Guide: Guides can help direct the hose and prevent kinks.

Using Hose Guides

Hose guides are simple tools that can prevent kinks and tangles. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Install the Guide: Place the guide at the corner of your garden bed or pathway.
  2. Thread the Hose: Run the hose through the guide.
  3. Adjust as Needed: Move the guide to ensure smooth operation.

Maintaining your garden’s irrigation system involves various repairs and adjustments. When fixing a worn-out garden hose reel, it’s beneficial to be familiar with troubleshooting common irrigation system problems to ensure your entire system runs smoothly.

Maintaining Your Garden Hose Reel

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections can catch problems early. Here’s what to check:

  • Hose Condition: Look for cracks, leaks, and kinks.
  • Reel Mechanism:

Proper Storage

Storing your hose and reel correctly can prevent many common issues. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Drain the Hose: After each use, make sure to drain all the water from the hose to prevent mold and mildew.
  2. Reel It Up: Use the reel to wind up the hose neatly, avoiding sharp bends or kinks.
  3. Cover the Reel: If your hose reel is exposed to the elements, consider covering it with a protective cover to shield it from sun and rain.

Winterizing Your Hose Reel

Preparing your hose reel for winter is crucial, especially if you live in a cold climate. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Drain the Hose: Remove any water from the hose and reel.
  2. Store Indoors: If possible, store the hose reel in a garage or shed to protect it from freezing temperatures.
  3. Disconnect the Hose: Detach the hose from the faucet to prevent any water from freezing inside.

When to Replace Your Hose Reel

Signs of Irreparable Damage

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a hose reel might be beyond repair. Here are some signs that it’s time to replace your hose reel:

  • Severe Rusting: Extensive rust can weaken the structure of the reel.
  • Cracked or Broken Parts: Cracks in the reel or hose connections that can’t be fixed.
  • Persistent Leaks: Leaks that persist even after multiple repairs.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Replacing a hose reel can sometimes be more cost-effective than repeatedly repairing it. Consider the cost of repairs versus the price of a new reel. If repairs are frequent and expensive, it might be time for an upgrade.

Garden upkeep often includes addressing multiple structural issues. As you work on repairing your garden hose reel, you might also need to tackle fixing wobbly garden structures like pergolas and arbors to keep your garden in top shape.

Choosing a New Hose Reel

an individual holding a tablet in front of a red hose

Features to Look For

When shopping for a new hose reel, consider the following features:

MaterialDurable materials like metal or heavy-duty plastic
CapacityCan it hold the length of your garden hose?
Ease of UseUser-friendly design, easy to reel and unreel
Mounting OptionsWall-mounted, cart, or free-standing?
Additional FeaturesAuto-retraction, hose guides, built-in storage

Top Brands and Models

Here are some top-rated hose reels to consider:

BrandModelFeaturesPrice Range
SuncastSmart TrakDurable resin, auto-retraction$50 – $100
Liberty GardenIndustrial GradeHeavy-duty steel, large capacity$100 – $150
GardenaRetractable Hose ReelAuto-retraction, wall-mounted$150 – $200
EleyPortable Garden Hose ReelLightweight, portable$200 – $300

DIY or Professional Help?

Deciding whether to tackle repairs yourself or hire a professional depends on the complexity of the issue and your comfort level with DIY projects. Minor repairs, like fixing leaks or replacing washers, are typically easy to handle on your own. For more complicated issues, such as replacing springs or dealing with internal reel mechanisms, professional help might be a better option.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prevent my hose reel from rusting?

To prevent rust, keep your hose reel dry and store it in a covered area. Applying a rust-resistant coating can also help protect the metal parts.

Can I use my hose reel with a high-pressure hose?

Yes, but ensure the reel is rated for high-pressure hoses. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid damaging the reel.

How often should I replace the washers in my hose connections?

Replace the washers at least once a year or whenever you notice leaks at the connections.

What should I do if my hose reel’s retractable mechanism is stuck?

First, check for any obstructions or tangles in the hose. Lubricate the moving parts and, if necessary, replace the spring or mechanism parts.

Are there any environmentally friendly hose reels?

Yes, some hose reels are made from recycled materials or designed to be more eco-friendly. Look for reels with sustainable certifications or those made from recyclable materials.


Repairing a worn-out garden hose reel can be a rewarding DIY project that saves you money and extends the life of your gardening tools. By understanding the common issues, having the right tools, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can keep your hose reel in top shape. Remember to maintain your hose reel regularly and store it properly to avoid future problems. Happy gardening!

Further Reading

For those who want to delve deeper into repairing garden hose reels, check out these helpful resources:


How do I prevent my garden hose reel from rusting?

To prevent rust, ensure your hose reel is stored in a dry place and protected from the elements. Applying a rust-resistant coating can also help prolong its life.

Can I use my garden hose reel with a high-pressure hose?

Yes, you can use a high-pressure hose with your garden hose reel, but make sure the reel is rated for high-pressure use to avoid damage.

What should I do if my hose reel’s retractable mechanism is stuck?

If your retractable mechanism is stuck, check for obstructions and ensure the hose is not tangled. Lubricate the moving parts and consider replacing the spring if the problem persists.

How often should I replace the washers in my hose connections?

It’s a good practice to replace the washers in your hose connections at least once a year or whenever you notice leaks to maintain a good seal.

Are there environmentally friendly garden hose reels available?

Yes, there are environmentally friendly hose reels made from recycled materials or designed to be sustainable. Look for products with eco-friendly certifications or those advertised as being made from recyclable materials.