For those who haven’t understand the importance of skateboard bearings and their maintenances, this post will provide you the required information. We’ll be explaining everything about skateboard bearings and why you should clean them. In additions, we’ll show you 8 simple steps for cleaning skateboard bearings.
What are bearings and why you should clean it?
Bearings are extremely important components of many machines. They are responsible for enhancing movement and reducing friction in many parts. For skateboard, we use rotation bearings which consist of small balls inside that facilitate the rolling speed of the wheels. Hence, your skateboard can move faster and smoother.
When being used on an extended amount of time, your bearings will slowly wear down due to dust and prolonged movements. If this happens, your boards will become slower and more difficult to control. Which is why we recommend you to clean your bearings every once in a while to ensure their longevity.
When you need to clean your bearings
Ideally, you should clean your bearings once a week, especially when you’ve been skating on a wet and dirty trail. The excess water and dirt can easily damage your bearings, making them less effective. You don’t have to do it thoroughly, just need to clean the surface with a clean cloth and get rid of the excess water.
On the other hand, neglected bearings that haven’t been cleaned for a long time will require you to put more attention to it. If you’re interested in performing a deep clean on the bearings, just follow our instruction below:
8 simple steps for cleaning skateboard bearings
Here you’ll learn 8 simple steps for cleaning your skateboard bearings. Do it carefully to ensure the desired outcome.
Step 1: Preparation
To start cleaning the bearings, you’ll first need to prepare these items:
- Skateboard tool – for easy removing of the bearings. You can use a plier instead
- Flathead screwdriver – or anything that has the same shape would be fine
- Bearing cleaning kit – can be purchased at most skate store. Can be replaced with citrus cleaner
- Clean cloths – make sure they’re clean and dry
- Blow dryer – choose one with a high heating level
- Lubricating oil or grease – anything would work, but you should avoid thick oil
With everything prepared, let’s move on to the next step.
Step 2: Remove the wheels
Start by placing the wheel firmly on the table or any solid platform. Use the skateboard tool to disassemble the nuts at the center of each wheel. You can use the plier but it would be more difficult. Place the nuts to a nearby place for later assembly. Then use your hand to push and pull the wheels out of the trucks. Make sure you do it carefully to avoid damaging both the wheels and the axles.
Step 3: Remove the bearings
Skateboard bearings are attached at both sides of the wheels and require something flat and relatively pointy to pry them out. The options can be varied depending on your situation, however, we recommend using a flat head screwdriver since it’ll make things quite easier.
Once they’ve been removed, you can start cleaning the outer of your bearings which are mostly covered in dust and dirt. You can easily wipe it out using a clean wet cloth. And if you have time, don’t forget to clean the inner part of the wheels (where you put the bearings on).
Step 4: Remove the shield
Most skateboard bearings are protected with rubber or metal shields. To get to the balls inside, you need to pry them out using any items that are most convenient. From my experiences, it’s best to use a straightened paper clip to pop the shields out from the opposite sides. Once you’ve done it, place the shields where you put the nuts.
Step 5: Clean the balls
The next step is cleaning the inside of the bearings, and more specifically the tiny balls inside of it. Inside the bearings cleaning kit, you’ll find a bottle that contains the cleaning solution. Open the bottle to reveal a cylindrical object attached to the lid. Then with your bearings readied, slide them in one by one. Then put the lid back on the bottle to soak the bearings in the cleaning solution. Give it a little shake and wait for about 2 minutes. If you don’t have the cleaning kit, then citrus cleaner can be a good alternative.
Take the bearings out and use a dry cloth to clean off the rest of the solution. You can leave the bearings outside the sun and wait for it to dry. But it’ll take hours, so instead, we recommend using a blow dryer. Set it to the maximum heat level then apply it directly on the bearing to get rid of the excess water.
Step 6: Lubricating the bearings
Once the bearings are completely dried, it’s time to give it some oil. As mentioned above, you should avoid thick oils since they’ll affect the bearings’ performance. With the bearing on your fingers, give it a few drops of lubricating oil. Do this for all of the bearings to ensure their longevity and performance.
Step 7: Reassemble the wheels and bearings
With all the bearings properly lubricated, it’s time to put everything back together. Start by attaching the protective shields back on both sides of the bearings. Then place the bearings back on their wheels. You need to apply the force evenly on the bearings so they can properly pop back in. After that, you’ll need to put the wheels back on the truck. Use the nuts to fasten the wheels and we’re done. Check each wheel to see if they’re properly installed or if you’re missing any components.
Step 8: Take it out for a test
Once you’ve done the clean and assembly, it’s time to take the skateboard out for a test. Try to feel if there is any problem with the wheels, especially when they’re rolling fast. If you see no problem with your wheels, and in fact, they perform even better, then you’ve successfully cleaned your bearings.
That’s our opinions on skateboard bearings and how to clean them. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in our future posts. Here is a useful video that you might need: