How To Clean Your Skateboard Bearings In 10 Simple Ways
Skateboarding has always been filled with passion and adventure. There are 6.5 million skateboarders in the United States as of 2018, according to Statista.
The adolescents are slashing streets and railings. But the charming and energizing sport may face hindrances if not appropriately dealt with. I mean to keep you all enlighten that skateboard wheels must be serviced and bearings must be cleaned.
With passing time, dust and dirt can easily be collected in skateboard’s bearings. This collected dirt can be problematic for the skateboarders. You must be well aware of your skateboard’s cleaning process of bearings as cleaning will give you an edge in terms of increased speed while preventing the wheels from seizing up.
With proper cleaning comes the adequate measure and installation, which skateboarders a whole new experience. And for that, you must know about the ABEC System.
Not all skateboarders are aware of the cleaning processes. So, don’t be the one falling behind. If not winning the race is your style, at least be in the race.
Tools And Materials You Need For Cleaning Skateboard Bearings
Before getting on with cleaning the bearings of your skateboard wheels, it is essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials that will help you out in the process.
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered with all the things in a list. Do make your own and have a tick to make you clear that you have the item. Don’t open the wheels if you don’t have materials.
You will need;
- Skate tool or T-tool
- Socket wrench
- Container for Solvent
- Safety pin or Razorblade
- Bearing pole
- Bearing Lubricant
Determine The Kinds Of Bearings
There are two different kinds of skateboarding bearing materials. An adequate understanding of the bearing will enable you to clean it accordingly. This step will give you a perfect experience of skateboarding.
A. Ceramic Bearing
The newly designed ceramic skateboard bearings are considered the next level of advancement in bearing manufacturing. What makes them better than others? Look for yourself.
- Ceramic bearings contain nylon ball retainers, which accelerate the wheel faster.
- They are most resistant to dirt, dust, and moisture.
- They have anti-corrosive properties.
- They are more rigid and more robust for everyday use.
- They deal better with heat.
- They are less frictional, so yeah, it gives more speed.
- Their smoothness is what makes them superior to other bearings.
- They are expensive than the other bearings. But if you invest in buying them, you are lowering the maintenance cost because of the whole list of benefits they offer.
- Ceramic bearings don’t mean that they are utterly ceramic made. If you are thinking this that you are wrong – the balls are of ceramic inside the body, but the outer space is made up of steel.
B. Steel Bearing
The other and the foremost type of skateboard bearing is steel bearings. Although they aren’t capable of competing for the level of benefits ceramic offers. But still, they are here for long. So, this doesn’t mean that steel bearings are obsolete and you mustn’t use them. They do offer some of the perks, such as;
- The speed of the wheels depends on the bearings inside the steel sphere.
- They are circular, and as fast as they rotate, the more quickly the wheel moves.
- They are popular and easily available in all parts of the world.
- There are tons of companies that manufacture steel bearings. So the overall quantity depends on the maker and price tag it has.
- For beginners and practicing people who don’t do skateboarding professionally – it is better to go for steel bearings.
- Steel bearings are like an old-school, so they must dig deeper by starting with steel bearings for the beginners.
- They are pocket-friendly and cost-effective.
- The better price tagged steel bearing offers better sealing, increased inner balls, and overall high-quality production.
10 Simplest Ways To Clean Your Skateboard
The all-time appealing sports skateboarding is mostly young people’s favorite. It doesn’t matter if you are a core skater or a casual skater, cleaning the skateboard bearings must be for everyone.
I have researched and gathered ten simplest ways to clean your skateboard bearings so that you can enjoy the ride without disruption and show some real rail action.
1. Safely Remove The Skateboard’s Wheels
Removal of skateboard’s wheels is the first part to kick with. It will help if you do the following.
- The first step is to remove the wheel, and for that, you need to begin with removing the axle nuts.
- Removing the axle nuts can be done with a socket wrench, ratchet, or skate tool.
- Carefully hold the board and firmly apply the pressure and lose the nuts then slide the axle’s wheels.
2. Store All The Removed Parts Safely
- After the removal of the wheel, the next step comes in.
- You must be careful with storing all the removed parts in a separate tray or bowl.
- They can get easily lost or misplaced as being the smallest parts of the wheels such as washers, nuts, etc. but a little precaution and safe handling will save the situation.
- Nuts and washers of each wheel must be placed in that tray or bowl.
- Your board has four wheels, which means that each wheel will have one bolt and one or two washers.
3. Remove Bearings From The Wheel
- As soon as all the four wheels are removed, now comes the time to remove the wheels’ bearings.
- The bearings will be at the core of the wheels and remember that they are circular.
- Using a screwdriver, you can pull out the bearings from the wheels.
- This removal could also be done with needle-nose pliers.
- There are other methods to remove the bearing in case if you don’t have the bearing remover or the said items.
- Some advanced boards offer an additional space between bearings, which is known as speed ring. It would help in easing the case by freeing the first bearing and using the space.
- You could also use some alternate items such as a thick metal rod that you must put at one end of the bearing and hammer it nicely.
- This would help bearing losing its place, and hence you can pull that out.
- Hammering is the least of the options – do it only if you don’t leave with any other choice as hammering and using the rods may damage the bearing. So attention must be required.
4. Pre-Soaking Cleansing
- As soon as you get done with removing the bearings, you will see that the bearings are coated with dirt and dust.
- That is where pre-soaking cleansing comes into action.
- The bearings must be coated with dirt. So you may need a cleaning wipe or a piece of cloth.
- Gently rub the bearing with that cloth or wipe to remove the dirt, but be careful and don’t grind the dirt into the bearing while cleaning.
- In some cases, you may also require to apply the solvent or cleaner liquid on the cloth or wipe and then start rubbing as it will give you better results.
5. Soak The Bearings In Bearing Cleaner
- As you move to the fifth step, you come to the part where you must soak the bearings in the container containing bearing cleaning solution or solvent.
- Fill a clean bucket or a container with the bearing cleaning solution or solvent. You can also add acetone along with the solution as mineral spirits work well in the cleaning process.
- Remember that if you plan on using the acetone, you must wear gloves while cleaning the bearings.
- Dip the bearings in that bowl or container or bucket and leave it for 10-20 minutes.
6. Dry The Soaked Bearings
- The next step that pops up in the list is to take out the soaked bearings from the solvent or cleaning solution.
- As the gunk has been removed, place the wet bearing on a piece of cloth or a tissue paper.
- Tapping the face down on the cloth or paper towel so that every last drop of the solution comes out.
- You can also use a hairdryer to dry the bearing (This depends).
7. Apply Lubricant
- The next step is to apply the lubricant as soon as the bearing completely dries.
- I recommend using a lubricant that is specifically designed for skateboard’s bearings.
- Remember, don’t pour excessive lubricant – only two or three drops of the lubricant would do the job.
- As soon as you’re done with applying the lubricant, the next step is to spin the bearing to reach every corner of it.
- I often heard people using motor oil or grease, but keep that in mind that by doing so, you are leveraging the chances of getting the dirt or dust stick on the bearings.
8. Re-insert The Bearing Shield & Bearing
- After applying the lubricant, the next step is to replace the bearing shields.
- It will help if you are careful as the seal between the bearing shield and bearing has to be fixed properly.
- Make sure that there aren’t any gaps left.
- Now the next step is to re-insert the bearing in the wheel.
- This step is tricky as you need to push the bearing back in the wheel firmly as far as you can.
- Some special kinds of skateboards come with bearing spacer that is the speed ring – if you got one, use it.
9. Re-fasten The Bearing
- Now that you have gone through the whole process, the next and almost ending step is to re-fasten the bearing in that wheel.
- As you are done re-fastening each bearing to its wheel, you must re-fasten the wheels to each of that axle’s end.
- The moment you get done with attaching the bearing and wheel, now start tightening each bolt of the wheels firmly and not stiffly.
- One pro tip is to check that your skateboard’s wheel should jiggle after you have done with reattachment.
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10. Take A Test Ride
- After all, the tightening makes sure that the nuts aren’t fixed or too tight, as doing this would hamper the wheel’s ability to spin faster.
- Check each wheel by rolling or spinning and check for the spin. If it goes well, you are free to have a test ride, but further adjustments must be made if it doesn’t.
- Now ride and live up to your potential.
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- Q) Should I take the grease out and use light oil of any kind if my bearings are new and packed with grease?
- A) Use grease. It lasts longer. While riding, the grease heats up, which helps it become or take liquid form instead of remaining in like jelly. After the bearing cools down, it again takes forms as jelly, and the oil shaped won’t get drip out of the wheel.
- Q) What to do if bearing breaks while removing for cleaning?
- A) The simple answer is to buy a new one. You can also look for one from the junk board.
- Q) What lubricant should I use to clean my skateboard’s bearings?
- A) Always check to have a Teflon-based lubricant that you can easily spray on the bearing before cleaning. The other proper ways have been described in the write-up above.
- Q) What kind of alcohol should I use?
- A) Some spirits can be used. I suggest you must add acetone with a cleaning agent. Don’t forget to wear gloves.
- Q) What if I have previously used WD-40 on my bearings?
- A) WD-40 will get you the results. But the best pick would be to use a bearing lubricant from a skateboard shop.
Cleaning your skateboard’s bearing can be a difficult nut to crack. But I have got it covered for you by discussing every inch of the process. I hope you’d find this blog informative and helpful.
Categories: Skateboard Bearings