Do you feel your skateboard speed has reduced over time, or are you facing stability issues? The ride isn’t as smooth as before. This situation can be quite frustrating if you try to learn some new skateboard tricks or daily commuting using a skateboard. That’s a sign that you need to clean your skateboard bearings. You must be searching for how to clean skateboard bearings; that’s why you stopped by our article.
Dirt and grime make the board wear and tear more quickly. In today’s fast-paced world, the environment is severely polluted, so everything tends to accumulate dust and dirt and needs to be washed off. Dirt accumulates over time and affects various parts, causing a problem with effective functioning.
Skateboarding is a prevalent sport. With excessive use, different parts of the skateboard accumulate grime that needs to be removed. Bearings are metal pieces that are round in shape. Bearings are placed inside the wheel. They fit the wheel, and then the wheel is placed in the truck axle. Mostly the skateboard bearings are made up of steel and can be cleaned using household items as well. A skateboard wheel has two bearings. One is called the inner race, the other outer race.
The space in between can be filled with a spacer. Spacer prevents the bearings from getting damaged while tightening the axle nut. The bearings contain small steel balls the enable the wheels to roll. The bearings are covered by a protective shield, which functions to avoid bearings getting dirty.
Contaminated bearings make skateboarding difficult and unpleasant. They need to be cleaned for better speed and smoothness. Cleaning and lubricating bearings now and then are beneficial for the skateboard life. Better maintenance prolongs the life of the skateboard and saves you a lot of money.
Table of Contents
List of things needed for cleaning skateboard wheels
To start cleaning, gather these necessary things you’ll need:
- Skate tool
- Cleaning container
- Cleaning solution
- Lubricating oil
- Tissue or cloth
Cleaning might feel tricky and complicated, but it’s straightforward and easy to do even at home with some simple steps. A skateboard has few parts, so it’s easy to disassemble and assemble them at home without much equipment or effort. It should be made sure to place all stuff in one place because the small parts are easy to lose, and then you’ll need to repurchase them. To keep everything in one place, a container can be placed nearby where the parts can be placed after cleaning and then easily reassembled after cleaning.
Follow these listed steps to clean your skateboard bearings within a few minutes.
Separating bearings from wheels:
Grab your skateboard and all other necessary stuff place it in one place. Turn the skateboard upside down. The wheels should be facing up while the deck down. Using a skateboard tool, loosen the axle nut and remove all four wheels. The next step is to separate bearing from wheels. Mount the wheel on the axle up to ½ inch, then twist the angle of your wrist, and the bearing will pry out. This will require some effort. It can be tricky for some people to clean skateboard bearings at home, but it’s easy and effective if fully aware of the technique. This might take some time and effort, but results will prove that it’s all worth it. Shopkeepers use a machine called a bearing press for this purpose. Once done with a side, repeat the same process for the other side and keep all 8 bearings in one place.
Remove the bearing shield:
The bearing surface is covered by a shield that protects from contamination. Remove the shield carefully with a pin and place it aside. After removing, the shield-bearing balls will be visible; they are made up of steel. Be careful with the shield. Don’t bend it, or it would be damaged. Some shields are pressed into the bearing and are non-removable. If a metal shield can be removed, remove it from one side before cleaning, but if the shields are non-removable, cleaning from inside isn’t possible, and it’s better to get new bearings. The bearing shield should be placed in water or other solvent solution. The shield is made from rubber, so if dipped insolvent, it will swell. Use a cloth to wipe the shield surface with soapy water.
Place bearings in a cleaning solution:
Next comes the process of how to clean skateboard bearings. Place the bearing in a solvent solution. Put the solvent solution in a container. Chemical may cause skin hypersensitivity, so be careful and wear latex gloves so that the skin doesn’t get hurt. Put the bearing in a solvent container, keep them inside the container and swish them. The dirt, dust, and grime will be removed off. If there is excess dirt at the solvent left at the bottom, remove it, add a new solvent, and then again place the bearing in it so that all dirt becomes soft and washes off. Bearings cannot be washed with water. They are very water sensitive. Water will rust and erode the bearing, so it’s advised to keep the bearing away from water. Slight exposure to any moisture can damage the bearing.
The bearings can be washed only with solvent solution, lemon juice, and spray citrus cleaner. A solvent is an excellent option as they’ll evaporate as well after some time on their own. In citrus, the cleanser rinses the bearing afterward so that they won’t be sticky or rust.
A bearing cleaning kit can be handy for cleaning. It’s effortless and comfortable to use. Open the kit, remove the wingnut, and then remove all spacers. Slide the bearing onto the metal rod. The exposed side should be facing up. Next, place spacer so that it creates a space between bearings and solvent can easily reach the bearing surface after placing all the bearings and spacer screw the wingnut tightly. Now put the cap back tight and shake it for 15 seconds. This will cause the solvent to reach every space of the bearing.
Remove cap and take out the metal rod; the grime will be at the container’s bottom. Place the bearing on tissue paper or cloth piece. The excess solvent needs to be taken out. The bearings should be dried for up to 10 minutes; it’s completely dried. This step will take time and needs extreme caution because otherwise, the damage will result, and you’ll need to buy new bearings for all four wheels.
Cleaning bearings is the main part of skateboard cleaning. Bearings tend to accumulate most dirt hidden inside small spaces and are only removed after full disassembling. If there is still dirt in the visible bearing, use an old toothbrush to scrub the bearing. Scrub out that hardened dirt, and once the bearing is all clean, rub the bearing with a cloth or tissue so it’s dry and let the solvent evaporate. Use an air dryer to dry out the moisture. Make sure this step is down wholly and carefully so that there is no moisture trapped that could later rust and erode the bearing.
Lubricate the bearing:
Put one or two drops of oil in each bearing. Hold the inner ring in a position and turn the outer ring so that oil is evenly distributed. The gentle spin will spread the oil throughout the bearing. Grease is recommended to be used for lubrication as when bearing is rolling due to the heat produced, the grease will get converted to a liquid form and then solidify later on. The grease isn’t leaky as oil, so that it won’t require much cleaning. Grease stays inside, bearing longer preventing contamination and avoiding the need for frequent lubrication.
Cooking oil, olive oil, or car oil are not designed for use; they are thick oils and will not flow easily inside the bearing. Lubrication is essential and beneficial, but caution is necessary to not over grease the bearing. Over greasing makes rolling difficult as the bearing balls while rotating will be churning grease so that that movement will become problematic. WD 40 should not lubricate the bearing as WD 40 is used to enhance water evaporation. The bearing will become very dry after it evaporates. WD 40 can be used for cleaning dirt from bearings but not for lubrication.
Finally, when all parts are fully clean, free of any visible dirt, and efficiently dried, they are ready to be put back in place. Proper drying is essential before replacing parts because moisture affects all aspects of the skateboard severely. It can cause the deck to wear and tear. The bearings will rust and erode, and thus the whole skateboard can become useless, and you’ll need to buy a new one. Care should be taken while riding the board.
Please avoid using the board in the water and dry it off properly in the air afterward. Now you know how to clean skateboard bearings, and the next task is only to reassemble the skateboard parts. Put the shield back on bearing. The shield should be appropriately placed on bearing without any gap. Put a washer and then place the bearing. Push the wheel onto the bearing so that the bearing fits into the wheel. Then push the other bearing into the other side of the wheel. Slide the wheels onto the axle nut. Put the washer and then tighten the nuts. Don’t over tighten the nuts; it will make it hard for the wheel to spin. Spin wheel using hand and check if it’s moving correctly. Spacers can be placed between bearings to avoid damage.
Bearings tend to accumulate dirt due to minute spaces. Accumulated dirt becomes hardened over time and increases friction during movement. Increased friction will cause increased heat production. Will excess dirt, the bearing will stop rolling, and as it stops abruptly during a ride, you’ll get injured. It’s necessary to clean the bearings to avoid this from happening. The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use your skateboard or where it’s used. If the environment is dirty and muddy and uses skateboard excessively for commuting or learning tricks, it needs to be washed off. Suitable bearings can last up to 2 yrs, so maintenance of wheel bearings will make them last longer and save the money you’ll need to buy needed bearings. Thus, all skater needs to clean their board at home whenever possible or felt a need.
Skateboard wheel bearings hold the wheel onto the axle, allowing free spinning and rolling of the wheels. Bearings are most affected by dirt, and the dirt can increase the friction so much that the wheel stops rolling. Thus, all skateboarders must clean their board every time after a muddy ride or after a month of daily commuting. This proper maintenance will make your board last longer and enable you to enjoy an incredibly smooth journey.
What should be used to clean bearings?
Bearings should be kept away from water. Bearings are made from steel, and water destroys steel it causes it to rust. Once rusted, the friction will be increased, and bearings will no longer serve the purpose of a smooth ride. If water is needed to rinse the dirt off bearings, then completely dry them off later. Bearings should not be replaced with moisture. Use an air dryer for drying and make sure all spaces are arid before returning.
Use organic solvents, lemon juice, citrus spray, or bearing cleaning kits made by professionals.
How often should bearing be washed?
It depends on how often and in what environment the skateboard is used. If you are an occasional user who rides on smooth surfaces once in three or four months is suitable. If you have just slight issues, lubricating can help. Drops a few drops of oil and spin the wheel. It will lessen the friction and improve wheel speed. If no improvement, then think about cleaning skateboard bearings now because thorough cleaning can help you get out the dirt accumulated.
If you use the skateboard in a muddy, dirty environment, often clean it up once a month. With proper maintenance, the board will last long.