Do you know when your bearings need cleaning and lubrication? Do you know how to do it? Welcome to the ultimate guide to skateboard bearing maintenance. I’m here to tell you everything you need to know to make your bearings last longer!
When To Take Care Of Them?
I’ve asked around friends and family about what they’ve wanted to know about the maintenance. One of the most frequent questions I got was how often one should clean and lubricate them. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a specific number or period. The best advice I can give you is to spin your wheels before skating and checking how the wheels roll and the noise they make. If one stops after just a couple of rotations or makes funky noises, you should check that bearing and the ball retainer as that part may be broken. If it still rolls fine but is relatively loud (as seen in the video), this bearing is no longer lubricated, so it’s time to take them out, and follow the video’s instructions or continue scrolling.
What You Need
Step one: Bearing Removal
Remove the axle nuts from your truck. Sometimes the washer sticks to the nut, be aware of that as you remove the nut so you won’t lose it. It could happen that, as you pull your wheel, the washer from the inside part of the wheel sticks to it. Keep an eye out for that. Hold your wheel halfway above the edge of your axle and use the border to grab the bearing as you twist your wheel to get it out; this can be tricky and could require some force.
Step Two: Rubber Shield Removal
Take your thin, flat tool, and removed bearings, place the device on the bottom part of the shield near the inner ring, and then carefully remove the rubber shield.
Step Three: Prepare the bearings
Place the bearings on the axel of the cleaning container. The ball side of each should be facing up. Make sure to put a spacer in between every one of them.
Step Four: Shake it!
Please wear your safety gear (gloves and glasses) for every step from this point on. Fill one-third of the cleaning container with isopropyl alcohol. Take the lid with the axle and dirty bearings on it and seal the bottle. Shake the bottle for about 30 seconds. Open the cover and give every bearing a good spin. Close the lid again and shake again.
Step Five: Cleanliness Check
Open the lid and take the bearings out of the container onto a towel. Discard the dirty cleaning solution into the bucket. Repeat step four, and this step until you are satisfied with the cleanliness of them. As long as the solvent changes color, the bearings are not clean.
Step six: Dry
Remove the bearings from the axle and dry them with a clean towel. You could also use compressed air in a can, which you can pick up at any office or electronics store. Please do not use a blowdryer as IPA is a very flammable product.
Step seven: Lubricate
Once the bearings are clean and dry, we need to lubricate them. Put two drops per bearing of your lubricant in there. According to BONES, if you have ceramics, you’ll only need one. Spin the bearings in your fingers in every direction to make sure to distribute the lubricant all across them.
Step eight: the Shields
Wipe the rubber shields with a clean, dry towel. Please do not use the isopropyl alcohol to clean them as that could damage the rubber. Make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure so they won’t bend.
Lay the shield over the bearing and line everything up. Gently push it into place.
Step Nine: Back in the wheel
Put both of the bearings with their shield facing down onto your skateboard truck. Take your wheel and press it onto the first bearing until it pops in. Repeat the process on the other side of it.
Step Ten: Back on the board
Don’t forget to place the washers back on the inside of the wheel and outside. Tighten the axle nut back on your truck. Don’t make it too tight! There should be no visible wobbling of the wheel. You should feel a little space with your fingers.
If there is still a lot of dirt stuck on the bearings after the first two cycles of shaking, you can use your discarded cleaning solution in the bucket and an old toothbrush to loosen it up.
In this video, I answer the questions you sent in through Instagram (@skatepunkeu)! I hope that there will be no more misunderstandings in terms of maintaining your skateboard bearings after this video.
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