When I bought my new skateboard, I was happy. It used to fly as fast as the wind.
But with time, inevitable happened: the bearings of my skateboard collected as much dirt as they could.
The board became slower, much slower than it used to be. The maneuverability dropped.
The urgent bearings maintenance was required.
Do you know how to clean skateboard bearings? For a newbie, it sounds like Chinese. So it was for me. I had to look for information and try different materials until I found the proper options.
The above tips are valid if you have bearings with no shield or with rubber shields. The cleaning process of your longboard vs. skateboard bearings doesn’t differ.
Prepare the Tools and Materials
To clean your skateboard bearings, you need some tools. Prepare them before you move to the actual cleaning process:
- Pliers or a screwdriver;
- A ratchet;
- A T-tool (it is also called a skate tool;
- A rag (you can also use a toothbrush);
- A container for solvent;
- A safety pin;
- Bearing lubricant.
I recommend getting a tray to arrange all these tools. It is up to you, though.
Now, you remove the wheels. Use the skate tool to remove the axle nuts. Then, remove the wheels from the skateboard. Arrange the nuts and the washers so as not to lose them.
Disassemble the bearings. Remove the bearing shields. Use your truck axle to pry the bearings out of the wheels.
With a safety pin, take out bearing shields. Take care not to misshape the shields. If they are misplaced, they might start rubbing against the bearings. Arrange the shields in the tray (do you remember I have recommended using one?)
Remove all the obvious dirt with a dry rag or a paper towel. Do it gently, otherwise, you will rub the dirt into the bearing. If the dirt is difficult to remove, apply some solvent on the rag.
Now, when the dirt is removed from the bearing surface, it is time to clean the bearings in the solvent.
The solvent shall not be water-based. Some skateboarders like acetone because it is quite strong and removes all the impurities completely. Others, though, don’t recommend acetone due to the same reason.
Even the best longboard bearings can get damaged with time. If you prefer using something milder, be ready to wait longer until your bearings are cleaned.
Put the bearings in the container and leave them in the solvent for some minutes. From time to time, swirl the bearings.
If they are too dirty, you can use the toothbrush or the rag you have prepared to clean them. If you see that the solvent has become dark, replace it completely or partially.
Take the bearings out and dry them. Don’t wait until they get dry themselves, use a towel or a serviette to dry them as soon as possible. Blowing them with a hairdryer is a good option, too, but I prefer spinning them.
Now, you need to lubricate the bearings. If you leave them dry, when you move, undesirable friction will be produced. It will result in quick damage to the bearings. Even the best longboard wheels for sliding will run slower if this issue arises.
I use a special speed cream to lubricate the bearings. Some people prefer using high-quality multi-purpose lubricants, but I still insist on lubricants developed for skateboard bearings.
Drop a couple of drops into each bearing. Spin the bearings. The oil will be distributed evenly in them.
Install the bearing shields. Simply put them into their places. Press them until they are in their position. The seal between the bearings and the shields shall be complete. There shall be no gaps.
Install the bearings into the wheels. For that, push them into the wheels with force.
Install the wheels. Place the washers. Fasten the wheels. Tighten the nuts so that the wheels are firm but not stiff.
Now, you can continue skating, and you can be sure that your bearings will be like new.
Cleaning Skateboard Bearings Is Easy, You Can Do It!
The entire cleaning process might take some time, but it is easy. I was struggling the first time, but now, it takes me not more than half an hour for the entire process.
Once more, to clean the bearings:
- Remove them from the wheels;
- Remove the obvious dirt from their surface;
- Put them into a solvent, and I use a bearing cleaning kit to facilitate the entire procedure;
- Dry the bearings and lubricate them;
- Install them in the wheels;
- The wheels install on the board.
If you have anything to add or if you have some recommendations, please feel free to let us know in your comments.
Some Problems That You Might Face and Their Solutions
What if the bearings still don’t spin even after I have cleaned them?
If you have cleaned the bearings, and they don’t spin, it is time to replace them.
I have lubricated the bearings, but they don’t work properly. What shall I do?
When the bearings stop working as expected, most likely, dust and dirt have accumulated in them.
If you lubricate the bearings without having cleaned them, you will push the dirt and dust deeper into the bearings. It will deteriorate their functionality more.
Remove the bearings and clean them as described above. After that, lubricate them with a special lubricant.