A functional bearing is necessary to keep the wheel of your skateboard rolling. Dust and dirt get into your bearings, causing them to be clumpy.
Also, when you happen to skate in the rain, the water causes it to rust easily. And this will definitely wear out your bearings and roughen the wheel.
Now, a good cleaning can bring smooth-rolling action to your worn-out bearing. Let this guide assist you through the process of cleaning skateboard bearings.
Arrange essential Tools for cleaning skateboard bearings
To clean the bearing, you’ll need the following tools and materials:
- Skate tool (you may use a socket wrench or ratchet)
- Screwdriver (pliers, skate truck, or metal rod are alternatives)
- Small tray (for organizing the parts)
- Clean container
- Fresh dry rag
- Cleaning solution/solvent, alcohol, spray-on degreaser, or any citrus juices like lemon juice
- Knife, paper clip, pin, or any other thin pointy object
- A lubricant such as light grease or speed cream
- Hair dryer, manual blower, canned air (optional)
Did You Complete the Preparation?
Gather the tools and materials before you start cleaning the skateboard bearings. Also, look for a place where you can work spontaneously. Once you got all these ready, you can now clean your skateboard bearings in 5 easy steps.
Step 01: Removing the Wheels
The Skateboard bearing sits inside the wheel. To get the bearings out, you need to slide off the wheels from the truck carefully. Work with the skateboard deck on the side and the axle pointing upward.
Loosen the wheels using a wrench or skate tool. A small tray can come in handy in organizing the nuts and washers for easy assembly.
Then take the wheel off the axle at an angle. Do not apply too much force because it can damage the bearings.
Step 02: Detaching the bearing and bearing shield or rubber covers
There are two bearings in every wheel. Generally, these bearings are separated with a spacer called the speed ring. You need to take out a total of 8 bearings composed of 4 inner bearings and 4 outer bearings. A plier can be used to pull them out carefully. You may also use a screwdriver to yank it out of the wheel.
If these two are not available, you can use the end of the axle of your truck as leverage. The amount of energy required to open a bottle cap is required in using this tool. Start by sliding the wheel halfway through the axle. This allows you to remove the bearings one at a time.
A metal rod is also one of the alternatives for detaching the bearings. Find a rod that fits perfectly to the bearing hole. Insert the metal rod and gently tap it with a hammer. Be extra careful because this method can break the bearing.
Once the bearings are out, carefully detach the bearing shield or rubber covers with a pin, knife, or other thin pointy objects. You can set them aside in your tray to ensure that they will remain in shape. A misshapen bearing shield can scrub against the bearing, thereby scratching it.
Step 03: Cleaning the Bearings
Start cleaning the bearings by removing visible exterior dirt. Wipe it gently with a clean, dry rag. Make sure not to rub and grind the dirt inside because it can cause scratches to the bearing. Include the bearing shield or rubber cover as you clean. This part needs to be kept clean as well because it can cause friction to the bearings.
Once all the obvious dirt is removed, place them in a clean container. Soak the bearings in the cleaning solution or solvent for a while. This will allow the dirt to seep out. You may use acetone as an alternative if a solvent is not available. But remember always to use protective hand gloves when working with solvents.
Never use a harsh solvent that can damage the skateboard bearings. If you use a milder cleaning solution, this may take a longer time for the bearing to be cleaned thoroughly.
If you prefer to use an environmentally friendly cleaning solution, you can use citrus juices such as lemon. These are also effective ways of cleaning the bearings. You may also use a spray-on degreaser to plop the dirt out of the bearings.
Now that the bearings are clean, dry them out by placing them in a clean rag or paper towel. You may also use canned air, a manual air blower, or a hair dryer to hasten the process.
Step 4: Lubricating and Reattaching Shields
Cleaning the skateboard bearings is just the first step in getting it back into shape. In order to ensure its smooth roll, a lubricant needs to be applied. It keeps the bearing from drying. This prevents friction that may damage the bearing.
It is recommended that you only use lubricants that are specifically designed for skateboard bearings such as Speed Cream. Although oil can make your bearing spin faster, it is also short-lived. However, the use of oils such as cooking oil and motor oil is discouraged because they can mess up your bearings by keeping dirt inside.
After applying the lubricant, wipe off the excess from the bearings. Then reattach the bearing shield or rubber cover. Make sure that there are no gaps between the bearing and shield.
Step 5: Reassembly of Wheels
Now is the time to put them all back together. Stick the bearings back into the wheel by pushing it as far as you can. You can use the skateboard truck, screwdriver, or metal rod to drive the bearings back into place. Once you got one bearing in, make sure to replace the speed rings or spacers before inserting the outer bearing.
The final step is to refasten the wheels into the truck. Do not forget the speed washers before attaching the wheel. If the wheels are settled, secure them back to the truck axle by tightening the axle nut. Check each wheel by spinning it. This is to ensure that no wheel is very stiff, thereby making it easy to spin.
You’re Good to Roll
Now that you know how to clean skateboard bearings, you are ready to hit the streets. It is definitely cool to show off your skateboard tricks, especially with a smooth roll of the wheels. Hopefully, this article is a big help to you!