When you have clean and well-lubricated wheels, you can have smooth movement with your skateboard. Cleaning them will also tell you if there are damaged parts in your wheels that need to be fixed.
We have prepared a step-by-step guide on cleaning skateboard wheels properly. These steps are easy to understand so that you can do the cleaning at home by yourself.
What tools do you need for cleaning skateboard wheels?
Before you start cleaning the skateboard wheels, do not forget to do the same with the entire board. You can use a rag or any cleaning cloth you have and dampen it with warm water.
Wipe the board to remove the dirt on it. Let the surface dry completely before you remove any parts of your skateboard. Also, arrange the below-listed tools you need to clean like_
Step 01: Remove the Wheels from the Board
After you’ve done the preparation needed, you can now start to remove the wheels from your skateboard. Lay your skateboard on its deck so that the wheels are now facing up.
Use an ½ inch or 13mm socket wrench to remove the axle nuts and bolts from the wheels’ outsides. Now that you’ve taken apart your wheels, ensure that you keep all the wheel materials safe.
This is to ensure that you won’t lose any parts, and you can find them easily when you need to attach them back to your wheels.
Step 02: Remove the Bearings from the Wheels
Since you’ve removed the wheels from your board, you can also remove the bearings from the wheels. Use a truck axle or screwdriver to pry out the bearings from the wheels. The process is just like opening a bottle top using a bottle opener.
When using the truck axle, first, place the wheels at the end of it. Then, insert a metal rod through the wheels passing through the first bearing. Let the truck axle catch or hook on the bearings, then pull the top of the wheel away from the skateboard.
Once you’ve successfully done this on one side, use the same steps in removing the bearing from the other side. Repeat the process for all the wheels.
If you are using a screwdriver, the first thing to do is hold the sides of the wheel out before you remove it. Insert the screwdriver tip in the front of the wheel, and then move the screwdriver to the sides, prying them to pull the bearing out. Whichever tools you use, will always bring the same results.
After you’ve detached the bearings, a bearing spacer will fall off from the middle of the wheel. Keep this spacer in a safe place, maybe together with your wheel materials, so you’ll have one place for all the parts you need.
Step 03: Soak the Wheels in Soapy Water
Create a mixture of ½ gallon of water and a few teaspoons of dishwashing soap in a large container. Mix the two ingredients until suds start to appear. Drop your wheels in the mixture and leave them to soak for 10 minutes. Remember to not treat the bearings in the soapy mixture.
Step 04: Scrub Down the Wheels
Ten minutes later, remove the wheels immediately and use a rag or a soft toothbrush to scrub the dirt and debris trapped on the wheels. Don’t forget to clean the inside of the wheels too. Now that all the wheels are clean, use a paper towel to dry them up.
Step 05: Remove the Bearing Shields
Some bearings have one shield, and others have one on each side. Carefully wedge a razor blade in between the bearing shield and the edge of the bearing. Start prying the bearing shield away from its bearing by pushing the blade down. The bearing shield gets easily damaged, so be careful when doing this step.
Step 06: Clean the Bearings
The best and safest cleaner to use for your bearings is a citrus cleaner. This natural cleaner will not damage the bearings compared to others that contain harsh chemicals like denatured alcohol, gasoline, mineral spirits, and turpentine.
There are two ways you can clean your bearings. One is by spraying, and the other is by soaking. Skate shops sell bearing cleaning kits that come with a complete set of tools and cleaners that can effectively clean them.
One of the two options for cleaning your bearings is by spraying. Simply spray the citrus cleaner all over the bearing. The cleaner will dissolve all the dirt without doing any damage to the bearing. When you’ve covered every nook and cranny, use a rag to dry the bearing thoroughly.
If you opt for the soaking method, get a small container, and fill it up with the citrus cleaner. Completely submerge the bearings in the cleaner and soak them for five minutes. After that, wipe away any dirt left on the bearing and dry them with a clean cloth.
Step 07: Lubricate and Wipe Down the Bearings
The bearings are small pieces that do a lot of movement. They need a thinner lubricant, just like oils used in skateboards, electronics, and sewing machines. Apply small drops of lubricant, enough to cover the whole bearing. If there is excess lubricant on the outside of the bearings, wipe them off with a paper towel.
Make sure you don’t apply too much lubricant because it can clog up the bearing. Using less lubricant is better than having clogged bearings. Do not use thick oils as well. It won’t be able to cover the entire bearing compared to thinner oils.
When wiping the bearings, be sure to handle them with care since they are quite costly. Also, see to it that no rag fuzzes would be left on the bearings after you’ve cleaned them. Grease up your wheel mount to achieve proper footing.
Step 08: Reassemble the Bearing Shields
To reapply the bearing shields, snap them back into place with your thumbs. Always remember how many shield bearings you took off, so you know how many pieces to return to their place. The shields are what protect and keep the bearings lubricated.
Step 09: Return the Bearings Back to the Wheels
With your bearings and wheels completely clean, you can now return the bearings inside the wheels. Snap the bearings back into their places using your fingers. Before snapping the other bearing back on, insert the bearing divider first. After doing this, you can now snap back the other bearing on the other side.
Step 10: Reassemble the Wheels into the Skateboard
Slide each wheel onto the truck axle. Return the axle nut to its proper place outside the wheel, and secure it with a socket wrench. Do this process for all the wheels.
If you encounter a problem that damages your wheels or bearings during any step of the process, make sure to replace the damaged items before reassembling them back to your board. Avoid using your skateboard with damaged parts because this can cause injury when it doesn’t move properly.
Do not forcefully attach the wheels to the board to avoid damage. Most parts of the wheel are small and delicate, so be gentle and take your time when reassembling your wheels.
We hope you have found our step-by-step guide on how to clean the skateboard wheels helpful.