How to Clean Skateboard Bearings? 3 Easy steps
Conventional skateboard bearings have two types, ceramic and steel ball bearings. Depending on the experience level and skateboarding style of each person, you can choose the right ring. This is considered a very important part of the skateboard, it is small in size, helps the wheel to move and determines the player’s sliding speed. Over time dirt will adhere to the bearings and affect the bearings performance. Therefore, players need to know how to clean the skateboard bearings to limit attrition and prevent seizing up.
What are skateboard bearings?
Skateboard bearings are designed in a circular shape with a small size, allowing your wheels to roll smoothly, control speed while moving, and help skateboarders move easily. This bearings will consist of 5 main parts which are the outer ring, inner ring, ball, shield and retainers. Normally, for a longboard requiring 8 bearings, each wheel will have 2 bearings.
All of the skateboard bearings will be the same size, and you can easily change any position on your skateboard. Selecting the right bearings depends on your driving style and level of skateboarding experience. Usually, bearings will be of two types, steel and ceramic bearings. For beginners, it is advisable to choose steel bearings to use because they are relatively inexpensive and have a quite high durability. As for ceramic bearings, this type will have lighter weight and more solidity than steel bearings. This also means that its price will be much more expensive. However, when using ceramic rings you get faster movement and less friction of the ball. More specifically, this type of skateboard bearing has a self-cleaning mechanism, limits dust, and does not take much time to clean at home.
How to clean skateboard bearings?
When used for a long time, skateboard bearings will accumulate dirt and sand, affecting the player’s speed and ability to perform some risky moves. Therefore, it is important to get in the habit of cleaning your skateboard bearings to minimize attrition and increase its speed. Moreover, it prevents wheels from getting stuck on the go. So how to clean skateboard bearings? There are some steps for cleaning skateboard bearings below:
1. Removing the bearings
Step 1: Preparing the necessary materials
For cleaning more quickly and smoothly, you need to prepare all the necessary items to assist in removing and mounting the appropriate ball. Some tools that you will need to prepare in advance are:
solvents, bearing lubricants, wrench, razors (or safety pins), solvent container (or bowl), rag (or toothbrush), the tray for the hardware.
Step 2: Removing wheels of skateboard
To do this easily you need to use a socket wrench, a slide tool or a ratchet wheel to loosen the wheel fixing nuts. The gripper can also hold the board in place and push it hard to loosen the bolts.
Step 3: Storing removed parts in a safe place
If you do not have items to store the removed parts, it is very easy to lose the washers, nuts or other parts. To reduce this, you need a plastic bag or other objects to keep them carefully.
Step 4: Releasing the bearing from the wheel
The ball bearing will be small in shape and occupy the core of the wheel. After removing the wheels, you can use a screwdriver to pry off the bearings lightly or you can use the needle-nose pliers to slowly pull the rings out. In case you do not have the necessary tools available, it is possible to apply a wheel on the truck then use the truck as levers to remove the bearings.
However, it is important to ensure that only one bearing remains on the wheel at this time. After releasing the bearing first you should remove the speed ring (this is the gasket for the bearing holder available only on some boards).
When you do not have a bearing puller, you can replace it with a thick metal bar while making sure it fits in the clearance of the bearing. When filling in the metal bar, you need to touch the bearing and use the hammer to gently strike the rod. However, this can potentially damage the bearing, so be very careful when doing it.
2. Cleaning the bearings
Step 1: Cleaning major dirt
Use a paper towel or a dry rag to gently remove dirt from the outside of the bearing. Attention should be paid to gentle handling, do not use bearings to grind dirt. For large stains that are difficult to clean, you can use a moderate amount of solvent to soak into a rag or paper towel for easier removal.
Step 2: Preparing cleaning liquid
Use clean buckets for solvents or acetone and to clean grease. Or you can use rubbing alcohol or mineral alcohol with a sufficient amount that can flood the bearings. Wear gloves when using acetone, as this is a fairly strong solvent. However, you can also choose mild solvents to do the cleaning. When using mild mineral oil solvents you need to soak bearings for a longer time.
Step 3: Turning on the bearing shield
Hold the bearing in your hand so that using a thin, small object such as a paperclip, pin or the tip of an X-acto knife, pry the rubber barrier up from the bearing. These caps will usually be red or black. After the bearing has been removed, you will be able to see the small metal balls.
Step 4: Soaking the bearings in solvent
Put all of the skateboard bearings in detergent solution and rotate for about 5 minutes. Then soak in that solution for another 10 minutes. If each solution turns too dark, you need to add a little more solution. Do this several times until the skateboard bearings are completely clean.
Step 5: Removing and drying the bearings
Use a clean rag or paper towel to spread it flat. Then remove the balls and place them on so they can dry out. You should dry them until they are completely dry.
3. Greasing and reassembling the bearings
Step 1: Increasing the drying speed
Allow the bearing to dry for 10 to 15 minutes. If you want to shorten this time, you can use canned air to spin the bearings to help the ball dry faster. You need to direct the canned air into the open space of the bearing and start spraying. If they do not rotate, it is necessary to use fingers to rotate the bearings, rotating while spraying air.
Step 2: Applying lubricant
You should choose a specific lubricant for skateboard bearings. For each bearing, you only need to apply 2 to 3 drops of lubricant. Once the lubricant has been added, rotate the bearing to allow the liquid to flow evenly all around.
You should not use machine oil, cooking oil or other substances as a substitute for the lubricating solution. Not even the WD -40 is used in this case to avoid drying out the bearing, causing damage in a short time.
Step 3: Replacing the bearing shields
Putting the guards in place but you should ensure that the bearing and the seals that hold the bearing shield are complete. Check carefully to make sure that there are no gaps.
Step 4: Reassembling the bearing
Use your fingers to push each bearing into the wheel as tightly as possible. Then, push the wheels down on the skateboard as much as possible. In case you have an external washer for the bearing, be careful to put the washer to keep the bearings.
Step 5: Refastening the wheel
Now that the bearings are stabilized in the wheels, you simply need to mount the wheel back to its original position with the truck. Then use force to tighten the bolts to make the wheel harden. After reassembling, the wheels will shake slightly.
Step 6: Comprehensive testing
You should make sure that the wheels are fastened correctly. Do not tighten the nut too tightly so as not to obstruct the wheel’s ability to rotate. Use your hands to check the wheels, rotate each wheel to ensure stable movement. If one or more wheels are difficult to turn, loosen the wheel latch on the truck.
The above article has helped you answer the question “How to clean skateboard bearings?”. You should follow the instructions above to be able to clean the bearings, help the skateboard move smoothly and limit attrition that affects speed when skateboarding.