If you’re a frequent skateboarder, you’re probably aware of how satisfying it is when your board responds to your motions – and you’re also aware that this sensation is contingent on your board’s continued proper operation. A build-up of dirt and muck in your board’s bearings, for example, might prevent the wheels from spinning as easily as they should, and dirty grip tape can cause you to slip and lose your balance when you’re riding your board. Knowing how to clean skateboard wheels, grip tape properly, and bearings are necessary for aesthetic reasons and critical for your safety.
First and foremost, we need to choose a location where you will be able to remove your wheels and, eventually, your bearings. It would be perfect if you had a beautiful flat workbench in your garage or garden to use. You may also take the road of the skate rat and clean your bearings on the concrete. Perhaps the parking lot of your local skatepark or wherever you can find a level concrete surface to complete the task.
You should put down a towel and have lots of paper towels available to clean your bearings inside to minimize the mess. If you are inexperienced or underage, you should seek adult supervision before handling sharp items or instruments.
You’ve arrived at the most difficult part of cleaning your skateboard bearings. It goes without saying that you must remove your bearings from the wheels to clean them. The alternative is to just wipe the side of the bearings for little more than aesthetic sake. To use a crowbar leverage effect, remove the bolts from your wheels with your skate tool or a wrench, and then put the wheel on the mouth of the bearing at a 45-degree angle. By pressing down on the wheel with your hand and using some elbow grease, you may force the bearing out of the wheel with your body weight. Repeat the process until all eight bearings have been removed and placed in a safe location or container.
This is the point at which the engineering portion of the cleaning process begins. By now, you should be shocked at the amount of dirt, crud, and filth that has accumulated on your bearings. You most likely have a substantial amount of it in your possession. It is for this reason that we have paper towels. Use a paper towel to clear out the grime accumulated on the outside of your bearing shields so that when we remove them, we will have a lot more thorough cleaning experience.
After you’ve cleaned the outside of your bearings, it’s time to take your bearings to the shop for a thorough cleaning and inspection. The most typical method is to use a razor blade. However, any tool that can be used to reach beneath the bearing shield can be used in this situation. By removing the shields from each bearing, we can see the ABEC bearing balls that are contained therein. This is where the most harmful material will be found, and it is also where our cleaning will yield the greatest benefit in the long run. It should be noted that rotating the bearing before moving to step 4 will allow you to determine how big of a difference the cleaning made after the fact.
If you repeatedly rotate the bearing without success, you may need to replace the bearings entirely. In any case, cleaning them is a worthwhile endeavor. As a result, let’s go on to the following phase.
The entire purpose of cleaning your bearings is to extend their service life and lower the expenditures of obtaining new ones in the long run. So, you can get some isopropyl-based alcohol at your local convenience shop, depending on where you live. Fill a disposable cup or a ceramic cup with approximately an inch of water or enough to submerge all eight of your bearings completely. Place each bearing in the cup when they have been entirely freed of their shields and allow the alcohol to do its work.
You’ll want to keep them in there for a minimum of 30 minutes, swishing and whirling the bearings every now and then. You should notice the alcohol becoming dark and brown almost instantly as the muck dissolves into it. If you are near a sink and can avoid touching your face and wash your hands quickly, some skaters may attempt to spin the bearings while in the cup to get the most cleaning possible. This is not suggested, but it is possible.
In addition, it should be noted that some skaters prefer to leave the bearing shields on rather than remove them when skating. There is substantial disagreement surrounding this subject, but many of the top professionals are firm believers in removing the shields. You have the option of putting them back on, but the procedure can be time-consuming and frustrating when contrasted to the benefits of leaving them off.
Putting speed cream or another lubrication is an optional step here since speed cream is an additional investment. While it does extend the life of your bearings, it does not clean them technically. Having said that, once lubricant or speed cream has been applied, leaving the shields off might actually cause additional crud and filth to accumulate on the vehicle. Also, lubrication does not imply the use of water, which would corrode your bearings and cause them to fail. It also excludes the use of WD40, which, when used as a last option, can help extend the life of your bearings but is also known to cause more harm than good when used early.
This can result in quicker bearings if you’re willing to put the shields back on or if you’re confident in your ability to apply the speed cream or lubricant while the shields are off. A good middle-of-the-road and time-tested skate-trick is to just apply the speed cream to the sides of the bearings that face inward toward the wheel so that they are not exposed to the debris outside. You may also apply the speed cream and then refrain from skating for a few hours to allow the lubricant to dry to its maximum extent.
It’s time to appreciate the rewards of your hard work now that the greatest and hardest phases of the process are finished. After allowing your skateboard bearings to soak in the cup of isopropyl alcohol for at least 30 minutes, remove each bearing from the solution and wipe them clean and dry with a paper towel. Spin your freshly cleaned bearings to put your cleaning to the test, and perhaps, if you followed our advice correctly, your bearings will have a new lease on life. Utilize compressed air now to thoroughly clean the hard-to-reach locations inside the bearings if you’re lucky enough to have it available. The usage of a hairdryer to dry their bearings and/or create this effect has been reported by several skaters in the past.
After that, your skateboard’s wheel and bearing should be free of debris. Now that you know how to clean a skateboard wheel and bearing, you should be able to extend your skateboard’s life significantly.