How To Clean Skateboard Bearings

Skateboarding may be a word that brings to mind images of Tony Hawk spinning through the air, but did you know that skateboarding can also be extremely beneficial for your physical and mental health?

Not only is skateboarding a great reason to get out of the house, but it also burns calories and can help to heighten your physical endurance, flexibility and precision. However, this does not mean that it doesn’t come with its setbacks.

While skateboards can be fun, they can also be very dangerous and require constant maintenance to remain in good condition. For example, skateboard bearings often need to be cleaned to maintain the board’s speed and use.

How To Clean Skateboard Bearings

Fortunately, cleaning your skateboard bearing is a rather simple process, although you will need the correct tools and supplies to get the job done. So if you want to know how you can clean your skateboard bearings, then you have come to the right place.

In the following article, we are going to teach you how to clean your bearings using common household items, while also explaining what you will need and some helpful tips to ease the process.

So if you want to keep your skateboard in good condition, this article on “How to Clean Skateboard Bearings” has everything you need to get started…

What You Will Need

Before we can teach you how to clean your skateboard bearings, you must first gather the necessary tools and materials.

Fortunately, we have provided a detailed list of everything you will need in the following section so that you can keep note of the supplies:

  • Skate tool
  • Tray
  • Razorblade
  • Clean cloth
  • Toothbrush
  • Solvent
  • Container or bowl
  • Bearing lubricant

Once you have gathered everything, you can begin cleaning your skateboard bearings by following these simple steps…

Step One: Remove The Wheels

The first step when learning how to clean skateboard bearings, is removing the wheels from your board, which can be done using a common skate tool.

Start by removing the axle nuts with your skate tool (or wrench) and sliding the wheels off of your truck axle. While doing this, make sure to keep track of the washers between the axle nuts and the inside of the axle bearings.

For the best results, we recommend organizing the axle nuts and speed washers in a small plastic tray, so that you can know where everything is and reduce the chances of losing the small pieces.

Step Two: Remove The Bearings

For the next step, you will need to remove your bearings from the wheels, which can be done by using the axle of your truck to pry them out.

To do this, slide the wheel halfway onto the end of the axel so that only one bearing is present. When you have done this, you can catch the axle inside the bearing and twist the wheel outward to pry the bearing out.

Repeat this process until all the bearings have been removed and then pop off the bearing shields using the razor blade (or safety pin). While doing this, make sure not to bend or misshape the shield, as this could make it difficult to put the bearings back on.

During this step, it is advisable to keep track of the bearings by storing them in your hardware tray.

Step Three: Soak The Bearings

Step Three: Soak The Bearings

When the bearings have been removed from your wheels, you will need to clean them using a cleaner or solvent that is NOT water-based.

For this, solutions such as acetone, isopropyl alcohol and mineral spirits are all good options, although they will need to be handled with a certain level of care. When it comes to using solvents, it is advisable to wear gloves and protective clothing to reduce contact with your skin.

Take a large bowl or container and soak the bearings for several minutes before swirling them around in the cleaner. When you have done this, take a clean cloth or toothbrush and scrub the bearings to remove the unwanted debris.

It is also possible to purchase bearing cleaning kits (such as this one) from online retailers, which will allow you to vigorously clean the bearings without damaging them.

Step Four: Re-Lubricate The Bearings

Once the unwanted dirt and debris have been removed, take the bearings out of the cleaner and dry them as quickly as possible.

For this, you can tap the bearings down on a clean cloth or paper towel and spin them around until the liquid has been removed. It is also possible to dry the bearings using a hairdryer or can of compressed air.

When the bearings have been thoroughly dried, the next step is to re-lubricate them before reattaching them to your board. This is considered a crucial step, as skateboarding with dry wheels can cause friction and further damage.

During this process, we recommend using a skate-specific bearing lubricant such as Bones Speed Cream or Liberty Oil. All you have to do is apply 1 – 2 drops of the lube to the inside of the bearing and then spin it to evenly distribute the product.

Make sure to repeat this process until all eight bearings have been re-lubricated, otherwise, you could damage your wheels and board.

Step Five: Replace The Bearings

The final step in our guide, ‘How to Clean Skateboard Bearings’, is to replace the bearing shields back onto your skateboard, which is a lot easier than it sounds.

All you have to do is take the bearings and set them in place before pressing gently until they snap back together. When you have done this with each bearing, you can reattach the wheels to your board and start skating.

Important Things To Remember

While cleaning your skateboard bearings can be a simple process, there are certain things that you should remember:

  • When it comes to cleaning skateboard bearings, many people mistake this as having to clean the wheels, which is not the same thing. While you have to remove the wheels to clean the bearings, they are two different parts.
  • Longboards use the same bearings as skateboards, which means you can use this method to also clean longboard bearings.
  • If you are cleaning bearings with metal shields, your experience may be somewhat limited but still beneficial. However, if they have rubber shields, you can use the above method to keep them clean.
  • Some skateboards are built with bearing spacers between the two bearings, while others will feature built-in spacers. Because of this, you will need to keep track of these spacers by placing them in your hardware tray.
  • When re-lubricating your bearings, you should never use WD40, as the effects of this product have a short shelf life and can leave your bearings dry and susceptible to rust.
  • Always make sure to replace the bearing spacers between the bearings before inserting them into the wheels.
  • It is important to always place the speed washers back onto the truck axle before tightening the axle nuts.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on: How to Clean Skateboard Bearings

Cathy Welks
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