If the races or balls of your bearings are damaged, you have no option but to replace these parts. On the other hand, if your bearings have no cracks or visual irregularities, it’s possible to fix a bearing yourself.
How to fix skateboard bearings? There are several ways in which you can still fix a skateboard bearing. Sometimes, you can fix bearings simply by just checking and cleaning them.
Here’s the complete step-by-step guide on how to properly clean skateboard bearings using proper tools, (In case the tools below are not available, refer to this tutorial to more details).
Table of Contents
The Necessary Materials/tools
The first thing that you need to do is to prepare the necessary materials you will need to finish the whole process. The tools that will be necessary are the following:
- Socket Wrench/Ratchet
- Skate Tool or T-Tool
- Bearing Pole
- Cloth (2 pieces)
- Clean bowl
- Acetone/a milder solvent (mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol)
- Gloves (if you use acetone)
- X-acto knife/paperclip
- Canned air (optional)
How to Clean Skateboard Bearings
These are the steps in cleaning your skateboard bearings.
Step 1: Remove the Bearings
- Detach the skateboard wheels. You can use several tools in removing the wheels. You can use either of the following – the socket wrench, skate tool, or ratchet. Use the tool to loosen the nuts that hold the wheels. Alternatively, you can also loosen without tools, click here for more.
- The right way to do this is to hold your skateboard in a steady position and apply hard pressure to loosen the bolts.
- Secure the removed parts. Skateboard bearings consist of much smaller parts such as nuts, washers, and bolts. They are very small; this is the reason why they can be lost easily. Avoid encountering this problem by putting these smaller parts in a safe container box upon removing them from the board.
- For checking, there should be a bolt and a washer or two for every wheel removed.
- Remove skateboard bearings. You can use either a screwdriver or needle-nose pliers in removing your skateboard bearings from the wheels.
You can also use a thick metal rod as an improvised bearing puller. Put it through the bearing opening where the axle goes, hold the bearing on the opposite side, and then softly tap the metal rod using a hammer. Note that this method is not optimal, as your bearings may suffer damage.
Step 2: Clean The Bearings
- Remove dirt and other contaminants. Carefully wipe off distinctive dirt using a paper towel or clean rag, whichever is available. Wiping dirt out in a careful manner will prevent the dirt from entering the innermost part of the bearings.
- Make a cleaning solution. Put acetone or a grease cleaning solvent inside a clean bowl or basin. You can also make use of rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits as they appear to be cheaper and less harsh compared to other commercial cleaners.
- Fill the bowl with the solution as much as needed so your bearings are submerged inside.
- It is recommended to use a milder solvent rather than acetone in cleaning your bearings. But when there is no other option left, protect yourself by wearing gloves when handling harsh solvents.
- When a milder solvent is put in the cleansing solution, you do not need to wear gloves, but you have to wait longer for the solvent to fully clean your bearings.
- Popping off shield caps. By using the point of an X-acto knife or any thin and tiny object such as a safety pin or paper clip, pry out the bearings’ rubber shield. These rubber shields usually come in a black or red color.
- After you have successfully removed the cap, you will see the tiny metal balls known as the ball bearings.
- Submerge the bearings. Put the bearings in the solvent solution that you prepared and then swirl them around for five minutes. Leave the bearings sitting in the solution for another ten minutes.
- Dry skateboard bearings completely. After ten minutes of submerging the bearings in the solution, you can remove them and dry them out completely using a paper towel or dry rag. Make sure that you put the bearings in a safe place as you dry them to prevent them from getting lost or misplaced.
If you want the bearings to dry a little bit faster, you can use canned air. Point the canned air into the open part of the bearings and use your hand to spray air at them as you move the bearings with your fingers in a circular motion.
Step 3: Reassemble and Grease Skateboard Bearings
- Lubricant application. It is highly recommended to use Teflon-based lubricants that are made especially for skateboard bearings. Two or three drops are enough to put in each bearing. Spin the bearing to evenly distribute the lubricant inside.
- Remember that the use of other oils, such as motor oil and cooking oil, will damage your bearings. Even W40 is not recommended at all, for it can only do good for your bearings for a short period of time and may just damage your bearings in the end.
- Put the bearing and bearing shield to their proper place. Carefully put the shields into their original place. Put the bearings back and ensure there is no gap.
- Put the bearings back into the wheels; use your finger to push each bearing onto the wheels. Then, push the wheel onto the board’s truck with a firm force.
- Refasten your skateboard wheels. Remember to put a washer on each wheel before tightening the bolts. Make sure that you do this correctly, so the bolts are not too tight and not too loose. Testing is required to make sure that each wheel is able to move freely.
Here’s a short video tutorial to help you out with the process in a simpler way.
How to fix skateboard bearings? Generally, cleaning and greasing your bearings will help in fixing them. I hope this article was able to provide you with the step-by-step guide that you need in cleaning and eventually fixing your skateboard bearing problems.
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