When a skateboard slows down, it does not necessarily mean you should change parts or buy a new board. More often, you have to diagnose what causes it to move slowly. Having done such a step, you’re more likely to discover that its bearings are dirty.
So, what should we do with slow-moving wheel interiors? Clean them first. But are we going to wait until they’re grimy before cleaning? How often to clean skateboard bearings? Ideally, it should be every two to three months. Keep reading as we discuss the reason behind this frequency.
Table of Contents
- Skateboard Bearings: When and How Often to Clean Them
- What Do Other Skaters Say?
- Signs to Know When Your Skates Need Cleaning
- Steps to Clean Skateboard Bearings
- Frequently Asked Questions
Skateboard Bearings: When and How Often to Clean Them
Like any skateboard part, wheel bearings also need maintenance. These components may be small and look insignificant, but neglecting them for months could compromise our skateboard’s performance.
So, how frequently should you clean roller skate bearings? Once every two to three months is the answer.
Are there exceptions? Yes. Take note of the following.
1. Skating environment
Where you skate affects the condition of your bearings. For example, you tend to ride on a dusty road. What are the chances your skateboard won’t catch some dirt? Unfortunately, none.
Dust and dirt are particles tiny enough to penetrate your bearings. While some debris is tolerable, too much of it could lead to a more concerning issue.
Debris will build up inside the wheel core and cause friction against the bearings. The effect? Sluggish skateboard movement.
2. Frequency of skating
Besides your skateboarding location, how frequently you ride your board could also impose a more frequent bearings cleaning routine.
Suppose that you ride your skateboard more than a couple of times in a month, you might have to clean the wheel cores once every month.
What Do Other Skaters Say?
I came across a Reddit discussion on this topic, the frequency of cleaning longboard bearings.
Some skateboard owners went years without cleaning these parts but kept them in good running condition. Others depend on indicators that call for bearing cleaning.
Signs to Know When Your Skates Need Cleaning
So, what indicators suggest you clean your skates, particularly the bearings?
1. Noisy bearings
If you have skated with dirty wheel cores, you might have compared how they sounded to when you first had them. Once these parts create weird, unnecessary sounds, you had better check them.
2. Too much visible dust
As mentioned, skating in dusty areas makes your bearings attract more dirt. If you see grime and other particles building up on the wheel core’s surface, why not clean it?
3. Wheels won’t turn freely on a finger flick.
Quality wheels with precision bearings spin for seconds when clean and lubricated, even when only flicked by your hand. If they fail to roll or do so sluggishly, consider cleaning them.
Steps to Clean Skateboard Bearings
Now, we know when to clean inline skate bearings and identify the signs that suggest maintenance is necessary. Let’s now learn how to do it.
Step 1: Prepare the following
- Isopropyl alcohol as a solvent for cleaning bearings
- Ceramic container
- Paper towel
- Razor blade
- Bones bearings Speed Cream or lubricant
Step 2: Prepare the cleaning solution.
After you remove bearings from roller skate wheels or skateboard, the next thing you should prepare is your liquid cleaning solution.
Take your isopropyl alcohol and ceramic container. Pour the solvent into the container until it’s 1 inch deep, enough to soak the bearings.
Step 3: Remove gunk off the bearings
Grab your paper towel and remove the dirt, dust, and other particles on the bearing’s surfaces.
Next, take your razor blade and flick the shields off the wheel cores. But be careful so that you don’t bend the thin discs. Otherwise, you will need to replace them.
Step 4: Soak the bearings
Place the wheel cores in the alcohol roller skate bearing cleaner. Sway the container to make the solvent move around and penetrate the bearings. Leave the wheel interiors in the alcohol for at least 30 minutes.
You can also let them sit overnight. But once you see the alcohol darken too much due to grime, you might as well change it.
Step 5: Dry the bearings
Your bearings should be fresh and squeaky clean after soaking them in the alcohol solution.
The next thing we do is dry them. So, take another paper towel. Place it on a flat, dry surface. Remove the bearings from the alcohol solution and lay them flat on the towel.
Some skaters use a hairdryer to ensure the wheel interiors are fully dry. Whether you rub them with towels or expose them to heat, use Speed Cream to lubricate roller skate bearings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the common types of bearings and their maintenance levels?
Essentially, two types of bearings are popular in the skateboarding world: steel and ceramic. But are these wheel cores identical in maintenance?
Steel wheel cores require cleaning after every skateboard ride. Are we exaggerating? No. The steel used as a wheel core tends to expand once it heats up.
And what causes it to heat up? More frequent and heavy use.
On the other hand, ceramic bearings free skaters from tedious bearing maintenance work after every ride. Ceramics don’t react like steel under high heat and friction. Hence, they are often a top choice for their low-maintenance profile.
Is it worth cleaning skateboard bearings?
Absolutely! By how bearings add magic to every skateboard ride, you would appreciate what cleaning does.
Cleaning skateboard bearings might not restore them to their brand-new state, but doing so will help keep them performing well longer.
Try comparing two bearings with only one cleaned and the other ignored. The clean one works better and is faster, right?
Besides keeping your skateboard’s performance at the top level, cleaning your bearings will save you a few months from buying new ones.
How long do skateboard bearings usually last?
Yes, cleaning your skateboard bearings brings a significant impact. Unfortunately, that impact doesn’t last a lifetime. The good news is cleaning makes your wheel cores live longer.
But notwithstanding maintenance, skateboard bearings can last as long as six months to 1 year. The estimate could be shorter, depending on the skating intensity.
Skateboard bearings are as vital as other components of the board. If grip tape stabilizes riders and the trucks translate your movements, the wheel cores keep your entire ride smooth and precise.
Hence, maintaining skateboard bearings should also be as critical as keeping other parts in good shape. And now that you know how often to clean skateboard bearings, you can finally be more confident about your wheel core maintenance routine.
Remember the signs and factors as well as the best cleaning practices. By then, your bearings will perform better and longer.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.