One of the things we should never forget when using wheeled vehicles is their maintenance. Such can be in the form of parts replacement, cleaning, repairs, or other related procedures.
And like bicycles and scooters, skateboards are susceptible to dirt build-up or general wearing. Hence, we should learn how to maintain a skateboard. With this knowledge, you can keep your skateboard in good condition. Plus, you can enjoy riding it longer.
So, keep reading.
Table of Contents
Prepare a Kit Containing the Following
- T-tool – Skate tools are the best when adjusting skateboard trucks, loosening nuts, or dealing with other hardware on the board.
- Alcohol – Alcohol is the ideal cleaning agent for bearings. It’s accessible almost anytime and is good enough to wash out dirt in the wheel cores.
- Small container
- Lubricant – Another thing we should use on skate bearings is lubricants like Bones Speed Cream. It will help keep the wheels rolling smoothly and precisely.
- Bushings – Besides cleaning and adjusting the tightness of some components, you may also have to change the bushings to maintain the truck’s responsiveness.
- Grip tape & knife – Consider changing your grip tapes, especially if that gritty layer wears out. Doing so will keep your rides safe and firm.
- Wheels – Of course, we can’t achieve a bouncy or smooth ride without a set of good-running wheels. If your wheels are old, prepare new ones.
How to Take Care of a Skateboard
Perhaps, the small details in a skateboard can overwhelm you the first time you work on them. So, for a clear discussion, we’ll have the skateboard maintenance procedures per part.
The deck carries your weight and links the rider to the rest of the skateboard’s parts. Here’s how to maintain it.
Change your grip tape.
Replacing your grip tape is a safety and stability measure. To do it, you first need to remove the old sheet laid on the deck. Scrape off the adhesive and its residues using a knife.
Next, lay the new grip tape on the stepping surface and fold the excess sheet off the edges. Trim the spare grip tape on the sides and smoothen the deck surface.
Other ways to keep the deck in good shape
- Sand the edges – Using 120 to 200 grit sandpaper, sand the sides of the deck. Work on rough patches around the board, where damage and wear are likely to happen.
- Clean the surface – The stepping surface also deals with dirt from your sneakers. So, grab a soap-damped brush and scrub the deck. It may not directly affect the skateboard’s performance, but it will make the deck look nice and clean.
But when you do this step, ensure that you dry the skateboard well before using it again.
The trucks translate your movements on the board into skateboard motions. Consider the following skateboard truck maintenance procedures.
Replace your bushings
Cracked bushings are useless. Here’s how to replace them if yours are damaged.
Begin by loosening and taking off the kingpin nut. Remove the upper washer, bushing, hanger, and another bushing again.
All these parts rest on the kingpin, so installing the new bushings will be a reverse of the first steps we performed. After pulling the old bushings off, slide the new ones, starting with the bottom washer, bottom bushing, hanger, upper bushing, and washer.
Finally, lock them with the kingpin nut.
Adjust the trucks
The truck’s tightness levels suit specific riding styles. Loose trucks yield flowy rides, and tighter trucks produce stiffer skateboard motions.
To loosen trucks on a skateboard, rotate the kingpin nut counter-clockwise using your skate tool. And if you feel the truck’s too loose, turn the kingpin hardware clockwise to restrict the truck’s movement.
For better results, adjust the truck’s tightness in quarter-turn increments. So, you can gauge the best tightness level for you.
The wheels dictate how fast and stable your ride is. So, here’s how to keep them in good running condition.
Treat your bearings
We’ll perform two procedures to maintain skateboard bearings: cleaning and lubricating them. Don’t worry, as both these steps are straightforward.
- Take the wheels off the axle. Then, remove the bearings.
- Pour alcohol into a small container that’s big enough to house the bearings.
- Submerge them in the alcohol solution, close the container, and shake it for around 30 seconds.
- After washing the dirt off the bearings, dry them for at least 15 minutes.
- Before snapping them back onto the wheels, apply some lubricant first, two drops per bearing. This step will help the wheels move smoothly when riding.
- Ensure the even distribution of the lubricating cream by spinning the outer ring. Place the bearings back to the urethane wheels and give them a firm, snug fit. Do these steps every three months for the best results.
Changing your wheels
Wheels deform over time, depending on their quality, usage, and type. Nonetheless, wheels are integral skateboard parts, and you can find several choices in many skate shops or Reddit suggestions.
Suppose you bought a new set of rollers, and you got your bearings cleaned and lubricated. So, hold a skateboard bearing, and snap it into a urethane wheel.
Slide the spacer in, and place another skate bearing on the other side of the wheel.
There are several ways to install skateboard bearings, but if you are not confident doing so, you can ask a skate shop attendant to help you.
Now that the bearings and spacers are in, it’s time to slide the wheels into the axles. Ensure that the right side of the wheel faces out.
After that, lock the urethane rollers using the axle nut. Tighten it until the wheel doesn’t wobble anymore.
Other Measures for Maintaining Skateboards
- Avoid riding on sharp surfaces to prevent chipping on the wheels.
- Always keep your skateboard dry.
- Clean your skateboard wheels to help slow down dirt build-up on the bearings.
- Keep the hardware tightly installed.
Quality skateboard parts ensure decent performance. But how long these components last depends on how you take care of them. It’s always a nice ride until some parts wear out too soon.
Knowing how to maintain a skateboard doesn’t only benefit the skateboard itself. It also ensures our safety and gives us value for our money.
So, change what needs replacement, clean what’s dirty, and refine what’s rough. We may not stretch the skateboard’s life, but we prevent its premature wear.
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.