How to Clean Longboard Bearings: Step-by-Step Guide

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Cleaning your longboard bearings is an essential maintenance task that will help prolong their lifespan and keep your rides smooth and enjoyable. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned longboarder, this guide will help you keep your bearings in top shape and ensure a great riding experience.

To Clean Longboard Bearings, follow these steps:

  1. Removing the bearings.
  2. Removal of Shields.
  3. Clean the bearings.
  4. Regreasing.
  5. Finishing Touches.
How to Clean Longboard Bearings

Steps on Cleaning Longboard Bearings

Cleaning longboard bearings is an essential maintenance task that should be performed regularly to keep your board performing at its best. Over time, bearings can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris, which can hinder their performance.

Cleaning your bearings not only improves their functionality but also prolongs their lifespan. In this article, we will outline the steps you can follow to effectively clean your longboard bearings and ensure a smooth ride.

Step 1: Removing the bearings

To remove the bearings from your longboard wheels, start by removing the nut from the axle. Then, slide the wheel onto the axle so that the innermost bearing is on the edge of the axle. To remove the bearing, you can use a skate tool or a socket wrench.

Insert the tool into the gap between the bearing and the wheel, and gently pry the bearing out using a twisting motion. Repeat this process on the other side of the wheel. By following these steps, you can easily remove the bearings from your longboard wheels and prepare them for cleaning or maintenance. Remember to handle the bearings and the tools with care to avoid any damage.

Step 2: Removal of Shields

To clean longboard bearings, you may need to remove one of the shields. Be careful when removing the shield to avoid scratching or damaging it. However, it’s important to note that you only need one shield on each bearing. For metal-shielded bearings, there may be a “C” clip present around the outer race. Take into consideration this before removing the shield.

In some cases, you can remove the balls and cage from the race for individual cleaning, but it’s not necessary unless you specifically want to go through this process. Remember to handle the shields with care and reassemble them properly after cleaning. This will help maintain the performance and durability of your longboard bearings.

Step 3: Clean the bearings

To clean longboard bearings, start by removing the bearings from your longboard wheels. If your bearings have rubber shields, use a small knife blade or a razor blade to carefully pry off the shields. For metal-shielded bearings, check for a “C” clip around the outer race and consider whether it needs to be removed.

Next, prepare a cleaning solution by filling a container with a clean solvent such as isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits. Place the bearings in the container and make sure they are fully submerged in the solution. Shake the container vigorously for about two minutes to loosen any dirt or debris stuck in the bearings.

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After shaking, remove the bearings from the cleaning solution and rinse them under warm water to remove any remaining solvent. Be sure to thoroughly dry the bearings using a clean paper towel or compressed air. Once dry, apply a few drops of lubricant to each bearing to ensure smooth rotation. Reassemble the bearings back into the wheels and tighten the axle nuts using a skate tool or socket wrench.

Step 4: Regreasing

To regrease your longboard bearings, start by ensuring they are clean and dry. You can refer to the previous instructions on how to clean longboard bearings. Once your bearings are clean and dry, it’s time to apply a fresh layer of grease.

When regreasing your bearings, it’s important to choose the right lubricant. Thinner lubricants, such as oil, provide faster rotation but are more prone to wear and tear. On the other hand, thicker greases offer better protection against debris but can slow down the speed of rotation.

For most longboard bearings, light grease or a specialized longboard bearing lube is your best bet. These lubricants strike a balance between speed and durability. Apply a small amount of grease to each bearing, making sure not to overdo it. Remember, you don’t need a lot of lubrication for smooth rotation.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

After cleaning your longboard bearings, there are a few essential finishing touches to ensure optimal performance. First, carefully reassemble the bearings back into the wheels, ensuring that they are inserted correctly. Make sure each bearing is snug and secure within the wheel.

Next, tighten the axle nuts using a skate tool or socket wrench. This step is crucial to prevent any wobbling or looseness in the wheels. However, be cautious not to tighten them too much, as this can lead to unnecessary friction and hinder smooth rotation.

Materials Needed for the Process

To clean longboard bearings, you will need a few materials. Firstly, you will need a bearing cleaner or solvent to help dissolve any dirt or debris stuck in the bearings. Isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits are commonly used as effective solvents.

  1. Cleaner/Solvent.
  2. Lubricant.
  3. Container.
  4. Knife blade or paper clip.
  5. Dryer (optional).

1. Cleaner/Solvent

When it comes to cleaning your longboard bearings, using a cleaner or solvent is essential to remove dirt and grime for optimal performance. There are various options available, such as isopropyl alcohol, citrus cleaners, and engine degreasers.

Isopropyl alcohol is a commonly used cleaner that effectively dissolves dirt. It is important to dry the bearings quickly after cleaning to prevent rust. Citrus cleaners, on the other hand, are water-based and safer to use but may leave behind residues if not dried properly. Engine degreasers and petrol can also be used as alternative solvents, but it is recommended to opt for eco-friendly approaches whenever possible.

3. Lubricant

After cleaning your longboard bearings, it is important to apply a lubricant to ensure smooth operation. When choosing a lubricant, it is recommended to use a light grease option. However, the specific type of lubricant is ultimately up to your personal preference.

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Lighter greases will make your bearings spin faster, but they are also more prone to breaking. Medium greases, on the other hand, provide better protection against dirt but will result in slower spinning bearings. If you opt for thick grease, it will effectively prevent water from entering but may attract more dirt.

When applying the lubricant, it is advisable to choose products that do not require a break-in period. This means that the lubricant will work immediately, providing you with a smoother ride right after application.

4. Container

To clean longboard bearings, it is important to use a proper container that is safe and suitable for the task. Choose a container with a sturdy lid and cap, avoiding fragile glass or plastic containers that may react with chemicals.

When cleaning the bearings, it is recommended to use a cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol or a specialized bearing cleaner. Place the bearings in the container and pour enough cleaning solution to fully submerge them.

Gently agitate the container to dislodge any dirt or debris from the bearings. You can also use a toothbrush or a bearing cleaning kit to help remove stubborn grime.

5. Knife blade or paper clip

To clean longboard bearings using a knife blade or paper clip, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by removing the wheels from the skateboard or longboard. This can be done by using a skate tool or a socket wrench to loosen and remove the axle nuts.
  2. Locate the bearings on the inside of each wheel. These are small circular metal or ceramic components that allow the wheels to spin smoothly.
  3. Take a knife blade or a paper clip and carefully insert it between the bearing shield and the outer edge of the bearing. Gently pry the shield out, being cautious not to damage the bearing itself.
  4. Once the shield has been removed, you can access the inner part of the bearing. Use a cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol or a specialized bearing cleaner to flush out any dirt or grime. You can agitate the solution with a toothbrush or a bearing cleaning kit to thoroughly clean the bearings.
  5. Rinse the bearings with warm water to remove any residue left by the cleaning solution. Pat them dry with a clean paper towel or use compressed air to ensure they are fully dry.
  6. Apply a few drops of lubricant or medium grease to each bearing. This will ensure smooth functioning and longevity.
  7. Reassemble the skateboard or longboard by placing the bearings back into each wheel and tightening the axle nuts using a skate tool or socket wrench.

Cleaning longboard bearings using a knife blade or paper clip allows you to access the bearings’ inner parts and effectively remove dirt and debris. Follow these steps carefully for optimal bearing performance and a smooth riding experience.

6. Dryer (optional)

If you want to achieve an extra level of dryness for your longboard bearings, you can use a dryer, although it is not necessary. Using a dryer can help speed up the drying process and ensure that every part of the bearing is completely dry, including the inner section.

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To use a dryer, simply remove the bearings from the cleaning solution and pat them dry with a clean paper towel or cloth. Place the bearings in a mesh laundry bag or a sock to prevent them from getting lost or damaged. Set the dryer to a low or medium heat setting and tumble dry the bearings for a few minutes.

After the drying cycle, remove the bearings from the dryer and let them cool down before handling them. Check for any remaining moisture by inspecting the bearings closely. If they still appear wet, repeat the drying process or allow them to air dry for a longer period of time.

FAQs

What is the best method to clean longboard bearings?

To clean longboard bearings, the most effective method involves removing the bearings from the wheels, wiping them down with a clean solvent like isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits, and then drying them thoroughly. You can either use a bearing cleaning kit or DIY with a toothbrush or paper towel for the cleaning process.

How often should I clean my longboard bearings?

The frequency of cleaning your longboard bearings depends on usage. If you ride in wet, dirty, or sandy conditions, it is recommended to clean them more frequently, about every 2-3 months. For regular use, cleaning them once every 6 months should be sufficient.

What should I do if my bearings are still dirty after cleaning?

If your bearings are still dirty after the initial cleaning, you can try using a small brush, like a toothbrush, to scrub away any remaining dirt or grime. Ensure all cleaning solutions are rinsed off completely. If the problem persists, it may be time to replace your bearings.

Can I use any lubricant for my longboard bearings?

It is best to use a specialized longboard bearing lubricant or a light grease specifically designed for skateboard bearings. Avoid using heavy oils or motor oil, as they can attract dirt and dust, leading to faster wear and tear.

How should I reassemble my longboard bearings after cleaning?

After cleaning, place the bearings back into the wheels, making sure they are inserted correctly. Then, tighten the axle nuts with a skate tool or socket wrench, ensuring they are snug but not over-tightened. A skate tool can be used to make the process easier.

Conclusion:

Taking the time to clean your longboard bearings is a small task that can make a big difference in your ride. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your bearings stay in top shape and provide you with a smooth and enjoyable ride every time.

So, grab your cleaning supplies and get ready to give your longboard the TLC it deserves. Your bearings will thank you, and you’ll be cruising in style in no time!

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Joseph E. Bogle

This is Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of SkateToScoot.com, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, SkateToScoot.com is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.