Cleaning your longboard or skateboard bearings is quite a time-consuming exercise, but it’s worth doing if you’ve got the time, inclination, and you want to save yourself a few quid on some new bearings. At Vandem Longboards we have created a handy step-by-step guide.
You will need:
• About half an hour that you value less than spending £15 on a new set of bearings. If you’re reading this it’s probably dark outside, or raining, or both. If it’s sunny, stop right now and go skateboarding – cleaning your bearings is not for daylight!
• Skate Tool or 1/2″ Socket to take your wheels off
• Knife blade, pin or something else small, sharp and pointy
• Grease – for maximum protection against water at the expense of roll speed, use a thick engine grease. We recommend Bones Speed Cream – it doesn’t protect from water ingress as well, but it’s specially designed for skateboard bearings and it rolls much faster.
• Degreaser or solvent – we use Citrus degreaser for this. Petrol is a good alternative, or WD40 if you can’t find anything else. Engine degreaser or similar will work too.
• A bit of rag
• A metal or plastic tin with a lid
• A flat work surface that’s clean, dry and well lit.
• Optional – Hair dryer. We’re using a heat gun set on the “cold” setting.
You’ll need to remove your bearings from your board first… Check out our “how to swap your wheels round superfast” page for a quick way of doing this…
Use the knife blade or whatever you have to remove the rubber shield. Be very careful not to bend the shield when taking it off!!!
3a. OPTIONAL – Remove cages and balls
If you’re feeling brave and really want to do a proper job, you can take the balls and cages out and clean then individually. Use your knife blade to prize the cage out. Be VERY careful not to damage the cage, you’re buying new bearings if you do.
Push all the balls to one side of the bearing race and drop the inner race out. It make take a bit of force to do this. Be VERY careful not to loose any of the balls! If you insist on doing this step then we can recommend doing the whole operation on a tea tray with a lip, this way if you drop anything you shouldn’t loose it. A well-organised and well-lit working area really pays off here.
Put the bearings in your tin, and fill with degreaser. Put the lid on the tin, give everything a good shake. You can leave the bearings for a few minutes/an hour/overnight if you’re not in a rush – it’ll help all the old grease and dirt come off.
Use your rag to clean each bearing, spinning it until it’s smooth. If you’ve taken all the balls and races out, put the bearings back together after you’ve cleaned each part individually.
You can just leave your bearings to dry, or you can give them a quick blast with a hair dryer to speed things up. Most degreasers just evaporate by themselves fairly quickly.
If you’re using a thin grease, dab a spot on each ball. If you’re using a thicker grease to keep the water out, pack the race full of it!
8.Put Shields Back on
If you managed to keep your shields flat when you took them off, they should just drop straight back in. Please be gentle to avoid bending!