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After a particular time of use, the new skateboard bearings become old, full of dirt and grime. Due to that, the bearings start making unpleasant noises, and the performance drops. So, nothing but a thorough cleaning is a must in that situation. When the same happened with my bearings, I was not aware of the cleaning process. Then I took the internet’s help and found helpful directions about how to clean skateboard bearings. Today I’ll share those steps and my experience with you guys.
So, how do we start the cleanings? It all starts from getting the bearings out of the wheels and ends with reinstalling them inside the wheels. Throughout the entire process, you have to use some essential tools and materials. I’ll mention them in the following 8 steps.
Detach the Skateboard Bearings
The first and foremost step is to get the skateboard bearings out of the wheels. It is not a complicated proceeding at all. You have to be more cautious and careful while doing this so that the bearings don’t get damaged. To execute the first step, you’ll need a 13mm socket wrench or ‘T’ shaped skateboard tool.
- Use the socket wrench or skateboard tool to unscrew the axle nut
- Bring out the washers
- Slide the wheels to the axle’s tip
- Pry out the bearings with a gentle pressure
- Flip the wheel and follow the same for the other bearings
Clean Off Initial Dirt in the Bearings
After you have removed the bearings, you have to clean the initial dirt and grime on the bearings’ outer surface. A clean piece of rag or paper towel will work for you here. Following this step, you’ll be able to make the bearings 40% dirt free. Though some unpleasantly sticky dirt never goes away by simply rubbing with a rag, this will help you to minimize it. Be gentle while doing this. You surely don’t want to grind dirt into the bearings rather than cleaning it.
Remove the Bearing Shields
The bearing shields are used to protect the bearing balls inside from dirt and large particles. But some small particles and grime can easily enter into the bearing balls and lessen the grease. As a result, the bearings cannot roll smoothly and get stuck. So the aim of removing the bearing shields is to make the cleaning process more thorough and detailed. As a tool, you may use a safety pin, a needle, or a paperclip.
- Hold the bearings in your hand and set the safety pin or paperclip into the bearing housing
- Pry out the bearing shields
Make Your Preferred Cleaning Solution
All the cleaning solutions are one kind of liquid containing harsh chemicals. These harsh chemicals are meant to wipe out the gunky dirt. You may use acetone, mineral spirits, wd-40, citrus cleaner, or rubbing alcohol as a cleaning solution. The harsher the solvent is, the more effective it is. But there lies a possibility of damaging the bearings. So it would be wise if you choose any milder one. The experts suggest not using acetone every time you clean but to wear gloves while using acetone.
- Take a small bucket or a bowl or a tray
- Fill it with the sufficient amount of cleaning solvent
Submerge the Bearings in the Cleaning Solvent
After pouring the cleaning solvent into the bucket or bowl, it’s time to submerge the bearings in the cleaning solvent. This is the most crucial stage of cleaning the bearings. If you haven’t cleaned them for a long time, you may have to add more cleaning solvent or repeat this process several times until the bearings become dirt free. The reason behind that is the extreme dirt and grime.
- Put all the bearings in the cleaning solution
- Agitate the bearings to disperse the dirt
- Thus keep the bearings at least for 15 minutes
Dry the Bearings until Fully Dried
After completing the previous step, you need to dry the bearings properly. You have to make sure that the bearings are fully dry before proceeding further. The bearings will be rusted away if you mistakenly keep it wet. The best way to dry out the bearings is to let them air dry. You may use a blow dryer as well if you are in a hurry.
- Take out the bearings from the cleaning solvent
- Choose a perfect place to make the bearings dry
- Place the bearings over a clean rag or paper towel.
- Use canned air to dry out and spin the bearing balls
Apply an Appropriate Lubricant
The above-stated steps were about wiping out the heavy dirt and grime inside the wheel bearings. But in that process, necessary grease and lubricants also become wiped out. So, you need to apply an appropriate lubricant to roll the bearings properly again. Teflon or Silicone based lubricant works best in this regard. But you should not go for any sticky substance.
- Take 2/3 drops of grease or lubricant on each bearing
- Spin the bearings so that the lubricant gets distributed evenly.
Reinstall the Bearings in Place
The last step requires you to reassemble the bearings. That means you have to reattach the bearing shields carefully. You can do so with your hand’s firm pressure. After that, place the bearings inside the wheels and reinstall them in axle rods.
A good cleaning session means increasing the bearing’s lifespan and longevity. And who wants to buy new bearings frequently? Nobody does. So it’s your responsibility to take care of the bearings. If you are a commuter, then at least once in a week, you should clean them. The entire process is in your hand. All you have to do is follow them, respectively.