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The second life of bearings: how to properly clean and lubricate your skateboard bearings

Even the coolest bearings need to be cleaned! Of course, if you ride in your home indoor park and your mom washes the floors there every time, then this guide is not for you. Also, this educational program will not be useful for those who, without a twinge of conscience, race on their “sliver” through puddles, mud, etc.. If you want to “resurrect” your heaps that have huddled in the street and are preventing you from gaining moves normally, then This guide is especially for you.

How do you know when to clean your bearings?

You bought yourself Bones Swiss Ceramic (very, very expensive bearings that cost more than a whole set from any Russian skate brand) and you understand that after long-term use they don’t ride as well as the first time. This is the first signal that the bearings need to be sent to a service station. Also, if when testing the wheel at idle you clearly see that it is locked (! BUT if you tightened the wheel nut too much and it does not allow the bearing to rotate normally, then there is no need to clean the bearings), then it is better to clean everything right away.

The most common reasons that the board “does not move”:

  • a lot of dirt has clogged under the anthers, which interferes with the normal rotation of the bearing;
  • the inside of the outer ring or the balls themselves are rusted. The friction coefficient in the bearing has increased, and the smooth running has disappeared (of course, this does not threaten ceramic bearings);
  • on the advice of a friend, you lubricated the bearings with grease (or any other thick lubricant) and in 1 second of riding you grabbed everything you could from a clean road.

How to remove bearings from a wheel?

We hope that you have already acquired a skate tool, with which you can easily unscrew all the nuts on the wheel axles. No, you didn’t buy it? Fine. Find a socket wrench size 13. You can also tighten all the nuts with it, but through the block stump.

After this, you can remove the wheels, BUT do not lose the small washers that are placed on both sides of the wheel on the axle to make tightening easier. That’s it, the wheels have been removed, now let’s take out the bearings. You can also remove the bearings from the wheel using a screwdriver. For Chinese wheels, this trick is easy. It will no longer be so easy to get nicks out of branded hard wheels.

The best assistant in removing bearings is the wheel axle. With its help it is quite easy to get the tightest specimen. Well, then the magic of cleansing begins.

Cleaning steps

  1. We wipe away dirt, grease and other mechanical debris. In any case, your bearings are dirty in some way. Take a dry microfiber cloth, whatever you like, and wipe the bearings clean, placing them on a clean surface.
  2. We take out the “anthers”. Some people don’t even know that skate bearings are dismountable. The colored plugs are called boots, which prevent dirt from getting inside. But often they can work in the opposite direction, i.e. collect dust. It’s easy to get the boot out – you just need to crawl under it with a needle and push it out. Don’t be afraid, try, you will always be able to put it in its place.

If you skip this step and start cleaning right away, you will not achieve a noticeable effect. Despite the fact that cleaning will be done with liquid agents, the dirt will not be able to be washed out completely, since these rings will hold it inside the bearing.

The test subjects were Footwork, Sk8mafia and FKD skateboard bearings. An interesting point – on the Sk8mafia and FKD bearings the boots were rubber and came out very easily. 5 ABEC from Footwork is equipped with metal anthers that are rigidly spaced in the ring. Attempts to get at least one were unsuccessful (although it was possible to remove the boot on one bearing, but it was bent and could not be put back). We decided to wash it against the rules – along with the anthers.

Mine, mine, mine

If you took the title literally, then you can easily wash the bearings under cold water and say goodbye to them forever. Of course, this is bad advice. It is best to wash, or rather rinse, the rotating parts of a skateboard in acetone, white spirit, or, at worst, gasoline. Pour it into a small sealable container and wash out all the impurities with regular shaking.

Of course, for adherents of the art of washing bearings, a “skewer” has long been invented for the most convenient and simple process of this process – Bones Bearings Cleaning Unit.

With the help of such a container, the process is much more convenient.

“Lubricate Me Baby”

Naturally, any rubbing surface needs to be lubricated to make friction smoother, and therefore your ride more comfortable. Now masters will join the conversation, spraying WD40 (“Vedashka”) into everything moving and everything “flies like clockwork.” Skate bearings won’t handle this. Here you need either a special oil from the same Bones or a simple Teflon-based lubricant.

Under no circumstances use any thick greases like grease, litol, and so on. You will only ruin your bearings.

After this procedure, let the bearings dry and then begin to insert the anthers into place using a simple snapping motion. Well, after that, insert the bearings into the wheels, putting them on the axles of your suspensions. Don’t forget about the washers that we paid attention to when removing the wheels.

Do you feel that the board has become easier to ride? Don’t thank me!

Results of our experiment

The photo clearly shows that we also tried to do everything according to this manual. Of the 8 bearings, 3 barely rotated. After washing and lubrication, these 3 bearings also continued to rotate poorly, but after being installed on the board, they stopped “snipping” when the wheel rotated. This means that there is some minimal effect from this procedure.

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