When to Replace Skateboard Bearings And how to Maintain Them
If your skateboard makes squeaky noises, the wheels wont spin for more than a few seconds, or you hafto push like a maniac to move forward, it is probably time to replace your old bearings.
You might ask, when should I replace my bearings? a short answer is you should replace your bearings if they still wont spin after you have lubricated them, or if any of the parts on the bearings are missing. If parts on your bearings are missing it can be dangerous to continue using the, so I urge you to replace them as fast as posible.
If your bearings are intact but just arent working properly, then there might be a chance to save them, you just need to do some proper maintenance and clean them, if they still don't work after this, then it is time to get new ones.
Why replacing your bearings is important
First of all, skating around on slow bearings is the worst, you use way to much energy to get around and trying tricks will be much more challenging with your bearings slowing you down.
Skating faulty bearings can actually be really dangerous. If a shield bearing comes off it can end up blocking your wheel and this can lead to sever injuries if you were skating fast. bearings arent expensive but if a broken bearing end up breaking your wheel, then the price becomes a little higher.
it is unfortunately not possible to only buy one bearing, you need to get a full pack, but if you have friends at the skatepark they might have one extra that you can buy or get for free.
How to make skateboard bearings last longer
The biggest mistake a lot of skaters do, is skating in the rain. Your bearings start to deteriorate fast after a wet skating session, they become rusted and slow. The rust is not the only bad part, when your bearings get wet the lube dissolves and this creates alot of friction if you continue using the bearings.
another big problem is dust and sand. If you live in an area with alot of dust and sand, then you should remember to clean your bearing more often. if you dont do this dirt will stick to the lube in the bearings and this will deterioate them over time.
Good bearings for a decent price
Im sure that you have heard someone recomend ceramic bearings. they are very expensive and even do they work great, you don't need them unless you plan to bomb big hills.
it is dead that they can last as long as your board, but you only need this guarantee when you are risking your lives at high speed.
I recomend not going for the cheapest bearings but you really don't need the most expensive either. the bearings that I use are bronson bearings.
bronson bearings can last up to a decade if you take care of them properly, but just for safety reasons I change mine more often. it really all depends on how hardcore of a skater you are, if you skate everyday then you should probably change your bearings at least once a year.
Bones also have really good bearings, I have used the bones reds and they have lasted a while if I clean them and check if they are lubricated with speed cream but if you are going for the cheaper versions for about 20 dollars, then I recommend sticking with Bronson bearings.
If you want to do a lot of cruising with your board, I recomend getting higher quality bearings, you will notice the difference really fast, and you wont be disappointed. The bearings are pre lubricated with speed cream, but you need to remember lubing them especially after skating in wet conditions.
How to maintain and clean skateboard bearings
When cleaning your bearings, you need to be ready to get your hands dirty. Dont relube your bearings with oil, it is better than nothing but dirt and sand stick to oil more than they do with silicon lube. I can recomend using bones speed cream or speed cream racing lubricant .
Keep in mind that when you first have cleaned your bearings, you need to start cleaning them regularly, you should clean them at least every 3 months if you are someone that skates all year. a lot of people overlook skateboard maintenance, but if you do it regularly you will end up sending a lot of money.
Remember to never apply lube to bearings that are dirty, at first they will go faster, but it will just end up pushing the dirt even further into the bearings.
Let’s see what you need fist before you start cleaning your bearings.
You will need:
A razor blade (to pop off the shield bearings) or rubber shield (depends on bearing type_
Nail polish remover or acetone or isopropyl alcohol
A cup or plate to soak your bearings in
Tissues or paper towel
Bones speed cream
Step 1. is removing the bearings
You need to remove the truck and the axles from your trucks. after the wheel has come of use a skate tool to remove the bearings or the truck axel as a lever. they should slide out really easy and it doesn't require much strenght.
put all the part in order so you put them back in the right place.
If you have metal shield bearings, use a razor to remove the shield, if they are made of rubber they are easy to take of.
Step 2. Soak the bearings
I recomend using a plastic cup and putting the parts in with orexample nail polish, move them around with a stick until the dirt is out. don't use a material harder than steel
Step 3. Dry your bearings
Wrap the bearings in a towel and shake them, if you see a lot of dir, repeat step 2, after this put them on a paper towel and leave them to dry.
Step 4. Lube your bearings again
After your bearings are cleaned and dryer, apply silicon lubricant to the bearings. you only need one to two drops.
Step 5. Reattach your bearings
reattaching your bearings can sometimes be tricky, if they wont go into the wheelcore, then you should try to lubricate it aswell. After lubing the wheelcore they should slip right in. Dont force the process, since this can end up damaging the harware.