Longboards are not a regular kind of skateboards as they remain on shelves for quite some time. Many are using the longboards for cruising and not so much for impressive tricks. You may very well try using one for some methods, but you’re going to ruin it long before its time.
Taking care of the longboard is one way to make sure it’s going to hold you for a reasonable amount of time. Addressing each issue is also essential, so don’t wait any longer when you have to clean the bearings.
The bearing is a first item for the performance of your longboard. When a bearing is making a sound, it’s the time to clean the bearings.
What items do you need when cleaning the bearings?
You shouldn’t skip cleaning the bearings, especially if you want them to last for a nice amount of time. Here’s what you need to have within reach:
- The dirty bearings
- Skate tool
- An old cloth or an used towel
- A lubricant (it can be sewing machine oil or bones speed cream)
- Container with a lid (a glass jar may do)
- A cleaning solution (alcohol based is right)
Cleaning the bearings aren’t going to take 5 minutes, so make sure that you don’t need to rush somewhere afterward. It’s going to take half an hour or so.
Does your longboard has built or standard bearings?
One thing to check before you go ahead and start the cleaning is to figure out which type of bearings your longboard has. Some models come with built-in bearings, with the majority of longboards including regular bearings (non-built-in speed rings). However, as the bearing is separated from the spacer and the speed ring, you’re going to have more fiddly bits.
Should your longboard come with built-in bearings, you don’t need to stress much as this model comes with spacer, bearing, and speed ring all in one place.
You may want to decide to get some built-in’s later in the future, and there are plenty of affordable options to try.
When your longboard comes with regular bearings, you should keep all the small elements in just one place throughout the cleaning process.
Side note: Speed rings are installed outside and inside bearing, in the middle of the wheel nut and the truck. They’re good for lowering the friction. When you lose one, you should have at least one on the inside against the truck.
Spacers are also vital as they cut down the weight between the bearings, helping your turns become smoother and more stable. It’s what makes the bearings last longer.
Which are the steps when cleaning the bearings on your longboard?
Being meticulous and taking your time when cleaning the bearings is essential for getting good results.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Remove the bearings and the bearings shields
You should begin with taking the wheels out from the longboard (use the skate tool for the removal). It’s easier to put aside the bearings when using the axel of the longboard truck as leverage. Wiggling the bearing on the edge of the axel is going to make it come out of the wheel’s core. Where the bearing is kept within the wheel is known as the core.
You may continue with removing the bearing shields, with the help of the blade. It’s better if you can leverage from the inside or outside of the guard. The bearing shield protects the bearing balls from the outside elements, which is why you should take care of it.
- Give it a good shape
When each shield is removed from each bearing, you may put all bearings inside a container. Cups or large mugs may work, but you need to brace yourself for all of that mess. Pour your cleaning solution in the bottle. Close it and shave it well as you need to eliminate all the grime and dirt.
Something like Bones Cleaning Unit is a solution to try as well. It includes the cleaning solution, and it’s made so that you may clean up to eight bearings simultaneously. It’s a more professional approach and more comfortable to handle too. It’s a bottle that has a cleaning unit, allowing you to add your solvent.
- Start lubricating the bearings
When the bearings are dry, and the container is empty, you also need to eliminate any left solution. You should lubricate every bearing with your favorite lubricant.
You always want to have the bearings lubricated so that you reduce the risk of heating or seizing. Lubricating and cleaning the bearings after skating in the rain is still a wise thing to do. Rain (water) is going to alter and rust the bearing after some time, especially if your longboard doesn’t come with ceramic and water resistant bearings.
Some thin and light grease, or oil (lubricant or sewing machine oil) can work too. You need a solution that helps the bearings spin for a long time, without the answer being too thick.
Why look for the thin lubricants?
Thin lubricants are capable of ensuring an efficient roll speed, and they don’t gather too much grime either. In all fairness, thick oil is going to offer better protection, helping the bearings last longer and spin quicker. However, a thick lubricant is also going to collect more grime and dirt than a thin solution.
Oil is a solid choice as well, even if it may slide out of the bearings outside the wheel when you go on high speed. It can take for a turn as the bearings can heat up, melting the wheels and even seizing up. On top of everything else, the wheels are going to look grubby and dirty too.
- The final touch
Once you’ve lubricated every bearing, you need to eliminate any excess oil. Continue with pressing the bearings back into the wheel and placing the speed rings back on the outside of the bearings.
Some tips to remember!
There are several things to remember when cleaning the bearings of your longboard, so here are some:
- Rinse the bearings with 99% isopropyl alcohol
- Start with placing the bearing in kerosene or mineral spirits. Move so that you clean the whole surface of the bearing.
- Some think that compressed air is best for drying the bearing
- Install new rubber shields
- Always lubricate the bearing with a lubricant that the manufacturer recommends
How to take care of bearings? Can you make the longboard last longer?
You should expand the lifespan of your longboard by keeping it away from sand, rain, or puddles. Water and rain may ruin for good the bearings, which worsens the performance of the longboard.
It’s pretty common for the wheels of the longboard to degrade faster on one side, which is why you should rotate the wheels any now and then. It’s going to count for the even wear. However, as soon as you notice the wheels presenting any signs of wear and tear, it’s better that you install new wheels.
Here are some steps you need to follow for expanding the life span of your longboard:
- Take good care of the deck
A lot of water and sun exposure is going to alter the deck of your longboard. It’s only a matter of time until a soaked deck is going to wear, break and, eventually, crack. You should dry the deck the moment it gets saturated.
Sun exposure for a long time is no good either, as it’s going to make the deck all fragile. You should always store the longboard inside or in a shaded area when not in use.
Here’s how to clean the longboard deck:
- Use a nylon brush and some soapy water for cleaning the deck. Use circle moves when brushing the tape side.
- Get a sponge for rinsing off the deck with some water as you need to get rid of all soap. Do it several times until there’s no more soap.
- Flip the deck and wipe down also the bottom of the longboard. Make sure you do it very well where the trucks are placed.
- Use a towel for drying off the bottom. Give the deck three or four hours for drying. Once it’s dry, you may re-attach the trucks.
- Rotate the wheels
When using longboards, the wheels are going to wear out differently from one side to the other.
You need to rotate the wheels every couple of weeks so that they wear out evenly. Replace them the moment you start noticing any signs of wear and tear.
- Lubricate the bearings
Taking care of the bearings daily is going to count for the lifespan of the longboard. Any squeaky sound or sticking feel on the bearings means you need to take a break from the riding and take care of the bearings. Go back to the lubricating section.
One last piece of advice
Longboards have been on the market for years now, so their quality and build have improved over the years. How long it’s going to hold you though depends a lot on how you take good care of it.