Skateboard Maintenance: Essential Tips for a Smooth Ride

Master skateboard maintenance with this in-depth guide. Learn to preserve your ride's longevity, replace worn-out parts and save money.

Swapping tricks and tearing up the pavement is the adrenaline part of our skateboarding journey, but how much do we know about skateboard maintenance? Keeping your deck in solid condition, understanding when to replace worn-out components, or tightening your kingpin just might become your backstage performance before the main event. In this article, we dive deep into maintaining your trusty stead—literally, the nuts and bolts of it. Keeping good care of your skateboard isn’t just about a longer lifespan; it can also save you a sick amount of cash.

What tools do you need for skateboard maintenance?

Before you dive into maintaining your skateboard, what’s in your toolbox? I like using a skate tool, but in its absence, a few other items could help. You’ll need:

Image of a kid fixing his skateboard. Source: unsplash
Image of a kid fixing his skateboard. Source: unsplash
  • An Allen wrench or a screwdriver, depending on your hardware.
  • An open-ended spanner for your kingpin, baseplate, and wheel nuts.
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

Skateboard maintenance: essential tips for a smooth ride | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

What should you know about skateboard parts?

Every skateboard part can be replaced, meaning if something’s busted, you don’t always have to buy an entirely new board. That’s pretty insane, right? Let’s hit some quick facts:

  • Bearings are universal and fit all wheels.
  • All wheels up to 58mm can be replaced without complications. If you’re thinking about large, soft wheels of around 60mm, bear in mind you’ll likely need riser pads to prevent wheel contact with the board during a carve. Choosing the right kind of board layout is a key detail here.
  • While shopping for trucks or skateboard decks, ensure the width matches. Too wide or too narrow, and you’re up for a sketchy ride.
  • Bushings should ideally be cone-barrel-shaped or cone-cone, like the Bones hardcore bushings.
  • The hardware (nuts and bolts to attach trucks) should be 1/8 inch long without riser pads or 1/1/4 inch with thicker riser pads.

Got your toolkit stacked up? Cool, let’s dive into maintenance.

How do you carry out maintenance for skateboard bearings?

Bearings take a hit pretty frequently, so let’s kick off with them. Clean your skateboard bearings every season if you skate frequently. Signs that scream “maintenance time” include:

  • Squeaky noises while riding.
  • Rapid slowing down of your skateboard.
  • A wheel not spinning properly.
  • The wheezy, sandy sound in your bearings while spinning.
  • Wheels stopping within 4 seconds of a spin.

Now, drop the bearings using your skate tool or your truck axle, though it might damage the axle thread a bit (I’m not a big fan of that method, but it works). Don’t go for WD40 when cleaning your bearings–it’ll only attract more dirt. Post-cleaning, if your bearings still give a sludgy performance, it might be a good time to replace them. To understand more about different types of bearings, check out my story on ABEC ratings.

When do I know it’s time to maintain my skateboard trucks?

Trucks are a solid choice while riding, and luckily, they don’t need a whole lot of maintenance. It’s no big deal unless you spot some damaged parts, of course. Here’s a quick rundown of truck parts you can easily replace:

  • Washers
  • Bushings
  • Kingpin
  • Kingpin nut
  • Pivot cups
Image of a person holding the trucks of a skateboard. Source: pexels
Image of a person holding the trucks of a skateboard. Source: pexels

Disassemble the trucks and restore the axle thread if it’s damaged (a quality skate tool will do the trick). Watch out for deformed washers and beat-up nuts; such damage can cut into the polyurethane bushings,, and it’s not a favorable situation. Similarly, check the bushing seat for cracks; if you spot one, it’s time to replace your truck, mate!

How do I maintain my skateboard wheels?

Ever thought your wheels needed more attention? They actually might. You can swap them around for even wear. Here’s how:

  • Place your left rear wheel on the right front of your truck.
  • Your right front wheel should move to your left rear truck.
  • Same ritual goes for your left front wheel. Move it to the rig.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep a lookout for bigger issues: wheels that stop spinning progress toward blockage.

Want to learn more about skateboarding?

For random facts and more, check out my post on skateboard statistics.

Steven’s Pro-Tip: Skateboard longevity isn’t just limited to good deck design or high-quality parts. Regular maintenance plays an equally crucial role. So, listen to your skateboard, spot the wear and tear, and maintain it like a boss. Happy shredding!

“The secret to a long-lasting skateboard doesn’t lie merely in skate culture’s best practices but in your hands. It’s the unspoken art of maintenance.”

And that’s my take on skateboard maintenance. As an emerging skateboarder myself, it’s an essential lesson I learned on the go. So, what skateboarding tricks are you excited to perform next on your well-maintained ride? Here’s a list of tricks you might find inspiring!

Dos and don’ts of skateboard maintenance

In the world of skateboard maintenance, it’s good to have a cheat sheet. Let’s have a look at some dos and don’ts that could save you from pretty gnarly situations.

Clean your skateboard bearings every season.Use WD40 to clean your bearings.
Swap around your wheels for even wear.Ignore squeaky, sandy sounds in your bearings.
Regularly check your trucks for any damage.Neglect cracks in the bushing seat.
Adjust the tightness of your trucks for a comfy ride.Overlook deformation in washers and damage in nuts.
Make sure the width of the skate trucks matches the deck.Underestimate the need for riser pads for wheels around 60mm.
Table: Dos and don’ts of Skateboard Maintenance

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Being able to perform maintenance on your own skateboard is one crucial skill every skater should master! While we did explain the basics, we bet there are still some questions buzzing in your head. Here are answers to some commonly asked queries to further amp up your knowledge:

How often should I replace my skate bearings?

The longevity of your bearings really depends on your ride style and how often you perform maintenance. However, if you start to notice squeaky noises, poor wheel spinning, or if the wheels stop within 4 seconds of a spin, it’s time to replace your bearings. Learn more about the specifics of when you should replace your bearings here.

What if my bushings are making squeaky noises?

Squeaky bushings might indicate that they are already crushed or have cracks. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to replace your bushings. Standard cone-barrel bushings would suffice for most skaters. Remember, its damage will impact the performance of your trucks.

What size of the deck is suitable for my trucks?

To ensure a smooth ride, it’s vital that the width of your skate trucks matches the deck. They shouldn’t stick out too much or be too narrow. As an intermediate skateboarder myself, finding the right match can make a world of difference in your ride experience. Check out my post about the best skateboard set up for more insights.

What happens if my skateboard slows down fast and requires more effort to push?

If your skateboard slows down faster than usual, it could mean your bearings need cleaning or altogether replacing. Another reason could be wheel bite, where your wheels come in contact with the board and slow down your ride, often seen with larger, softer wheels. It’s crucial to use riser pads to prevent wheel bite, and maintaining your precious ride should solve the issue.

Final thoughts

Skateboarding isn’t just about learning the next insane trick or speeding across your favorite stretch; it’s also about understanding the essence of your ride. The intricate parts, how they work, and how you can keep them running smoothly—this way, you’re not just zipping down the street, but you’re doing it with knowledge and purpose. Making a conscious effort to maintain your skateboard would not only extend its life but also yours as a skateboarder.

So, the next time you’re about to jump on your board, ask yourself, “Did I check my skateboard for any signs of wear?” Did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment. If you found the article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more insights about skateboarding. Thanks for reading, and remember: Keep skating, keep exploring!

Key takeaways

Decoding the art of skateboard maintenance could be your backstage showstopper before the main event. In this article, we touched on various points from a skater’s perspective. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Every part on a skateboard can be replaced, meaning replacements are easier than you’d think.
  • Regularly cleaning your skateboard bearings is a vital part of maintenance.
  • Adjusting the tightness of your truck plays a significant role in your riding experience.
  • Damaged bushings can cause a downturn in the performance of your trucks, so keep them in check.
  • Pay attention to the wheels, too; surfing them around can lead to even wear.
  • Not paying heed to regular maintenance can result for a shorter lifespan for your board and a less-than-awesome ride.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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