Ultimate Guide to Skateboard Maintenance: Elevate and Extend Your Ride’s Life

Master skateboard maintenance with Steven's easy guide. Clean bearings and upgrade bushings to extend your board's life and enhance your ride.

I bet you’ve wondered, “How do I maintain my skateboard and extend its life?” Well, you’re in for quite the ride! Skateboard maintenance ain’t rocket science; it’s more of an art, and I’m here to help you master it. In today’s dive, we’re gonna tackle everything from treating your bearings with tender love and care to upgrading your bushings to match your shred style and everything in between. Ready to turn your board into an ageless wonder that will serve you in your skateboarding journey? Buckle up, and let’s get rolling!

Why should you regularly clean your bearings?

Skateboard bearings, those small spinny boys, are the lifeblood of your ride. The cleaner they are, the more zip your wheels will have, and who doesn’t love a speedy ride, right? But more than just aiding in some wicked skateboarding world records, those little guys take some heavy hits. This makes them the most regularly thrashed part of your skateboard, so giving them some TLC goes a long way.

Image of a skater fixing the wheels of his skateboard. Source: unsplash
Image of a skater fixing the wheels of his skateboard. Source: unsplash
My favorite bearings (at the moment):

Bones REDS Skateboard Bearings

Ultimate guide to skateboard maintenance: elevate and extend your ride's life | 61lvdnz8fzl. Ac sl1000 | skateboard salad
My favorite bearings (at the moment):

Bones REDS Skateboard Bearings

I have been buying Bones REDS since I started skating. They are probably the most commonly used bearings out there, and for good reason; they just work! (And they don’t break the bank.)

How do you clean your bearings?

Good news! Cleaning your bearings is a piece of cake. Here is a simple step-by-step process:

  1. Remove the bearings from your wheels. You can use a specialized tool or the hanger of your skate trucks.
  2. Gracefully dismantle your bearings by taking off the plastic seal.
  3. Give your bearings a good bubble bath with a solvent like methylated spirit. You can also use rubbing alcohol or spray-on engine degreaser (or go full Martha Stewart with some lemon juice!). Quoting Tim Ferris here, “Treat your bearings like fine tuna, don’t drown them in water.” Trust me, water is a big NO-NO, as it can rust your bearings.
  4. Don’t just drop them in and walk away. You’ve got to shake them around a bit.
  5. Once they’ve soaked, follow this up with a second bath of clean solvent.
  6. Let them dry out in the open air for at least an hour.

What’s the secret to high-speed bearings?

Now that your bearings are squeaky clean, it’s time to lube ’em up. Using lube not only ensures your bearings aren’t heading for a rapid retirement but also has an insane impact on your skate speed. Your choice of lube swings the pendulum between speed and reliability.

For extra-fast bearings, oil is a solid choice. Remember, Mr. Speedy Gonzalez, that oil is more prone to leakage, possibly drying out your bearings and attracting more nasty stuff.

For the longevity lovers leaning towards reliability, go for a grease-based lube. It keeps grime at bay and even makes your bearings rain-resistant. The trade-off? More regular cleaning. In my humble opinion, the Bones Speed Cream Skate Bearing Lubricant has never let me down and comes highly recommended.

How do you maintain bushings?

Regular bushing maintenance is key to those smooth turns and tricks, whether you’re performing a simple kickflip or learning a new move at a famous skate park. If you’re riding stock bushings especially, you’re probably heading toward premature wear and tear.

Image of a boy fixing his skateboard with tools in the garage. Source: unsplash
Ultimate guide to skateboard maintenance: elevate and extend your ride's life | image of a boy fixing his skateboard with tools in the garage unsplash | skateboard salad

Here’s a handy checklist to keep in mind:

  • Look out for cracks in the rubber. This is an early sign of bushing wear.
  • If your board drifts to one side when you push without riding it, check your bushings.
  • Squeaking sounds are a dead giveaway that your bushings are begging for a do-over.

What kind of bushings should you get?

Now, not all bushings are created equal. You should definitely consider swapping out your stock bushings for those that suit your ride style. You see, stock bushings are a bit like that guy in the middle – not particularly good at anything, but not bad at anything. If you ride your trucks really tight or super loose, consider upgrading. Remember, boys and girls, the tighter you tighten your trucks, the quicker you may go through your bushings.

My non-expert opinion

As a skateboarder still carving out his path, I’d say pick your battles. Are you not a big fan of regular maintenance? Grease-based lube might be your best ally. Feeling the need, the need for speed? Go oil-based. Do you tend to shred around with tight trucks? Definitely consider an upgrade in bushings. Whichever way your vibes swing, regular maintenance is absolutely key.

“Even the gnarliest tricks have a simplicity at their heart. It’s the same with maintaining your board, keep it simple and your ride will love you for it.”

Rodney Mullen

Dos and dont’s of skateboard maintenance

Skateboard maintenance may feel daunting, but it’s simple once you get the hang of it. There’s an art to keeping your ride in prime condition, allowing you to perform everything from basic tricks to shooting for those insane world records. So, let’s dive into some specific dos and don’ts!

Keep a regular schedule for maintenanceUse water for cleaning your bearings
Use a proper solvent for bearing cleaningOver-tighten your trucks as it will wear out bushings
Lubricate your bearings post-cleaningIgnore the signs of bushing wear
Match your bushings to your riding styleNeglect regular cleaning if using grease-based lube
Key practices to follow and avoid in skateboard maintenance

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I’m sure you’ve got burning questions popping into your head after devouring our deep dive into skateboard maintenance. Well, guess what? I’m here to extinguish the flames of curiosity with a handy FAQ session. Shall we?

How often should I clean my skateboard bearings?

The frequency of bearing cleaning varies on the amount and nature of your skating. If you’re a casual skater putting in a few hours a week, a monthly clean might suffice. However, if you’re living on your board, shredding it up at known skate spots every day, you might need to clean those spinny boys every couple of weeks.

Are stock bushings really as bad as you say?

Not necessarily. Stock bushings aren’t particularly bad, but they’re not tailored to your riding style either. If you’re not picky about how your board turns, stock bushings may work just fine. However, upgrading them could provide a noticeable difference in your ride, making it worth the investment.

Can I use WD40 for bearing cleaning and lubrication?

While you could use WD40 in a pinch, it’s not ideal. WD40 is a water displacer, not a lubricant, so it won’t provide the optimal protection your bearings need. Also, it can attract grime, leading to your bearings requiring more frequent cleaning. Stick to skate shop products for a smooth, long-lasting ride.

Why should I avoid using water to clean my bearings?

Water causes metal to rust – a phenomenon known to all. Rusty bearings make for a poor, slow ride. They’ll also wear out a lot quicker. So, while water may be good for your plants, it’s a death sentence for your bearings. Opt for solvents like methylated spirit or rubbing alcohol. It’s all about giving your bearings the right bath skate buds!

Final thoughts

Skateboarding isn’t just about dazzling everyone at the skate park with your killer tricks. It’s also about respecting and caring for your ride. Remember, regular maintenance of your skateboard isn’t just some passing fad. It’s an invaluable habit that ensures you keep shredding the streets for years to come. So strap on your helmet, grab your cleaning tools, and give your skateboard the spa day it truly deserves!

Ever had a gnarly experience with maintenance gone wrong? Or maybe you’ve got a killer skateboard maintenance tip to share? I’m all ears! And 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 this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on skateboard maintenance. Thanks for reading, and keep shredding!

Key takeaways

This article covered the nuts and bolts of skateboard maintenance. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Regular cleaning of your bearings is crucial to maintain optimal speed.
  • Use an appropriate solvent, not water, to clean bearings.
  • Post-cleaning, always lubricate your bearings.
  • Upgrading your bushings to match your ride style can improve your ride and extend bushing life.
  • Regular skateboard maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your ride but also improves your skating experience.

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

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