Just like other skateboard hardware, bearings also need maintenance from time to time. Your maintenance regime affects their lifespan. If you clean and lubricate them every now and then, chances are they will last quite long. On the contrary, if you have never touched your skateboard bearings after installing them, they will rust pretty soon. If you are wondering how many bearings does a skateboard need? The answer is that it requires 8 bearings, 2 for each wheel. Therefore, if you do not take care of them, you might have to spend quite a large amount on replacement.
Signs Of Deteriorating Skateboard Bearings
When your bearings are getting old or they need lubrication and cleaning, there are several signs which clearly depict this. If you catch these early, you can repair them soon which will save you a few bucks depending on the damage. On the contrary, if they are ruined, you can replace them in time, saving your skateboard from coming to a halt all of a sudden.
The foremost sign of worsening skateboard bearings is that they will not speed up as they used to when they were new. Regardless of the amount of pressure you put on them, the deteriorated bearings will only speed and slide very little. Some might just have something stuck between them. If this is the case, cleaning and lubrication can make them new. However, after cleaning, you can check the wheels by spinning them with your fingers, if they retain the same slow speed tendency, then it is definite to replace them.
Another tell-tale sign of decaying bearings is that they make a sharp screeching sound while skating. This can be checked by putting a bit of force on wheels and spinning them by hand. If they are deteriorating, they will produce a sharp noise. On the other hand, perfectly fine wheels will not produce any such sound regardless of the amount of pressure put on them. These cannot be repaired and should be replaced as soon as possible.
3. Side Movement
Another way to check whether the bearings are deteriorating or not is to see if the wheels go from side to side while riding. If you are skating normally instead of performing tricks, check this out. If this happens, you should change the bearings. In some cases, this might be due to loose trucks. However, if that possibility is ruled out, then you should get your wheel bearings replaced.
How Do I Make Skateboard Bearings Last Longer?
To make your bearings last longer, you need to clean them from time to time. There are several ways to do so. Moreover, you also need to select the best type of lubricant, the one that does not stick to the bearings but instead helps them rotate well.
Steps For Maintaining And Cleaning Bearings
Let’s unfold the steps in detail!
1. Remove The Bearings
To remove the bearings, you first need to remove the trucks and axles. After this, the wheels will come off. When removing these nuts and bolts, remember where they go back. If you put them back in the wrong way, chances are that they will not fit well. When you do this, it is time to remove the bearings. They can be popped out with a stroke. However, the removal of metal bearings requires the use of a razor blade.
2. Soak Them Up
Make your cleaning solution in a jar and put the bearings in it. Methylated spirit is a good choice. Tighten this jar and shake it well. This will make sure that all the dirt comes off the bearings. In case your bearings are very dirty, you might have to repeat this step several times.
3. Dry The Bearings
After you are done soaking and removing dirt from the bearings, it is time to let them dry. You can first dry them using a towel and then put them on blotting paper or tissue paper so that they dry off completely. In winters, you might need to leave them overnight for good drying.
Lubrication for bearings is as important as water for plants. If you do not lubricate your bearings timely, they will get eaten up by rust. Using a silicone lubricant is a good idea as fewer dirt sticks to it over time. Make sure not to over-lubricate. Using just one or two drops is more than enough.
After you are done with deep cleansing and lubrication of your skateboard bearings, it is time to put them back. Some bearings will easily slip right into the wheel core while others require some force. If it is hard to insert some bearing in the core, then you should try and apply some lube on the inside of the wheel core. This will certainly do the trick. If you are looking for ways to change bearings on a skateboard, you should follow the same procedure.
What Happens If I Don’t Repair Or Replace Faulty Bearings?
Most of us don’t change or repair things unless they are no longer usable. However, if you do this with your skateboard bearings, they will do more harm to your skateboard than good. Deteriorating bearings start damaging the wheels after a certain point. As a result, you have to replace the wheels too. This way you end up spending more money than you originally would have spent on just repairing or replacing the bearings.
Faulty bearings can also be a cause of injury. When your skateboard is not responsive and comes to a halt all of a sudden, there is a chance of a fall especially during taking turns.
Tips On Expanding Skateboard’s Bearings Life
Extending bearing life expectancy is not very hard. There are just a few tips that should be followed. These might not sound like very important actions, but eventually, they make a huge difference to your skateboard-bearing lifespan.
- Clean them often
- Dry them after exposure to water
- Avoid using it in rainy or damp weather
- Do not lubricate them before removing the dust
What Are The Best Bearings For The Money?
There are several good bearings available on the market for quite a reasonable price. However, if you do not want to take risks, then it is good to go for expensive ones. One of the best bearings for $20 is Bones Reds Skateboard bearings. Apart from being durable, they are quite fast. If you clean them from time to time, they will easily last 2 years which is a quite good lifespan.
If you skate at really high speed and skate down hills quite often, you need noise-free and durable bearings. This is where ceramic bearings are your best shot. Though they come at a whopping price of $90, they guarantee durability and zero noise even at very high speed. One of the best ones out there is Bones Ceramic Super Reds.
You must want bearings that last more than a year or two. The good news is, that they exist. The Bones Swiss last easily about a decade if taken good care of. Being made of steel, they are suitable for both normal skating and speed skating.
When buying skateboard bearings, make sure you check the customer reviews and go with the branded ones. More than often, expensive bearings are of good quality and last longer than the cheaper ones.
The most simple way to expand the average life of wheel bearings is to clean and lubricate them often. Also, make sure you do not ride your skateboard in rough terrain otherwise there is a chance of small pebbles getting stuck into the bearings causing them to go bad. Precisely, if you take good care of your skateboard bearings, they are going to last longer than you think.
- How often should you replace skateboard bearings?
There is no perfect timeline to replace your bearings. However, the best time to replace them is when they start producing noise and getting slow. If you do not replace them at this point, chances are that they will soon damage the wheels. Ultimately, you will have to replace both wheels and bearings.
- When should you add lubricant to the skateboard bearings?
Excess to everything is bad. Similar is the case with lubricating skateboard bearings. Therefore, you should oil them just twice or thrice a month after removing dust on them. Moreover, just one or two drops of oil are enough for lubrication.
- What type of lubricant is good for bearings?
The type of lubricant you use for bearings highly affects their performance. Oil-based lubricants work better at high temperatures and reduce friction very well. On the other hand, grease lubricants work well only at moderate speeds.