A skateboard is a combination of different tools, and each of them has important roles to play. If any of the mechanical parts of the skateboard malfunctions, it may not work properly, or worse! It may lead to the destruction of the board!
Also, the skateboarder might have an accident because of this malfunction, especially if the bearings aren’t doing well. Most times, the remedy for keeping the bearings in their best is lubrication.
But knowing how to lube skateboard bearings is utterly necessary. First, clean the bearings thoroughly, then apply a recommended lubricant on them. After that, allow the lubricant to circulate completely. Then you can use your bearings.
Let’s discuss skateboard bearings, why they need lubrication, and how often you should lube them. And of course, the best practices of lubricating your skateboard bearing.
Why Do You Need to Lube Skateboard Bearings?
You need to lubricate your skateboard for a lot of reasons. Some of these reasons are to seal bearings against contaminants, to protect the bearings’ surfaces and metal shields, and the bearing spacers from corrosion. Also, to keep the bearings clean in general. In addition, lubricating your bearings is important for preserving or elongating the lifespan of your skateboard.
The function of a lubricant on the bearings is to enhance the free movement of rollers, balls, raceways, etc. In addition, the lubrication substance prevents them from their most affecting deficiencies: wear, tear, and friction.
Benefits of Lubricating Bearings
Having clean bearings and lubricating them is necessary because dirty skateboard bearings won’t allow the skateboard wheels to reach the maximum speed you desire. Here are the main benefits you get if you keep the bearings lubed properly:
- Prevent excessive friction: Friction is helpful in contexts like tires, break ignitions, shoe soles, and other elements that require it for stability. But, in the terms of bearing, friction can cause damages with overheating, wear and tear, and many others. To prevent these damages from happening, proper lubrication is necessary for bearings.
- Protects surfaces from corrosion: When two or more objects that are not noble metals make contact, corrosion is almost inevitable. This is because the metals will turn into compounds like sulfide, oxide, carbonates, hydroxide, and many other stable compounds. Also, the metals will slowly dwindle because of atmospheric gases on their surfaces. Lubrication helps resolve these damages from happening in your skateboard bearings.
- Offers heat transference: Heat is a part of the engineering that always comes to play because of the hard nature of the tools used. Excessive collision of two metal materials can even generate fire. So, out of many other heat transfer methods in the field, lubrication is one of the most effective. It transfers the excessive heat that the bearings generate while in motion and keeps it functional and cool.
- Seals bearings against contaminants: Bearings can have two forms of contaminants. They can either be solid or liquid contaminants. The solid can range from dirt, dust, lint, bricks, coals, and some other solid material you can easily find in the environment. The liquid could be water or any liquid substance that doesn’t sit well with the mechanical properties of the bearings. When you lubricate your bearings, it rids them of such contaminants.
How Often Do You Need to Lube Skateboard Bearing?
You should lubricate your skateboard bearings whenever you notice dryness or dirt on them. There is no specific time you should follow for your skateboard bearings. You should often clean and lubricate your bearings as they get dry or dirty. Whether it is 10 times daily. The best thing to do is, keeping a bearing cleaner kit, oil for skateboard bearings that you can find in any skate shop.
Factors That Affect Skateboard Bearings
The environment where you normally use your skateboard can make the bearings dry and dirty faster. Some localities are dusty, and they will leave dirt on your bearings.
People who skate in such areas shouldn’t compare their cleaning and lubrication routine with people who skate in a cleaner environment. Also, they have to look are out for how well their bearings are doing more often to lubricate it. The effect might be disastrous if they don’t.
The weather condition is also an affecting factor for bearings. If the weather is dry, you might need to be checking your bearings more often. There is a high tendency of it getting dusty and dry quickly.
However, in normal weather, the bearing can last longer without having to lubricate it often. The weather change is not in the hands of men to control. So, watch out for the weather condition before you head out with your skateboard. We advise you to take the weather forecast seriously for this purpose.
For most products, the instruction manual says ‘store in a cool dry place.’ As much as solids can affect the bearings, some liquid substances can, too. So, the storage condition of your skateboard should not be in dusty areas as well as damaging liquid areas. You might accidentally keep your skateboard in any of such places. Watch the bearings closely to make sure you lubricate them whenever it needs to be.
How to Lube Skateboard Bearings?
Lubricating your skateboard bearings is not the hardest task if you know how it’s done. You need to lubricate your bearings properly because failure to do so might cause other damages. In addition, there are substances you should not use on your bearings under any circumstances. They will cause more harm than good for the bearings. So, get a good lubricant for skateboard bearings.
What Can You Use to Lubricate Skateboard Bearings?
You can use either lubricating oil or grease. These are the two main types of lubricants. However, you can’t use just any of them except you consider some factors are. Factors like the type of bearing, the size of the bearing, speed range, temperature, environment, and the operation condition.
You can use this lubricant to apply high temperature or speed that needs the transfer of heat off the bearings. The product contains synthetic or natural mineral oil. So, diesters, fluorocarbons, silicones, and petroleum oils are the four main types of oils you can use. These oils systems include splash, air/oil mist, jet, and bath.
When you want to pick a good oil for lubrication, viscosity is a key factor to look out for. Fluids that have high viscosity are thicker, and low-viscosity fluids are thinner. The oil’s viscosity corresponds to the thickness of the film it creates. This is a vital part of a bearing’s rolling and sliding parts separation.
A greater percent of bearing applications use grease lubricants. The percent, ranging from 80% to 90%, is compatible with grease lubricants, while the remaining 10% to 20% uses oil lubricants.
Grease yields to surfaces more than oil. Grease half-life is longer than oil, and it has a lower tendency to leave parts that are rotating. Also, you can pre-lubricate with grease, and you won’t need excessive lubrication in the future.
Three components make up a grease lubricant. As base oil, a thickener, and an additive usually inhibits rust. The development of the lubricant film depends on its base of oil viscosity. The flow and dispersion of the grease in the bearing depend on the consistency class of the grease.
|Oil||It has lesser drag; it circulates easily, you can change it easily, and it is better for a high temperature.||It has a high tendency of leaking off and leaving bearings unlubricated.|
|Grease||It doesn’t leak easily. With this, you don’t need to monitor it frequently.||Take more time to replace. The high-temperature grease cost much.|
Steps to Lube Skateboard Bearings
There are a few easy steps on how to lube skateboard bearings. The steps are:
Step 1: Remove the wheels
You cannot lubricate bearings while the wheels are still on. So the first thing to do is to take the wheels off the truck axle. Next, keep watch on the inside of the axle, the bearings, and the washers between the axle nuts. Put them when they are safe so that you don’t lose any of them.
Step 2: Remove the bearings and the shield
Slide the wheel into half of the axle to leave just one bearing on the axle. Then, turn the wheel outward and pry the bearings off your wheels with the axle of your truck. Repeat this for all the bearings.
Then remove the bearing shields with a pointed pry tool. Again, be careful not to bend the shield or put it out of its original shape.
Step 3: Soak bearings in cleaning agent
When you have removed your bearings, the next thing is to soak them in a cleaning agent. Maybe isopropyl alcohol, mineral spirits, acetone, or solvent that is not water-based like paint thinner. Soak the bearings for a few minutes and stir them from time to time. Finally, you can use a rag or toothbrush to scrub the bearings for a better clean.
Step 4: Dry and lubricate bearings
When your bearings are clean, take them out and allow them to dry completely in a clean place. Also, you can wipe them with a dry rag or spin the liquid off them. After it has dried, apply your preferred lubricant on them and allow it to go round. This might take some time, depending on the type of lubricant you are using.
Step 5: Fix the shields and the bearings in the wheel
This is the last step to take. After you have completed the lubrication process above, fix everything back. The coupling process is easier than the uncoupling. Set everything in its right position and press them in. When you have done this, put the bearings in the wheel and the wheel in your skateboard, and it is ready for use.
The bearings of a skateboard are one of its most important components. Your skateboard cannot function without it. If it is too dry and gets dirty, your skateboard cannot function the way you want it.
So, knowledge of how to lube skateboard bearings is important as we’ve tried providing you with. So, lubricate your skate wheels properly with a few drops of lubricant whenever necessary. Or the condition might cause greater damage than it already has.