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How to Clean Longboard Bearings? – The Correct Way

Have the ride of your longboard slowed down, and you want to increase its speed?

Gradually, the internal bearing of your longboard’s wheels gets a layer of dirt and gunk buildup, affecting its speed and running slowly. So, whenever you feel the movement of the bearing is slow, uneven, or making noise, it’s time to clean it.

You need to spend only 20 minutes cleaning bearings which will increase their performance and lifespan to a great extent. However, it should be done regularly and properly.

In this article, we will discuss how to clean longboard bearings.

Tools and Materials Required to Clean Longboard Bearings

Steps to Clean Longboard Bearings

1. Take out Wheels

Use a wrench or skate tool to take out the wheels from your longboard. Thus, the wheels will slip off from the truck axle.

Keep a small tray with you so you can store all the small items, like washers, nuts, etc., during the unscrewing steps. It’s a good way to store these items so that you don’t lose necessary things because you will need them in the future.

2. Remove Bearings and Shields

Use the truck’s axle to take out the bearings of the wheels. For this purpose, slide the center of the wheel onto the axle’s end.

You will notice the wheel is securely catching the bearing inside. Remove it from the inside of the wheel by twisting it outward and around. Turn the wheel over and keep repeating these steps.

After taking it out from the wheel, it’s time to pry the bearing shields using any horny and sharp tool like a razor blade, safety pin, etc.

Be careful while doing this so the shield does not misshape or bend. If the shape changes, it will rub against the ball bearing and cause problems. Remember to store all the things in the tray.

The set-ups of some bearings are different; they have two bearings in a wheel, so spacers are placed between them. In contrast, some of them have built-in spacers. This thing is common in the bearings and wheels of longboards. If your longboard’s wheel also has spacers, place them safely in the storage tray.

3. Soak Bearings in Solvent

Now, you will need a solvent or cleaner to remove dirt from your bearing and make them clean. For this purpose, you will soak it into the solvent for some time, but water-based solvents should not be used.

Some good options for soaking bearings are mineral spirits, acetone, and isopropyl alcohol. Be careful while using it; wear gloves and protect your skin to avoid irritation.

Take a container and pour the solvent into it. Now, submerge the bearings into the cleaner and let it soak for a few minutes. Swirl them around in the cleaner from time to time.

If the buildup of dirt is stubborn, take a cloth or toothbrush, get into the cleaner, and scrub them thoroughly. Some cleaners are also available in the market, specially made for bearing cleaning; you can also choose them.

You can use these products to clean the bearings by shaking them vigorously in the cleaners. They provide a mess-free and faster result without any harm.

4. Drying

When you take out the bearings from the cleaner, examine them carefully. If they have become spotless and all the grime has gone, leave them to dry. Place them in a towel or dry cloth and tap them repeatedly to dry quickly.

To make the drying process faster, you can use a hair dryer or compressed air if easily accessible.

5. Re-Lubricate

Now, it’s time to lubricate the bearings again. Lubrication is necessary because damaging friction will be created if you ride on a longboard with dry bearings. The best lube for longboard bearings is the one with light grease, or you can use lube made for longboard bearings available in the market.

Mostly, people put thinner lubricants for faster bearing rotation, but it makes the bearing prone to early damage. Similarly, oil lubricants also make the bearing rotation faster but will wear out soon if something comes into contact with it.

Since oil makes the spinning faster, the bearings produce too much heat, which melts down the wheels. Likewise, thicker grease protects the bearing from damage due to garbage, but it will slow the rotation. So lube with thinner grease will work well.

Apply one or two drops of lube into the bearings and rotate them to distribute them evenly. In the same manner, apply the lube into the bearings of all the wheels.

WD-40 will also wear off soon, so don’t use it as lube. Once worn out, the bearings will become dry and prone to rust.

6. Place the Shields Back

When you have applied lube on the bearing, it’s time to put back the shield on them. Its removal step was difficult, but placing it back is easy. Keep them in their place and gently press them to keep them in position.

7. Reassemble

Once you have placed the shields back, keep the spacers in the right place, then place the bearings in the wheel. Before tightening the axle nut, put back the speed washers into the truck axle. Enjoy a smooth ride again.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Can you clean longboard bearings at home?

The cleaning process of longboard bearing is easy and can carry out at home. Remove the bearings from the longboard wheels and clean them in a powerful cleaner of solvent.

Once they are dried, lubricate them, and put them back in the longboard’s wheels.

Which material is used to clean bearings?

Many cleaners remove dirt from bearings, such as methylated spirits, alcohol, etc. Lemon juice is also effective in cleaning dirt and rust from bearings.

Is WD-40 good to use for the lubrication of longboard bearings?

Remember to use silicone-based lubricant on the bearings. If you use WD-40 as a lube, it will dry quickly, so the grime and dirt will damage them. You can purchase any good quality lubricate from a skate shop or auto parts store.

Which lubricant is best for bearings?

Many lubricants are available in the market specially made for skate wheel bearings. They are manufactured from such oils that do not slow the wheel’s speed and are not prone to grime and dirt. The best lubricant is one that has lighter grease in it.

Which oil can be used as lube for longboard bearings?

Generally, oil-based or mineral-based lubricants can be used on bearings. Lubricant with lighter grease is best to use because it doesn’t slow the rotation of wheels and resists dirt and grime building up.

Final Thoughts

Everyone likes enjoyable rides on a longboard, which can run smoothly and fast. However, it isn’t very pleasant when the speed of the skates becomes slow, and the travel is not smooth. Luckily, this issue can be fixed by cleaning the longboard bearings.

Once all the dirt and grime are removed from the grime and lubricated again, you will feel the same smooth ride. While cleaning, protect your skin because bearing cleaners can damage your skin.