How to Make Your Bearings Go Faster on a Skateboard

Written by frank whittemore
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How to Make Your Bearings Go Faster on a Skateboard
Skateboard bearings go faster when clean and well lubricated (braking image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com)

The bearings in a skateboard wheel are designed to spin freely and easily while taking both pressure and repeated revolutions. Proper maintenance and lubrication can make wheel bearings spin faster and improve bearing performance and life. The procedure is relatively simple, although care should be taken when disassembling bearings, as the small parts inside can be easily dropped or may simply fall out on their own. With careful handling, you can examine, clean and lubricate your skateboard bearings in an afternoon.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Socket wrench or skateboard axle tool
  • Paper clip
  • Glass or plastic container
  • Spray bearing lubricant
  • Shop towel

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use the socket wrench to remove the axle nut from the axle. Slide the wheel up until the tip of the axle is just past the bottom edge of the outer bearing. Tip the wheel and push down. Catch the edge of the bearing with the tip of the axle and push until the bearing pops free from the wheel. Flip the wheel over on the axle and repeat this step to remove the other bearing.

  2. 2

    Put on a pair of rubber gloves to prevent skin oils and acids from coming in contact with the bearings.

  3. 3

    Bend the tip of a paper clip out. Slide the tip into the space between the rubber bearing guard and the outer race, the housing for the bearing. Lever the rubber shield out of the race, being careful not to damage the shield. Wipe the shield down with soapy water, rinse it off, pat it dry and set the shield aside.

  4. 4

    Examine the ball bearings and races to see if they are worn or damaged. If so, replace the bearings.

  5. 5

    Remove the bearing cage within the outer race by pushing the cage out of the race from the back of the bearing with the tip of the paper clip. Work over a folded towel to catch any bearings that may come loose prematurely. Push gently in multiple locations around the cage to work it free from the outer race. Do not pry the cage out, as this will permanently damage it. Continue to push the cage until it comes loose.

  6. 6

    Place the outer race in the container. Remove the inner race from the cage and place it in the container. Remove each ball bearing from the cage, one at a time, and place them in the container. Finally, place the cage itself in the container.

  7. 7

    Add a bearing cleaning solution, such as Bones Bearing Cleaner, to the container. Gently agitate the container to work the solution around and clean the parts. When the solution becomes dirty, replace it with clean solution. Continue to change the solution until it remains clean.

  8. 8

    Remove the cage from the solution and dry it thoroughly, Remove each ball bearing, dry it thoroughly and place each bearing back into its slot in the cage. Remove the inner race, dry it and snap it in place in the cage. Finally, remove the outer race, dry it also and insert the cage back into the race, pressing around the cage so that it fits evenly. Ensure that the cage is properly seated.

  9. 9

    Place two drops of a good skateboard bearing lubricant, such as Bones Bearing Cream, on the ball bearings. Replace the rubber shield. Spin the bearing to distribute the lubricant evenly.

  10. 10

    Place the bearing, facedown, on the axle. Place the wheel over the bearing and press down until the bearing is seated properly in the wheel. Remove the wheel and place the other bearing facedown on the axle. Flip the wheel over and install the other bearing. Replace the axle nut and spin the wheel to ensure that it is spinning freely and evenly.

Tips and warnings

  • It's a good idea to work over a folded towel to catch any falling ball bearings when taking the skateboard bearing apart.
  • Never use WD-40 or a similar lubricant on skateboard bearings. At first they may seem to work, but they will dry your bearings out, eventually leading to their corroding and being damaged.

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