Your skateboard bearings are among the most forced part of your skateboard. It is made that way. For its size, is highly durable. It can stand a strong force and more weight. However, if you are not taking proper care of your bearings, it won’t last long. Even the best skateboard bearings out there need regular maintenance. Regular maintenance means cleaning and lubing your bearings from time to time.
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How to Lubricate your Skateboard Bearings?
Lubricating or greasing your bearings is a must after cleaning them. Remember though, don’t lubricate it without cleaning it first. Lubing it regularly without cleaning it first is ‘ineffective’ maintenance. For one, the bearings won’t be able to absorb it completely because of the dirt around it.
What steps to take
Before you start lubing your bearings, you must prepare things that you need. Prepare your bearing cleaning kit and your lubricant. Here are the things you need for lubing.
- Prepare your cleaning kit
- Remove the bearings from the skateboard
- Clean the bearings inside and out
- Dry it with a clean cloth
Choosing the right lube for your bearings
Once your bearings are cleaned and dried, you can start applying oil or lubricant. There are three types of lubricants that you can use for bearings. Here are some things you can consider before choosing a lubricant for your bearings. Aside from choosing the right type of oil, you should also consider some factors such as temperature, evaporative rate, and thickness of the bearing.
There are two different types of oil lubricants. You can choose between petroleum-based oils and synthetic oils. Oil lubricant can help a bearing obtain higher speed. However, it causes evaporative losses that reduce a bearing’s service life.
Before choosing oil-based lubricant, remember that this type of lubricant works best with big bearings or mechanisms with big bearings. If you have small bearings, it might be best to use grease to lube it.
Grease is also an oil-based lubricant, but it is thicker. It is thicker because of a thickener added to it. Example of thickeners added to the oil to make it grease are metal soaps, organic compounds, and some inorganic compounds. Grease also comes with additives that aim to enhance a bearing’s performance. Additives like anti-corrosion, anti-wear, antioxidant, and stiffness are added to oil and thickeners to make grease.
Skateboard bearings don’t use solid films because they are too small. For bigger bearings and pieces of machinery, the solid film is a non-liquid lube. It is applied to a surface to prevent friction.
Methods of applying a lube
Regardless if you are using grease or oil, applying these lubricants is easy. Most grease or oil lubricants come in special packaging. It comes with a head that allows you to grease the balls of your bearings inside and out.
There are miniature instruments that you can also purchase to make the lubing easier. When applying lubricant, make sure that it is evenly applied to your bearings.
- Clean first the bearings before lubing
- Make sure it is dry
- Remove old lubes
- Use gloves
- Do not just use any oil
- Use oil intended for skateboard bearings
- Do not over lubricate
For skateboard bearings, it is best to use grease. Grease stays longer than oil-based lubricants. It means you don’t have to grease your bearings again in the next few months. The downside of using grease though is that it can slow down your wheels.
During summer, you can keep using oil provided that you have time to check your bearings every quarter or so. if you are the kind of skater that do insane tricks in speed, then you can keep using oil.