Unless you can afford it, getting a new clean skateboard each time your old skateboard gets rusty or needs fixing, is not feasible. While youtube skateboarders with lots of views can do that, for the rest of us mere mortals – maintaining your skateboard is important.
Deciding on how to maintain your skateboard is the same whether you’re an expert skateboarder, intermediate, or beginner. If, for example, the trucks of your skateboard are stiff, it will be hard to control. If they are loose, on the other hand, finding balance will be difficult – with both scenarios resulting in possible falls.
No part of a longboard or skateboard is irreplaceable or beyond repair when you have the right tools. Knowing how to maintain a skateboard – just as much as you can use it – helps to extend the durability of your board and trucks and preserve their quality.
This post will teach you how to identify signs of wear in your skateboard, clean, and maintain all its different parts. Some basic common sense things you can do on a regular basis include;
- Keeping your skateboard in a dry location
- Leaving your skateboard to dry when used in the rain
- Regularly checking your skateboard bearings for damage
- Removing and sanding down any chips or splinters
- Inspecting the grip tape for rips or damage
- Have spare parts to hand to swap out if required
Maintaining your skateboard will usually require using proper tools, but there are a few in your regular toolbox that can come in handy such as an open-ended spanner and an Allen key.
Most skateboard parts are universal
Bearings are built to be universal and will fit any wheel in the market. You can also easily replace any wheel of up to 58mm. Get some riser pads if you do not want your wheels touching the board as you carve. This is only for wheels of 60mm.
Trucks and skateboard decks should complement each other almost to the last millimetre. Too narrow or too wide will surely give you a sense of imbalance as you practice.
When maintaining your skateboard, your hardware is the nuts and bolts used to attach trucks. If you use shock pads, your hardware should be 1⅛ inch long. For those not using riser pads, use hardware of ⅛ inches and 1¼ for shock pads.
How to Maintain Skateboard Bearings
You should clean your bearings as regularly as you use them. If your bearings are showing the following signs, then it’s time to get out your skateboard maintenance kit:
- Sandy noise when you spin them around.
- Squeaky noises.
- Difficulty in pushing
- Wheels stop spinning within 4 seconds when you manually spin them.
- Wheels slow down quickly.
- It spins abnormally.
To take out the bearings from a skateboard, unscrew the axle nut and use a cheap rated skateboard tool to remove the bearings. Just using the truck axle can damage to your board’s axle thread and is not worth the risk.
All you then need to do is follow these steps to clean your bearings:
- Soak your bearings for 15mins in nail polish remover.
- Shake the cup or container to remove dust or sand. Just an easy swirl should do.
- Repeat this for an hour at most.
- Silicone lubes are handy to have. Apply and spin the bearings a few times in between your fingers.
You may find that putting your bearings back will be the hardest task but the lubricant should make it easier. Simply place them on your truck and apply pressure.
How to Maintain Your Skateboard Trucks
Trucks are the one part of a whole board that does not require much maintenance, but like other parts, trucks go through damage. The good news is that all its parts are easily replaceable.
Here is how you clean your trucks:
- Take off wheels and unscrew the hardware on top of your deck.
- Take off the kingpin nut.
- Ensure to remove sand and dust as you clean your trucks.
- If your nuts and washers look bad, replace them.
Other tips to help you keep your board in shape is to examine your bushings and axle regularly for cracks and damages. Replace parts such as damaged nuts or deformed washers.
Good skateboard bushings are not expensive to buy. It is common for users to overlook their importance, but bushings are what help in smooth turns and carvings, so take note. Replace them when they begin to show signs of wear & tear, cracks, crumbling, and crushing.
Get softer bushings if you like your trucks loose and hard bushings if you like them tight.
Maintaining Skateboard Wheels
Just wheels? No. Give the same attention to your wheels as you give other components of your skateboard. Dirty wheels can be maintained by taking out the bearings and cleaning the core thoroughly.
If you notice that your rear wheels are faster compared to the front, swapping is possible:
- Rear left to front right.
- From the left front to the right rear.
- Rear right to front left.
This method will evenly utilise all wheels.
Maintaining Skateboard decks
The condition of your deck is important. You’re at risk of injury if your deck suddenly splits while riding. Falling, slipping, bashing your deck is part of skateboarding.
Glue chips back when you notice them or replace the deck entirely. Go for an inexpensive blank deck if you can’t afford a new one.
Clean your deck as often as is needed but with minimum water to prevent your deck from absorbing water.
Maintaining your Grip Tape
It is worth noting that your skateboard deck will get dirty often. This should not be a problem, but you can give it a wipe if you like your deck clean. Use a brush to remove any dirt or smear. It won’t be spotless, but it won’t look grubby either.
Grip tape absorbs water and starts to peel off. Never use water when cleaning your grip tape.
Simply replace your grip tape if you think it is beyond repair.
They are small-sized and seemingly insignificant but your hardware will determine the performance of your skateboard. They can get rusty or break without warning, so replacing them or giving them some attention when you maintain your board will be to your benefit.
Skateboard hardware does not cost much. When you buy, ensure they are the right size.
Final Thoughts on How to Maintain Your Skateboard
Lastly, keep in mind that skateboards will get dirty or trashed no matter how well you maintain them. That’s what they were made for. This means that you are going to be replacing parts as often as necessary. Inspect your trucks and deck for damages and clean bearings to maximize performance. Do not ignore cracks or signs of wear. Do not leave your skateboard out in the rain or the sun.
Keep your skateboard in a cool, dry place or hang on the wall to keep it, people, from stepping or tripping on it