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In this journey, the skateboard is your inseparable partner. As you can see, it has to withstand your weight, rough terrain, friction, and many other forces. Without proper and thorough maintenance, it will break down quickly. Fortunately, you can take care of most skateboards with simple tools and techniques.
The Reasons Why You Should Maintain Your Skateboard Regularly
Skateboards come in a wide range of prices. Some of them can be quite affordable since they only cost from 20 to 50 dollars. For beginners and casual players, they can satisfy most usages. Meanwhile, the high-end ones can cost several hundred bucks. No matter which kinds of skateboards you are using, you should still look after them carefully.
Even if you can buy a replacement easily, you should not neglect the maintenance of your skateboard. Once the bearings or wheels get dirty, rusty, or jammed, they will disrupt your practice since they cannot move smoothly. On top of that, you can get serious injuries if it stops working during the training process.
Furthermore, skateboard maintenance does not require complex equipment or techniques. Every skater can conduct these tasks with some easy-to-find tools and a comprehensible guide.
What to Notice before Conducting the Maintenance
Skateboards are mostly made out of wood and metals to handle heavy loads and forces. The decks are usually made from maple wood coated with water-resistance plastics such as polyurethane. As a result, there is not much work we can do with this part. However, we should still store the skateboards in dry, cool, and clean places. You can also apply an additional coating or spray paint to provide more protection for the deck.
The board is covered by a grip tape. This rough sheet, a thin sheet of fabric allows the skater to stay on the deck when playing. For that reason, the grip tape attracts and hold a lot of dirt or mud on it. If the dirt accumulates into thick layers, you will not be able to stand firm on the deck anymore. Therefore, cleaning the grip tape is an essential part of the preservation procedure.
The bearings, wheels, and trucks are vulnerable to moistures and dirt since they are made from metal. The space between the bearings is small. They also come in contact with water, dirt, and the surface extensively. The water or dirt can get into the internal structures of the bearings, causing rusting or jamming. These obstacles will immobilize the whole structure and stop the movement of the skateboard. In some cases, they even destroy the bearings with excessive friction.
As a result, the maintenance process mainly focuses on cleaning and lubricating the bearings and the wheels. You should do this regularly to ensure that the skateboard always performs as expected. Moreover, you should maintain the bearings right after practicing in the rain or wet surfaces.
The trucks are responsible for connecting the bearings and wheels with the decks. In cases it meets problems, you will find it hard to turn to land. Fortunately, you can replace them by yourself without much effort.
Maintain Your Inseparable Skateboards
Prepare Necessary Tools
Next, you will need solvents or cleaners to eliminate the dirt, grease, or anything stuck on the bearing and wheels. There are many choices for you, but solvents are the most effective. However, you have to follow the regulation in cases you are using industrial solvents for metals.
Lubricants are essential to keep the bearings moving freely. They also lengthen the lifetime of these rolling components by preventing rust and overheating. For skateboards, you should use the oil-based lubricants. They are affordable and fulfill most of your requirements.
To clean the grip tape, you will need a tender brush and a few sheets of sandpaper. When you have prepared all of the mentioned items, it is the time to commence the work.
Preserving the Deck
Storing the Wood Board
Cleaning the Grip Tape
First, you need to clear out the big-particle dust. You can do it with a soft brush or a tender rubber. You can find it in most convenient stores. Start from one side of the board, and you rub the surface gently until finishing the whole area.
If the mud is too dry and sticky, you can spray some window cleaner solutions onto the grip tape before rubbing it. However, you should limit the numbers of time you do this action. The solutions can soften the grip tape and ultimately ruin it. Remember to dry it after you are done.
Dissemble the Skateboard
Maintaining the bearings and the wheels
The serviceable type only has a plastic or rubber shield over the bearings. By taking out this shield, you can access the balls or the rollers of the bearing. Thus, you can perform deep cleaning with this type. When choosing the cleaner for your bearings, you should notice which kinds of materials they are made from metal or ceramic. Each of them has distinct features. Thus, they require different solvents or cleaners.
To begin with, you will use a skate tool or a plier to loosen the bolts locking the wheels to the bearings. When you have gotten the wheels out, clean them properly and place them on the side. Now, we go to the main part of the maintenance process: cleaning and lubricating the bearings.
I will not talk about the sealed bearings since there are not many tasks to do. I will focus on the serviceable ones. As mentioned above, you will see a plastic shield on them. By using a little force and a thin knife, you will be able to pry it out. Be careful not to apply too much force, and they can damage the components.
When you finish this task, you will see the balls inside the bearings. Take them out and clean them thoroughly with a towel and solvents. One of the favorite tools for skaters is the Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit. It allows you to clean multiple bearings at once. You just need to pour the solvent into the bottle, assemble the bearings onto the special cap. Then, you put the cap back to the bottle, and shake it.
You can clean the bearings individually when you do not have this cleaning unit. If you use citrus cleaners, you have to wipe them off immediately and totally. The next step is to apply some drops of lubricants onto the balls.
Finally, you reassemble the balls into the cages and put them back in the bearings. Before putting them back on the skateboard, you should spin them a few times to check. If the bearings spin smoothly without creating any noise, you are doing a good job.
Getting the Trucks out
The trucks contain two parts: the Baseplate and the Hanger. The former lies on the top of the latter, and there is an axle running through the Hanger. Between them is a rubber layer called the Grommet or Bushing. The softness of this part decides the easiness of turning.
All of these parts are connected by a bolt called the Kingpin. You can adjust the resistance to turning by loosening and fastening the Kingpin. If the Grommet is too hard or too soft, you should get a replacement from the store.
Reassemble Your skateboard
You should check the skateboard a few times to see how much noise it makes, and how smoothly it runs. If you can handle it like new, your maintenance process can come it an end. Otherwise, you should find the cause, and redo that part to ensure the best performance.
What Will You Get from a Proper and Regular Maintenance Schedule?
Nevertheless, your sports equipment must be in excellent conditions anytime. Not only they will give you a pleasant experience, but they also protect you from possible accidents or injuries.
For skateboards, the maintenance process is relatively simple. As you can see, they are not complex at all. If you can practice skateboarding, I am pretty sure you can prolong the use of your skateboard with ease.
With well-performed and regular maintenance, your skateboard will not only last longer but also always delivers the best performance you can expect. All you need to do is some effort and easy-to-find tools. Spending a few hours at the weekend in exchange for enjoying the whole week sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?
Skateboarding lovers, let do it now. There is no reason for you to hesitate. In my opinion, you will get more motivation and energy to practice if you take care of the equipment by yourself. It also increases the value of your passions.
If you find this article helpful, please share it with other people who love skateboarding. The more well-kept skateboards we have, the safer and better community we can create for ourselves.