How to Clean Skateboard Ball Bearings: How Old is Too Old?

how to clean skateboard bearings

How old is too old to clean skate bearings? That’s the question we’re going to answer today. Skateboards have a lot of moving parts, and one of them is the bearing that keeps your wheels rolling smoothly. As you ride your board, dirt and dust will get in between the moving pieces which can cause rust or breakage over time if not cleaned properly. There are many ways to clean these bearings, but this blog post will focus on how YOU can do it at home with minimal equipment!

Skateboard bearings are the small parts that allow you to roll around on your skateboard. There is a metal ball inside of each bearing, and two pieces of plastic called “shields” or “races.” The shields help keep dirt from getting into the center where the ball spins so it can stay smooth. Most people have never cleaned their bearings because they just assume rolling in more debris will make them work better. But this isn’t true–even if there’s only a little bit grit, dust, or water sitting between the shield and ball (which often happens) friction will eventually wear down your bearing until it doesn’t spin smoothly anymore.

The key to keeping your bearings working well for as long as possible is regular cleaning and maintenance. I think it’s pretty important to keep your bearings lubricated. I can’t tell you how many times a day my bearings are spinning at high speed, and if I didn’t have regular maintenance on them they’d seize up in no time flat!

If You are short on time, here are the quick steps:

  • Check & Ensure all required tools are available handy
  • Take the wheels off
  • Remove Bearings & their shields
  • Soak them In water or dish water soap
  • Clean dry them in uncompressed air
  • Put the Shields on & their Bearings
Tools for removing bearings and shield

The following tools are required for cleaning bearings that can be found at a hardware store or online.

  • Philips screwdriver
  • Ball Bearing Cleaner Gel/Liquid with high quality speed cream. If you are not fussy, any cleaning solution would do!
  • Parts Tray with Lid, Large enough to cover the bearing
  • Individual Bowl or Plate for each size of ball bearings to be cleaned. (If a small bowl, use two smaller bowls)
  • Cleaning Rag or Cleaning Sponge
  • The following tools are not required but can also help in cleaning process and consist of:
  • Small Bottle Brush with Nylon Bristles
  • Stationary Vacuum Cleaner or a hair dryer

The following tools will also be used to clean the bearings: -Clean Towel or Rag for drying/cleaning after each step. (Including cleaning rag)

  • Hot Water Pot with a Lid, Medium Size Enough To Cover Bearing
  • Bowl of Soap Liquid
Remoal Cleaning of Bearings

Remove The Wheels & Bearings

  • To remove the skateboard wheels, use a skate tool, such as the one that comes with our Skate Toolkit.
  • To remove skate bearings from their housing, use an Allen key (also known as a hex wrench) and either push up or pull down on each side of the bearing to loosen it in its axle hub. If you’re unsure which way to turn your Allen key, look for a small arrow engraved on the axle.
  • You can also use an Allen key to remove bearings from their housing if you have trouble getting them out with your hands alone.

Clean The Bearings

1. Clean the bearings by removing them from the wheels and using a brush to remove dirt and grime

2. Soak the bearings in a solution of water, dish soap, and baking soda for up to an hour. Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to clean the insides of the bearing

3.  Rinse off with clean water after soaking or use an air compressor to blow out all excess liquid

4. Place bearings into dry container (like Tupperware) so they are not touching each other and leave them overnight for drying

5. Grease up your wheels with some ball-bearing grease to keep them spinning smoothly. Use petroleum jelly on bearing surfaces if you want to make lubricant last longer

6. If you want to get really technical about it, use some lukewarm water and dish soap to clean off any dirt or grime that might be stuck on there

Bearings Shields and FAQ

Bearings, Bearing Shields & FAQs

Can you clean Rusty skateboard bearings?

Skateboard bearings are typically made from high-grade steel and the rust usually isn’t due to wear. Over time, dirt can build up in the bearing which may cause it to jam or make noise when rolling. This is a common problem for skateboards that spend long periods of usage without maintenance! It’s important to keep your bearings in good shape by cleaning them regularly.

If your bearings are already rusted, we recommend replacing the bearing with a new one before any further damage is done to the other components on your skateboard!

Do I need Bearing Shield for my Skateboard?

Bearing shields are not required but they do provide added protection against water and dirt. A good rubber or metal bearing shield is sufficient. Rubber shields do not add weight to the board but some experienced boarders who prefer weight on their board go with metal ones. There is no straight forward answer to this one-i’m afraid!

What are the Dimensions of Skateboard Bearings?

Standard skate board bearings come in these sizes:

  • Green, Double-Durometer Shielded Bearing – 53mm x 14mm x 20mm (203g)
  • Yang Yang Cylindrical Roller – 55.35mm x 12.25 mm Diameter

What can I use to clean skateboard bearings?

To clean your bearings, you’ll need some degreaser and a cloth towel.

  • Use the degreaser to remove all of the dirt from each bearing before wiping with a dry rag or paper towel. When finished cleaning them, wipe off any excess solvent that may have transferred over on to the other parts of your skateboard!
  • Preventing Bearings from Rusting
  • Bearing shields are not required but they do provide added protection against water and dirt.
  • One way to prevent your bearings from rusting is by spraying them with a silicon lubricant, which will also help keep the metal parts of your board smooth. However, this may void any warranty

What happens if your bearings rust?

If your bearings are rusty, it’s time to replace them. Cleaning rust from the bearing will not work and may damage the wheels as well.

One way you can tell if your bearings need replacement is by listening for a slight clicking sound when rolling across pavement or down stairs. This means there might be debris in the bearings that will need to be cleared out.

If you notice a clicking sound, it is best to replace your bearings with new ones so that they are not damaged and will last longer for the next user.

A second way is by checking if there’s rust on your skateboard wheels – when this happens, chances are there might also be rust inside the bearings that will need to be addressed.

If you notice rust on the wheels, it’s best to replace with new bearings and clean them out with a solvent before using again.

How often should your bearings be cleaned?

This is entirely up to preference. For most people, they recommend cleaning their pads after every session or when they notice a clicking sound.

If you’re not sure about your bearings, it’s best to take them apart and clean them with soap and water or an appropriate cleaner if needed.

Can I use compressed air?

We don’t recommend this. It can make the dirt and grime fly around which will then end up in your bearings, causing additional wear on them.

What are some cleaners that work well?

WD-40 is a good option for cleaning out dirty or wet bearings as it’s designed to remove rust from metal surfaces with minimal effort. Lighter fluids, such as kerosene and gasoline are also a good option if you’re willing to try them out. Follow it by applying some bones speed cream and you will have a spanking clean skateboard bearings.

What are Top Selling Bearings?

The Bones Reds Bearings are some of the best-selling bearings on Amazon. They come in a pack of eight and have been rated extremely well by customers, with 92% five-star reviews. The company is known for its high precision metal shields that help to keep dirt out while still being easy to clean.

These red bearings are designed to be durable and last for years. They have red shield covers on the sides that make it easier to clean, as they are not enclosed like other bearings. The Bones Reds Bearings come in a variety of sets including two, eight or ten-piece packs with different sizes available for any size skateboarder’s needs.

Prevent rust and clean skate board

Handy Precautions

  • Always wear gloves before you start working on bearings and shields. This will prevent the grease or dirt from getting your hands dirty.
  • Do not use a motorised drill to clean your bearings, as this can damage and cause more friction in the bearing which leads to rust.
  • Avoid using strong chemicals such as bleach on bearings because it may corrode them if they are dry after cleaning. This could also remove lubricant from the bearing.
  • It is imperative not to over-tighten bearings because this will cause too much friction, which can lead to rust and premature wear of the bearing.
  • After a soak bearings would need cleaning thoroughly. Re-lubricate your bearings with some type of oil or grease so they do not dry out and become corroded.
  • Use a skate tool to remove bearing shields to clean the shield.
  • Mineral spirits can be used to clean bearings but should not exceed 50% of the total amount that is being mixed.
  • Isopropyl alcohol should not be used to clean bearings because it can corrode the bearing.
  • If you are using a strong solvent such as acetone or lacquer thinner, then try to use an old rag that is not being saved for future projects so that it does not get ruined

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your bearings and bearing shield regularly will make them last longer, help maintain their speed and keep you skating faster. With a little time and patience to clean your skateboard bearings properly there’s no need to replace them every few months or even years! We hope this post was helpful, but if not we have more tips on maintaining the health of your board here. Happy Skating!

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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