Skateboard Maintenance Guide
How to Maintain Your Skateboard
If you don't already own a skateboard check out our skateboards page. If you already have a skateboard this article will help you make sure that your skateboard will last longer and perform better over time. It features the following:
- How to store your skateboard
- How long do skateboards last?
- Bearing Maintenance
- Skateboard Truck Maintenance
- Surfskate Maintenance
- Griptape Replacements and Maintenance
- Skateboard Hardware Maintenance.
How to Store Your Skateboard
When deciding where to store your skateboard it’s important to note the three things that damage your skateboard the most being moisture, heat and seabreeze. Therefore it’s a good idea to store your skateboard somewhere dry, cool and indoors. If you live near the ocean it’s not the end of the world however the combination of moisture and salt in the air may cause your bearings to wear out quicker even if your skateboard is maintained properly.
How Long Do Skateboards Last?
When it comes to skateboarding there are no guarantees. A professional skater can snap a deck in one trick or can keep the same board for years and years. A few components that will affect how long a skateboard will last is the size and age of the skater, the quality of the parts and the way in which the skateboard is used. For example if you are a kid skating along the beach it’s unlikely that you are going to snap your deck and therefore the deck should last a few years. If you are practicing your tricks everyday but not doing anything too crazy you will eventually get razor tail or chips in the wood. The important thing to remember is that decks and bearings are the main components that wear over time. Skateboard bearings and decks are most damaged by water so if you keep your board dry and try not to drag your tail you should get more life out of your set up.
It’s important to keep your bearing clean if you want them to perform as intended. Skateboard bearings can suffer from a build up of moisture, dirt or other potential debris, which will eventually, if left unfixed break your bearings.
What You Need
Ethanol - In order to properly clean your bearings you will need a pure alcohol solution like acetone or something similar. Ensure you are using 100% ethanol otherwise the cleaning agent you use could end up doing further damage to your bearings.
Lubricant - The best lubricant to use on skateboard bearings is normally sewing machine oil or white mineral oil. You can also purchase specific skateboard lubricants such as bones speed cream which are designed to keep your bearings rolling without friction.
A Sharp Object - When removing the bearings shields it is easiest to use a sharp object like a stanley knife or a small pin.
A Container - The bearings will need to soak overnight, so it is best to use an old water bottle or lidded container so that they can sit without spilling.
Warning - Do not use wd40 or other rust removal agents. They tend to leave a residue that attracts dust and degrades the bearing lubricant over time.
Bearing Cleaning Step by Step
Step 1: Remove the shield from your bearing using a pin or something small enough to pry off the shield. Cleaning the shield either with ethanol or soapy water will be fine for this piece of the bearing.
Step 2: Submerge and soak your bearings in a container of the ethanol solution you’re using for between 2 - 5 minutes. Then drain the dirty ethanol out and replace it with a clean ethanol solution. Repeat this process until the ethanol in the container is no longer discoloured and can be considered clean.
Step 3: Dry your bearings off using a can of compressed air. If you don’t have a can of compressed air you can also leave your bearings on a paper towel and leave for several hours.
Step 4: At this point you can lubricate your bearings if you like, this guide recommends doing this as it’s the best course of action to ensure healthy bearings. Ensure the lubricant you’re using is fit for purpose and isn’t going to rust or re-dirty your bearings! You can try Bones speed cream or another similar skateboard bearing friendly lubricant.
Step 5: Put your bearing shields back on and put your bearings back in the wheels and get out skating!
Skateboard Truck Maintenance
Skateboard trucks are the longest lasting part of your skateboard. If you invest in a good quality pair of trucks they can last 2-10 years without having to replace them. The parts on skateboard trucks that wear quickly are normally the bushings and the pivot cups. If you are skating around with broken pivot cups or bushings it can cause extra wear on the hanger and eventually cause a breakdown of the truck itself. It is recommended that you check to make sure your pivot cups and bushing are not splitting or broken regularly.
Surfskates or surftrainers use a swiveling front truck that allows you to generate speed on your skateboard by carving or turning. Most of the board requires the same maintenance as a normal skateboard however, it is important to make sure the front truck is checked and maintained to lower the risk of damage and to ensure a smooth ride. The type of maintence will depend on the type of surf skate you own.
The Carver C7 truck is the original surf trainer truck. It allows a smooth and fluid motion. The C7 truck uses a spring a pin mechanism allowing that needs to have the tightening bolt tightened regularly. It is also best to clean and lubricate the Bearing rings if they are showing signs of wear (follow bearing cleaning guide to directions). The spring may over time become detached from the pin mechanism. If this happens undo the spring king pin, loosen the tightening bolt, reattach the pin to the spring and reassemble.
Carver CX, OB5 RK1 And Sixty Six Skateboards
These surftrainer trucks are the strongest and require the least maintenance. It is recommend to follow normal truck maintenance for these trucks (see truck maintenance guide).
Waterbourne (Penny Highline and Z Flex Surfskates)
The waterborne truck adapter is a simpler design than the Carver C7 but has some similar parts. It is the loosest surf skate that we sell and has a super reactive turn. The main ways to maintain this surf adapter is to make sure the inside of the rubber mechanism is lubricated and that the bearing rings are cleaned and relubricated.
Griptape loses grip over time and also can get dirty. Having a grippy skateboard is important as it locks your feet onto your board and also gives you more control of your tricks. If you store your skateboard properly it should last longer.
Griptape Cleaners - One way to clean your grip tape is to purchase a griptape cleaner. They are made out of a gum material that you rub along your griptape to remove dirt and stains. This works best if your griptape still has a significant amount of grip.
Griptape Replacements - If your skateboard is starting to lose its grip it might be time to re-grip. Regripping can be a little bit tricky but is the most effective way to increase the grip of your skateboard. In order to do this properly you will need a hair dryer, screwdriver and stanley knife.
Step 1: In order to regrip your skateboard you will need to remove the original griptape by heating it up with a hair dryer and peeling it back. This job can be difficult so it’s a good idea to heat up the grip as much as possible before attempting to soften the glue.
Step 2: Remove the backing paper and lay the sticky side of the grip directly onto the deck. Press it down flat and if you have any air bubbles poke them with a knife and massage out.
Step 3: Run the screwdriver around the edges of the board until you can see a white outline of the deck.
Step 4: From underneath the skateboard run the stanley knife along the edges of the board following the outline made by the screwdriver.
Step 5: Use some of the left over grip tape to file the edges of the deck until they are pressed down and smooth.
The bolts used to hold your trucks to your skateboard deck are known as skate hardware and can often become rusty and hard to use. This only becomes a problem if you want to swap out your deck. The best thing to do is if you see your hardware starting to rust replace them before they become difficult to remove. If you already have rusty hardware that you want to remove try soaking them in wd40 for several hours before attempting to remove. It’s important that when removing hardware you use a well fitting allen key or phillips head screwdriver to lower your risk of threading the bolts.
Contact Us for More Info
If you have trouble implementing any of the things featured in this article you can come into our skate shop in Sydney and we can help you with your skateboard. Alternatively you can email email@example.com for more info.