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 Wheels/Bearings Maintenance

Wheels and bearings need to be cleaned if you are experiencing noise when skating, a resistance can be felt when free spun, you’re an outdoor skater and its been several months since you’ve cleaned your gear.

Materials:

Your Skates

Skate Tool or socket wrench

Bearing Puller

Old T-Shirts for rags

Bearing cleaner*

Bearing Oil

Soap and water

Bucket or bowl

Small brush

Canned air

Baking Tin or other Square Tin

  1. Remove the axle nuts allowing you to take the wheels off the truck axles. Take this chance to clean any dirt or grim off the trucks themselves.
  2. Pull bearings out of your wheels. This can be done very easily with a bearing pulling tool. Try to avoid using your axle trucks as you will either end up ruining a bearing or the threads of the axle. These can be purchased for approximately 12-15 dollars and will save you a lot of trouble. Avoid touching or pressing on the dust covers as damage to this part of the bearing can cause resistance.
  3. With the bearings out of the wheels you can wash the wheels in with soap and water. Wheels only – DO NOT PUT BEARINGS IN SOAP AND WATER
  4. Place bearings in square tin and cover with enough cleaning liquid to fully submerge. Agitate this every few minutes, a couple of times. If you have really dirty bearings you may need to dump out the cleaner and repeat the process. You’ll know they are clean when they spin freely with no resistance or noise.
  5. Dry your bearings by using the canned air. Make sure they are completely dry! Any water left will rust your bearings. If you live somewhere warm and dry you can lay them out to dry as well.
  6. Once dry place one drop of oil in each bearing and give it a spin to spread the oil around inside the bearing. Do not put too much oil in the bearing because it will attract more dirt and you’ll be cleaning bearings again very shortly. Note that if the bearing still doesn’t seem to be spinning correctly it is more than likely just time to buy new bearings.
  7. Take your wheels out of the soapy water and scrub away any dirt or grim. Dry well.
  8. Press your bearings back into the wheels. With metal hubbed wheels you may need to put a small amount of oil on the metal hub itself to help ease in the bearing. Do not use too much force as you risk denting a bearing or breaking small parts.
  9. Place wheels back on the truck axles and tighten the axle nuts back on. Tighten the nuts all the way down until the wheel just barely turns, then back it off a ¼ turn at a time until the wheel spins freely. It should be snug enough that the wheel spins freely but does not slide back and forth on the axle.

*A Note About Cleaners: Citrus cleaners can work but tend to leave behind a slight residue. Solvents can be dangerous to use but provide a much better solution to cleaning those really dirty bearings. If you chose to use a water based, citrus, or detergent cleaner make sure to immediately dry the bearings and coat them with lubricant to prevent rusting.  Bones Bearings mentions using pure or almost pure isopropyl alcohol, Gumout Carb Cleaner, or acetone.  If you use one of these solvents be sure to wear gloves and clean in a well ventilated area.
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