Roller skaters need to know how to keep their bearings clean. Today’s article will focus on cleaning roller skate bearings.
Clean skate bearings make your roller skates spin more freely and prolongs the bearing’s life.
Your roller skates can become brittle and difficult to maneuver around the rink if they are too dirty.
Things you Will Need to Clean Your Bearing.
- Dirty bearings
- Bearing puller
- Small screwdriver or nail file
- Canned air
My method is not always right.
However, the process is what I have learned from talking with other derby girls and asking questions at shops.
Keep doing it !!!! If you find your way to work. If you spot me doing something wrong, please let me know!
How to Remove Your Bearings From Your Wheel.
The best way to go is to buy a bearing pusher/puller. They are found in most multi-purpose skate tools.
Below is a video on how to get them off. It’s sort of a wiggling/round-and-round motion. Pulling from the back of the wheel is the easiest, and then pushing your tool through the middle to push the other through.
Most skateboard shops have bearing tools.
Why Should I Clean my Roller Skate Bearings?
Dirty bearings can make your wheels slow down and cause them to not spin as smoothly.
This can impact your skating performance, making it harder to stop or start. Even if you’re outside, dirt and grime can really build up.
Regular cleaning can help you skate better and save money.
How to Determine if Your Bearings Have Become Dirty.
If They look like this.
They are then dirty.
If they are not making grinding sounds when you spin them or don’t turn to the count of 1. then they are dirty.
Inspection of Bearings is Required Before Proceeding.
You should also check your bearings for any loose parts and ensure they are not lopsided. By almost always leaning in the same direction, we put a lot of pressure on our bearings.
Although I haven’t had this happen to me, I believe bearings will eventually begin to bend in the same direction as you lean in overtime.
Even after being cleaned and lubricated, if they don’t roll properly, you should throw them out or make them into keychain decorations.
Take Apart Your Bearings.
You should clean any dirt and debris off your bearings before removing them.
My bearings have removable crowns at the back. To avoid damaging the shield or cracking them, you must be careful. To gently pry off the crown, I use an eyeglass screwdriver.
There are many styles of bearings available on the market.
The way you disassemble them will vary. The bearings above have an easily-removed crown. If you remove the rubber shield from the other side of the crown, the little balls can fall out and roll around on your floor. If you have these bearings, don’t do it.
Bearings with 2 rubber shields on either side of the bearing ball will usually have spacers between them to keep them in place. To remove both rubber shields, use a safety pin.
Bearings that are completely encased with metal cannot be removed to be cleaned.
This video shows you how to disassemble bearings. It’s worth a look!
What Can You Use to Clean Your Bearings?
After I have removed all my crowns, I soak all my bearings with 70% rubbing alcohol. Although paint thinner and kerosene work, they can be irritating and hard on the skin.
A bearing-specific cleaner can be purchased at your local skate shop. There are also environmentally-friendly options, but you need to be careful about what you choose.
If there is any residue or film on the little balls, it will cause them not to roll well.
Take note: Dish soap doesn’t work well for bearings.
Mistakes I Made.
The first wash of my bearings was with soap and water. The little balls began to rust before my eyes after I let them soak too much. Make sure to have a quick-drying method if you plan to use water.
I panicked when I saw the rusting and grabbed my hairdryer and began to blow-dry them at the highest setting. You shouldn’t do this because it shrinks the outer rubber shield, which helps keep your bearings together.
You can use a hairdryer with a cool setting if you want to do this. Find out more about drying your bearings below
Clean The Crowns
My teammate advised me not to wash the crowns with chemicals and rub alcohol because it can cause the plastic to break down. It may be true, but I now give the crowns a warm soapy water bath.
I scrub off any traces of dirt and lubricants with a toothbrush while letting my bearings soak in alcohol.
I then rinse them with water. I then give the crowns a quick rinse with the rubbing alcohol to remove any residue. Finally, I towel dry them.
Clean The Bearings
Give them a scrub with a toothbrush. Then, I shake them in alcohol until they are clean.
To remove excess moisture, I towel dry them.
Do Not Have a Toothbrush? This is a Better Option!
Once you have taken them apart, place all the bearing parts in a glass bottle.
Fill it with alcohol, and shake it for 20 seconds. The friction of shaking the bearings with alcohol will be enough to clean them.
Here is a video showing you how to clean bearings. You can pick the best method for you, as some of his methods are different from mine.
Drying the Bearings
Paint thinner evaporates quickly if you use it. Some cleaners might need some help drying before bearings rust.
I use canned air if I can’t find 99% rub alcohol.
This is a great alternative if you have a mini compressor and are lucky enough to have one. To ensure that the bearing is dry, give them a good blow.
Check Your Bearings
You should ensure that the balls are perfectly smooth and free of pits. Also, make sure that the track inside is clear of any debris.
Reassemble Your Bearings
I align each ball so that they are roughly in line with the sockets of my crowns using the small screwdriver I used to remove the crowns.
Next, I push the crown in. Once everything is aligned properly, the crown should snap in easily. Be careful not to force your crown too much.
If you have bearings with spacers, you can simply snap the rubber shields into place.
What Happens if Your Bearings Become Damaged During a Cleaning?
Check out this video…
Add The Lube
This can be done before or after putting on the shields/crowns. It all depends on what kind of bearings and how they were assembled. Because I sometimes forget to replace the shields, I have done it both ways.
One drop on each side of the bearing is enough, but I was told that two drops would be sufficient. This does not require the use of skateboard lube. Canadian Tire sells 3 in 1 automotive oil. You can also purchase and use that oil.
It’s fine to use the speed cream hairdressers use for their scissors and other devices. Any lubricant that reduces heat and friction on the market will work on your bearings.
Give Them a Try.
Give the bearing a spin by putting it between your fingers. The bearing should make a pleasant sound (but it shouldn’t be tin-sounding as that would indicate you need more lube).
Once the bearing has come to a halt, roll for a reasonable time. You should not use your bearing if you hear strange noises or it stops abruptly while spinning.
They can be soaked overnight, then given another brush or shake to see if they come back.
It is possible to prolong the life of your bearings by keeping them clean and maintained.
This will help you save money. It’s best to allow yourself at least two hours for this task.
Additionally, it’s easier to work in groups.
What Should I Do if My Bearings Start Making Noise After Cleaning and Lubricating Them?
It could be that your bearings aren’t getting enough lubricant if they start making noise after cleaning them and lubricating.
Add a few drops of lubricant to each bearing, and then reassemble the wheels.
If the noise persists, you may need to replace the bearings.
Additional Tips for Cleaning Roller Skate Bearings
You can clean your roller skate bearings by following these tips.
- Make sure to clean your bearings between use, especially if you are skating in dirty areas.
- You can clean your bearings with a brush if they are very dirty.
- To get rid of any gunk buildup on bearings, it may be necessary to let them sit overnight in the bearing cleaner.
- Lubricate your bearings. This can make a big difference in making your bearings feel new again. Be sure to clean them well before applying.
- Before storing your bearings, dry them thoroughly. This prevents rust and corrosion.
Talk to your local skateboard shop tech man for more information on cleaning bearings.
They can skate in more dangerous areas than most people, and they are an excellent source of information.
You can also buy fancy cleaning containers to clean your bearings better!