Although skateboarding accidents are not as common as car accidents, they make at least 80,000 emergency room visits annually. Thus, if you were planning on hitting your local skatepark without replacing the rusty or faulty bearings on your skateboard first, you have another thing coming!
Yes! Believe it or not, defective bearings are usually the prime suspects in skating accidents because they cause the wheels to seize up suddenly. In fact, try doing a powerslide and see if your board even budges with those bearings. You will not get far, and if you try to, you will hurt yourself without fail.
How to Replace Skateboard Bearings
Now, we get that living dangerously is a considerable part of the skater life aesthetic; however, a broken bone could potentially mean no skateboarding—for the rest of your life. Hence, if you want to skate to the end of your days, continue reading to find out how to replace skateboard bearings in a handful of steps.
Things You Will Need
Before you get down to business, procure a 13mm wrench and new skateboard bearings. To guarantee that the bearings are the right kind for your board, check with a professional at your go-to skateboard franchise. Expert advice will do you good if you plan on buying first-rate ones because, unfortunately, the bearings are not sold individually and might be a bad bargain if they do not fit.
If you only need a few bearings, you can simply borrow them from your skating buddies. Conversely, you can invest in the whole pack of them and save them for later usage. We recommend that you go for the latter option since you can give the bearings out to friends as well—if needed.
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Replacing Bearings in Six Simple Steps
Your first task is to remove the axle nuts at the center of the wheels. To successfully accomplish this task, secure the wrench and turn till they loosen up. Once you have removed the nuts, place them somewhere safe.
Remove the wheels carefully so as to not inflict any damages to the rest of the board. You should notice the bearings safely housed within the wheel.
The moment that you have been waiting for—i.e., removing the faulty bearings—has arrived. To pry a bearing loose, position its edge onto the truck bolt and push the wheel downward. Do this on both sides of the wheel until you have a pair of bearings.
To insert new bearings, place your wheel against a flat surface. Next, press the bearing into the anterior of the wheel till it fits firmly. Once it is in its rightful place, insert the spacer and then press the other bearing into the posterior of the wheel.
Once the bearings have been dealt with, it is time to slide the washers on. Firstly, put a washer on the truck bolt and slide the wheel on. Secondly, put another washer onto the slight bulge for the axle nut.
Conclusively, go grab the axle nuts, put them back on and tighten them. Hey Presto! Do a basic glide and see how smoothly the wheels turn now as opposed to when the bearings needed a replacement.
Which bearings should I invest in?
That really depends on how much money you are willing to spend. If you really want to save yourself money on frequent replacements and plan to treat yourself, you should look into Bones’ bearings. These bearings might be a little pricey, but they are known to last a startling 7 to 10 years.
What can I use instead of a 13mm wrench?
If you do not have a wrench at hand, we recommend that you use a ratchet instead. In case you do not have one of those either, a skate tool is another handy tool. If you do not have access to any of these, you can simply ask somebody to lend the tools to you for 20 to 30 minutes.
Is it necessary to replace the bearings?
That depends on the state of your bearings. If they creak just a little bit, try lubricating them instead of replacing the bearings altogether. However, if the wheel refuses to budge, then a replacement is long due. Remember, not changing the bearings could damage the wheels, so if you are trying to save money, damaged bearings will incur expenses one day or another—not reduce them.
Should I take any precautions before I start removing the bearings?
If you want to avoid getting grease and gunk on your hands, then we suggest that you put on some rubber gloves before you begin. Moreover, since a lot of prying and pushing is at play, be mindful not to damage the other parts of the board. Proceed patiently!
What can I use to clean my truck axle and axle nut?
Always use a silicone-based lubricant if you want to preserve the parts. These lubricants ensure that the parts do not dry out and remain dust and dirt-free for longer periods of time.
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If you have been procrastinating replacing your bearings, just know that you are putting not just yourself, but myriad people at risk. Think about it! A faulty bearing could spell disaster for anyone who is skating in your vicinity because of how helter-skelter things can be at skateparks. Thus, in order to avoid being permanently banned from your local park—that too on top of a lawsuit—replace your bearings as soon as possible.
If you always end up stalling it, get one of your skater friends to do it for you. Nonetheless, if you are worried about paying for the bearings, we reckon that a little speech on community spirit might make one of your community members lend them to you. Remember, you will not find out, till you try, so at least TRY!
The Bottom-line is: get them replaced by hook or by crook if they are beyond lubrication or oiling. You will be doing other skaters, and mostly, your board, a favor.