How and WHY to clean your wheels and bearings
While we all love our roller skates, sometimes we don’t treat them with the TLC they deserve. Sometimes, we don’t even treat them as well as we treat our old running shoes. If a shoelace breaks, we probably replace it pretty promptly, but sometimes we’ll keep skating and skating on clogged up bearings for weeks, asking our friends what that terrible noise is, and complaining when everything seems a little slower than usual.
Even though you can’t see what they’re doing most of the time, bearings are one of the most important parts of a skate set up. They keep our wheels spinning and generate all that adrenaline inducing speed that keeps us putting our skates on again and again. That’s why it is important that we regularly clean our bearings, and those wonderful hubs or urethane that contain them, our wheels!
Dirty, old and rusty bearings can be a recipe for disaster, no matter what you’re skating style. They can seize up, more easily blow out, and just generally harsh your roll, which leads to more frequent falls and mishaps that might result in serious injury.
Our advice? Don’t risk it! Take a little time out to maintain your skates and you will be so stoked on your smooth glide that you will forget all about those few pesky minutes it took.
Remove your wheels from your skates using a skate tool and take your bearings out of your wheels using a bearing tool. Don’t remove your bearings with another sharp metal object as it can damage their casings.
Clean your wheels with warm, soapy water and a cloth. Pay special attention to any build up in the cavity where your bearings usually sit.
Next, use a small pin to take the plastic covers off your bearings.
Place your bearings in a small, lidded container with some bearing wash. Use just enough to cover the bearings. Shake vigorously to remove any dirt and clogged up materials.
Remove the bearings from the liquid and dry along with your wheels on a lint free cloth or towel. You can also let them air dry on a paper towel. Make sure they are completely dry before moving to the next step.
Apply a tiny drop of bearing lube to each bearing. Give each bearing a spin between your fingers to ensure they are rolling smoothly, then replace their covers.
Put the bearings back in your wheels, put your wheels back on your skates, and GO SKATING!
There you have it.
A total wheel and bearing maintenance that is quick and pain free. Don’t make the mistake of rushing out to buy new bearings every time yours feel sticky or slow. The only time you need to replace your bearings is if they are rusted or blown, and will no longer spin even after a good clean.
Not only will working this process into your regular routine make you love skating even more when you’re whizzing about, but it will also keep you safe, and will actually save you money!
What are you waiting for? Your skates are calling.