That clunky sound you hear from your skateboard is probably from those bearings. Did you ever wonder how important this tiniest unseen part could be? Just like other parts, bearings require maintenance. Mostly, lubrication is fine but you may also need to change it sometimes. Replace the bearings before it gets too late. Believe me! It is not as tedious as it sounds.
After deep research on how to change bearings on a skateboard, I will tell you how to remove and install new bearings in the skateboard. The reason I invested so much time in this is to put all the necessary details into words perfectly. Gird up your loins, let’s do it together!
How to Change Bearings on a Skateboard – A Beginner’s Guide
Bearings are located inside a wheel. There are generally two bearings in a skateboard wheel. Bearings need lubrication to reduce friction. However, you may also need to replace the bearings twice a year. Both processes require the removal first. The following steps lead you to a successful bearing replacement process. Using the right tool can make your work a lot easier.
So what is the right tool for changing the bearings? With a skate tool and a rib bones bearing press puller, you can complete the task effortlessly. What happens if you don’t have it? No worries! Because I have come up with a solution to both situations. Come find out how!
Step 1. Pull out the Wheel
To remove the wheel from the axle, you have to unscrew the bolts on the outer edges. You can use the skate tool to loosen up the nut. If there’s no skate tool then you can use a wrench as well. Both do the same thing, but the skate tool has respected size of skateboard nuts. Well moving forward, unscrew the nuts and take out the wheel. Do this for one wheel at this time. You will repeat the process for others.
Step 2. Detach the Bearing using a Puller
If you don’t have a press puller, move to step 3.
Take the wheel in one hand. Press the button on the top of the press puller, and insert the wheel from one side. Make sure you grab the puller in the hand that has more strength. Release the button while the puller is still inside the wheel. This step locks the bearing on the puller. Now you have to rotate the puller while prying out the bearing from the wheel. Smoothly rotate and force it outward until it pops out. Congrats! You successfully removed a bearing.
Do the same on the other side of the wheel. There is no restriction on clockwise or anti-clockwise rotation. You can move it in any way convenient to you. The purpose of the rotation is not to put sudden pressure on the bearing. This may tear it apart. Just move slightly and let the tool do the work for you.
Step 3. Take out the Bearing Without any Tool
After loosening up the nuts. Keep the wheel on the axle. Take it to the edge of the axle such that it tilts outward. Meaning that the mid of the wheel-the center between two bearings- touches the edge of the axle. Now put a little pressure, rotate, and pry out the wheel. The bearing will stay on the axle and the wheel will separate in your hand. Sometimes the bearing may pop out of the axle too and vanishes somewhere. It is good as long as you don’t want it back.
Do the same on the other side of the wheel. Place the mid of the wheel on the edge of the axle, and rotate and detach the bearing from the wheel.
Step 4. Insertion of Bearing with a Press Puller
Those without the press puller can go to step 5 of insertion.
This step also requires you to be gentle. Take the press puller, and press its knob. Put it inside the bearing and release the knob. Then take the wheel in one hand and the puller in your other hand. You have to keep your hands with their gadgets facing each other. The bearing side of the puller should face the wheel. Point the bearing inside the hole of the wheel where it has to be inserted. Apply force on the puller’s head with your palm. The whole thing will be inside the wheel within a moment.
Delicately push the puller inside the wheel. Let the puller do its work. Now you have to pluck the puller out. For this, press the knob again and take the puller out of the wheel. Do the same on the other side. That’s it! So simple and quick.
Step 5. Street Way to Install the Bearings
If you don’t have the tool, don’t worry. Many skaters don’t require a tool to do this task.
There are two ways to do it.
- Take the bearing and wheel in your hands separately. Place the bearing on the required place and press it with both of your thumbs. You will notice the bearing goes inside the wheel.
- You can put the bearing on the axle and then put the wheel. Nicely press the wheel so it overlaps the bearing. You can slightly rotate the wheel left and right with a constant force on the wheel. The little sound is of the bearing going inside the wheel. Repeat the step for the second bearings as well.
Put the wheel on the axle and give it a check before tightening up the wheels.
Step 6. Final Assembly
It is time to place the washers in place, insert the wheel and tighten up the nuts. Check the proper working of a wheel. If you hear a squealing sound, it has not been fixed well. Testing it before an actual ride can save you from a bad injury.
That’s all to replace a bearing. The work doesn’t end here. There are some important instructions you need to follow before leaving for the installation process.
Take Away Notes
- Forcefully pulling out the bearing can damage the bearing. It may not work and you will have to get a new one. Be careful and don’t be harsh to your bearings throughout the process.
- Bearings come in different styles. If there’s a protective casing on the bearings. Put the protective casing facing downwards on the puller. This is because the protective layers are meant to be on the outer side of the wheel.
- Check the smooth rotation after insertion. While working with the press puller, you can keep the wheel on after insertion and rotate the wheel. The smooth rotation will tell you that the bearing is inserted properly. Otherwise, it will wiggle around.
- Given above is the right way of pulling the bearings out. If you thinking of using a hammer, put it down. It’s a terrible idea. You may not only ruin the bearing but also the wheel is destroyed.
- Also, take care of those nuts and washers removed during the process. Make sure you don’t lose them. Because losing them can get you in trouble.
How often should you change your bearings on a skateboard?
Bearings can last 1-2 years. However, if you are a rigid user of wheels and ride in the rain, there are more chances of bearing ceasing up sooner.
How do you know if you need new bearings?
The signs are the horrible sounds from your wheel. When you hear clunky or squeaky noise from the wheels while riding, that means the bearing needs attention.
Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean bearings?
Cleaning and lubricating are often required by the bearings. Yes, you can dip your bearings inside the alcohol glass to clean the rust on it.
Bearings are going to cease up if you ride in the rain a lot. Change the bearings before you end up ruining your wheels. The article took you to all the necessary steps needed to follow for replacing the bearings. See, it was not that tough. You need to be confident enough to manage it well. The tips given in the end can save a lot of your time. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. Let’s not worry about how to change bearings on a skateboard anymore. Because now you are in good shape to do it yourself.