Longboarding is all fun and exciting. From youngsters to young adults – the game doesn’t discriminate when it comes to entertaining one. Cruising on the sandy beach walk, blowing dust on your favorite ramp, or jumping across the muddy puddle in your lawn, certainly, you should avoid those to save your board the extra filth and dirt but skaters will always be excited skaters!
After months of enjoying all the bumps and jumps, if you start to feel your board is exhausted, it doesn’t perform like before, the wheels don’t spin as fast as before- then it is only right to show your plaything a little care. A good cleanup of your longboard wheels, bearings and trucks is unbeatable in this aspect!
Let’s keep the reading going!
parts of longboard
Longboards are a revised version of skateboards. Same the mechanism but with a larger board and enhanced performance. There are three visible parts:
- The board
- The trucks
- The wheels
The deck board is mostly made of maple wood, if you don’t choose to buy an average product. Maple wood is sustainable considering the board has to go through rough patches with your weight on it. The trucks attach the axle bar with your board that holds the wheels on both sides. Metal-made trucks have certain care guides too!
Wheels are made of urethane. Until they are rugged, you can keep them new if you take proper care. They also hold the bearings inside of them, which requires regular cleaning & lubricating.
Here’s how to clean different parts of your longboard with explained methods for your better understanding.
How To Clean Longboard Bearings
Bearing is a mechanical part that restricts relative motion to only a desired motion and reduces traction between moving parts. They make it work with the help of small metal balls fitted inside of them. It is to make your rides feel smooth.
If you have started to notice your wheels aren’t working as smoothly as before, it might be the right time to have a look inside your bearings. Bearings come in contact with muddy patches easily, which dry up later on & turn into dust particles.
Similarly, dust from riding on a sandy skatepark, cement sidewalks, or dried leaves also make your bearing unclean. Over time, all of these cause additional grinding between the steel balls of your bearings and slow you down.
The solution lies in cleaning & lubricating longboard bearings. A bearing motor keeps working smoother & faster and eventually brings faster rides if cleaned properly.
Lubricating comes second as you want to seal that freshly cleaned vibe longer as well as reduce friction for longer-lasting. Here are the steps you need to follow :
Step 1 : Scooping out the Bearings
The first step is to scoop the bearings out of the rubber wheels. Make sure you don’t cause any harm to the holding edge of the wheels in the process. Twist the axle nut with a wrench and loosen out the first wheel.
As it comes out, don’t take out the wheel fully & let them stay on the axle bar. Now wobble the wheel a bit and you will feel the first bearing pop out of the wheel. Slide the wheel out of the axle without the bearing. Flip the wheel & slide it back on the axle. Jiggle it again to pop out the second bearing.
At the end of this step, you will have two bearings out of one wheel on your axle and the wheel in your hand. Repeat the process with your other three wheels.
Step 2 : Cleaning the Bearings
This is the step that involves all the essential work. Be careful!
Use a sharp pin to tear off the bearing covers. You will be able to see the metallic balls with naked eyes.
Submerge the bearings in 70% isopropyl alcohol or acetone for cleaningShake the jar so that the alcohol reaches every corner.
Do not soak for more than 5-10 minutes. For stubborn grease like mud or gunk, soak the bearings into a mixture of soap & luke warm water.
After a while, use a small brush to scrub the metal balls to clean out the gunk. If you notice the water turning dark from the dirt of the bearings, it is a sign that the bearings are now clean.
Once the longboard bearings are clean, dry them up. Put them under sunlight on a sheet to dry naturally. No water droplets should be remaining inside the bearings otherwise they will form rust. So, dab them until dry one by one.
Step 3: Lubricating The Bearings
Don’t forget to thank me later for this one! Lubricating the bearings from time to time keeps the robot in good condition.
Doing it after a fresh clean is essential & the bearings will feel like a new. You can use any bearing oil or professional lubricant.
Do not use kitchen oils(vegetable/olive oil) in this aspect. They are of too thick consistency and clog up the spin.
Drop 2 or 3 droplets of the selected liquid in each bearings. Tilt the bearings around so that it reaches every corner. This will help you to get the best longboard bearings which spin faster.
As they are lubricated, wipe off any extra solvent from its body. Push the bearing shields back on to cover the bearings again. Follow the same instructions to clean the nuts and bolts with the bearin
How To Clean Longboard Wheels
Wondering why your wheels are not performing well?
Longboarding is recreationally exciting until you have your wheels filled with gunk and mud, halting it from spinning at its best.
In my article today, I am going to describe different methods of cleaning your longboard wheels effectively.
What Do You Need To Clean Longboard Wheels
While cleaning your wheels, gather all the equipment and supplies for the work. Getting the supplies ready at hand will save you the hassle & time. You are going to need:
- A surface i.e. the floor or a countertop
- A running water source
- Any Liquid soap
- Cleaning rug
- A wrench (a must)
- Wire brush
- Towels/ Sheets
- Separate Containers to soak wheels
- Your longboard
03 Methods To Maintain Longboard Wheels
What is a victory without a mess? If you get all drenched in the process, understand that you are on the right track. Select a working space out of your house or garage beforehand.
Best is to work in the sun. If you don’t have that open space and water source, you may want to use your kitchen sink or countertop. Spread towels all around to keep it from getting all soggy if you are working indoors.
Cleaning longboard wheels involve different methods depending on how dirty they have become or when did you get them cleaned last. It all varies between showering, soaking, scrubbing and buffering.
Method 1: Deep Cleanse the Longboard Wheels
Followed by our section 1, if you have already taken out your bearings for a cleaning, this method is for you. It starts with dismantling the wheels first.
1.1 Dismantle The Wheels:
This is the most engineering part of the cleaning. Remove the wheels off of your longboard axle with a wrench or skate tool.
You can use a 0.5inch socket wrench for the job. Hold the axle nuts & turn it loose to take out the wheels. If you followed through our section 1, you already know how to take off the bearings out of the wheels. You can use any sharp tool for the job.
While screwing out your longboard wheels, a small piece will fall out from the middle of the wheels. It is the bearing spacer. Insulate the pieces safely as you’ll need it again to reassemble them.
Keep all the parts such as wheels, nuts, and bearings, spacers etc. in separate containers to make sure they don’t go missing.
1.2 Deep Cleanse:
As you have reached the most mandatory part of the action, do not miss any details.
Let’s get to work now! Get close to the water source & fill up a container half with warm water. You may use a bucket or your kitchen sink. Dilute with liquid soap i.e. dishwashing soap or shampoo. It must be a decent oil removing agent.
Now, soak all your wheels into the mixture for 10 mins or longer if you think they are too dirty.
Secondly, scrub the wheels with a brush or wiping cloth to rinse away soil or gunk of your wheel track. Here is when the wire brush will come at handy. Turn around the wheels to check for any hidden gunk and wire brush it off. Rinse the longboard wheels off if you are done. Repeat the process until clean like new.
The drying method of urethane wheels takes longer than any other part of the longboard. Urethane may soak a bit of water which will make your wheels soggy and your after rides slower. You have to keep the longboard wheels under the sun for 8-10 hours to dry completely.
Method 2: Showering with Water
In this method, we will use only water to splash on the longboard wheels to give them a good shower followed by scrubbing & buffering. For this method, you will not need to dismantle any part.
It is not a deep cleansing process as it will only wash off external mud and dirt. A garden hose pipe is much preferable as the water source. Hose pipes have good force of water which will be helpful to wash off stubborn mud grains.
Simply lay your longboard upside down on the surface you are working. And wash off by aiming the nozzle towards the wheels and trucks.
Turn up the water temperature a bit on the higher side. You can repeat the process 2-3 times for better cleaning.
Leave your longboard in sunlight to dry up every drop of water from any corner. There must not be water trapped inside the body of the longboard or it will cause rust.
A great tip is to keep a rug or towel beneath your board while you shower it. It will prevent the rough surface from causing any scratches to your favorite playtool.
Method 3: Gum Removal from the Wheels
It is an additional step which can be added with any of the above methods. It is for the times we ride through chewed gumballs on our way. A very common occurrence for longboard riders is riding over gums. It is very annoying as well as the gum doesn’t seem to come off easily and attracts more gunk. In that case, after soaking & scrubbing the wheels good enough you have to clean it with oil.
Dip a piece of rug in a generous amount of oil and scrub off the area that has gum stuck to it. Make sure the oil is covering the gum from all sides. Oil breaks the gum and its rubber components. It cuts through the bond where the gum is sticking on the wheel.
Lastly, rinse the wheel again with soap & water & dry under sunlight.
How To Clean Longboard Trucks
Knowing your machine is the first & foremost of maintenance and cleaning. We tried to answer some of your queries that might arise in your mind.
What is a Truck: Longboard trucks hold all the mechanisms & metallic parts to your maple longboard. They are longer in width than the trucks of a skateboard. Usually, they range from 140mm to 150mm in length. Cleaning them is as important as cleaning any other part of your longboard. Check out best longboard trucks guide to find suitable trucks for you
The Parts of a Truck: The longboard trucks generally includes:
- Axle: The metal bar that runs across the hanger. It holds the wheels on both sides. It plays a vital role in deciding the longboard’s truck tightness.
- Kingpin: Wrapped tightly with the bushings, it holds the hanger in place. It also provides Pivot Points.
- Bushings: These are also known as Pivot Cups. Bushings are Urethane made cups which hold the kingpin in place & provide additional grip to the nuts.
- Hanger: The part which connects the trucks & axles to each other. While buying longboards or upgrading axles, it is important to go for a good quality one or they easily bend, ripping the hanger along. Bend axles hamper your ride when you want to ride straight.
- Baseplate: It is a rectangular metal body that screws the deck to the other parts of the truck. Baseplate angle means the angle of the kingpin. The more angled the baseplate is, the more manageable are your longboard turnings.
6 Methods To Clean and maintain your Longboard Trucks
Cleaning the trucks can be hectic as it requires detaching a lot of parts. Arranging all the necessary tools & keeping the parts safe until reassembling them is another hassle. But here we have explained everything step by step for your ease. Read along!
Step 1: Detach Wheels, Bearings & Bushings
Detach the wheels & bearings by following the instructions stated in sections 1 & 2. Some little parts such as bushings and spacers will fall off as you loosen the axle nuts. Collect them carefully. Be gentle while pushing through the bearings to ooze out the bearing shields. Keep everything in a jar for further cleaning. It will also keep the little parts safe from getting lost.
Step 2: Alcohol Cleaning
Pour 70% isopropyl alcohol into the jar. Make sure all the parts are submerged properly. Turn off the lid tightly and shake the jar. Keep the jar away for better cleaning.
Meanwhile, clean the wheels & bearings following our section 1 & 2.
Step 3: Scrubbing
This step is rather self-explanatory. Clean the longboard truck using a brush or scrubber. Gently rub the truck, baseplate, and around the screw holes to break off layers of grease & mud.
Similarly, scrub off the deck of your longboard with a hard bristle brush and rinse with warm water. A back is to brush harder around the grip tape as that areas attracts the most mud.
Step 4: Taking out The Little Parts & Cleaning them
Remember the jar from step 2? Time to open the lid and rinse everything inside of it with water. If you feel the parts still have grease & oil on it, you can scrub them using a tiny nylon brush. Dab the nuts and bushings dry with a clean sheet leaving no water drop at all.
Step 5: Lubricating
Lubricate the longboard truck and baseplate well with lubricating oil before putting everything back up. Follow the same tips given for lubricating longboard bearings. Make sure you lubricate the bearings well but not the screw holes on the truck.
Step 6: Reassembling
Reverse step 1 of section 1 to reassemble your wheels & bearing back on the board. Make sure you have tightened the nuts properly to keep everything in place. You can also follow an instruction manual if you feel confused. After you are all done, spin the wheels freely to check for any disturbance. Hold the board on your eye level and spin the wheels. Lastly, you can loosen or tighten your trucks according to your preference.
Maintenance of the Truck & the Longboard:
Talking about your longboard truck pretty much wraps up the bearings and axle too. Though the longboard Truck maintenance involves mostly lubricating the machine and showering with warm water.
But deep cleansing is only right to take care of the longevity of your longboard. For the deck maintenance, brushing with a hard bristle brush and warm soapy water is enough as a maintenance procedure.
Most frequent questions and answers
Should I clean longboard bearings?
The answer is definitely yes. Cleaning your bearings & indicating them from time to time is only essential for them to work smooth and creamy. If you are not confident, follow any bearing guideline. For a plus side, our article here is filled with instructions & tips for the same.
When to clean longboard bearings?
I would say it depends on the person using the longboard. If the rider feels the bearings are not performing adequately, helping the wheels in spinning faster then he might try cleaning them once part by part.
If the cleansing does not improve the performance, it might be time to upgrade them.
Which method is best for cleaning the wheels?
As stated above, the cleaning method depends on how dirty your wheels have gotten. Normally showering with warm water helps. But the long build dirt and mud don’t want to go off easily.
Then one needs a deep cleansing. Again, sometimes we ride through chewed gums on our way. It requires different products to clean that. Follow my method 3 from how to clean longboard wheels.
How often do you clean longboard bearings?
Bearings are metal-made machinery. Cleaning them once every two or three months is enough for a fresh, smooth working ability. Cleaning them very often involves screwing them in & out, which makes them rugged. Again, if you are not a pro at this, leaving behind water trails can turn them rusty too.
Can you put WD40 on longboard bearings?
Experts advise not to put WD40 on clean longboard bearings. The product is specifically designed to remove rust and gunk. But it dries up the bearings too much. It also harms the bearings in the long run
Why do longboard wheels turn yellow?
Longboard wheels are made of urethane. It is a component that degrades & breaks down under exposure to sunlight. Thus, the wheels might turn yellow. Another reason could be the absorption of oil or dirt from the ground.
What is a good weight limit for longboard maintenance?
The weight lifting capability of longboard’s depends on board length & wood type. While it ranges from 200-250lbs, a high quality longboard supports 250lbs because of its multiple layered structure. A less quality longboard will only work under 200lbs of weight.
There, you have it!
Being religious about taking care of your longboard parts will always pay off. It allows your longboard a longer life so that you can get the most out of your time together.
We have noted down the most hassle-free & easiest ways to clean your longboard wheels, bearings & trucks. So that you don’t procrastinate. Tidy up every time you come back from riding in extreme wet or dusty conditions. Better to unwind bearings and clean up than buying new ones.