Canada's Largest Online Skateshop - Area 51 in Duncan, BC

Skateboard Maintenance

How to maintain and prolong the life your skateboard



  Avoid Water

Keep skateboards out of water. Boards will absorb water. Water can break down the glue holding the plies together, causing delamination. Water will also corrode bearings and mounting hardware. This corrosion will slow down and seize bearings. Avoid rain, and skate under covered areas if the ground is wet. If you must skate in wet conditions, dry off your board as much as possible after a skate session, and re-lube your bearings.

  Wheels

Rotate your wheels. Most wheels are centre-set and symmetrical, meaning the bearings are in the middle of the wheel. The wheel can be mounted on the truck with either side facing outward, even if the graphic is printed only on one side of it. Flipping the wheels and rotating them from side to side, back to back, and diagonally, will help wheels wear equally and last longer. Without rotation, wheels will cone and may end up different sizes. If wheels are not centre-set, they should still be rotated regularly, as front wheels tend to cone and wear faster than rear wheels. When tightening axle locknuts, use a socketed tool or a skate tool. Do not apply too much pressure when tightening, this will damage the bearing shield.

  Bearings

Clean bearings regularly. Wiping off the dirt from the shields prevents debris from getting inside the bearing. Use a bearing lube such as Bones Speed Cream to prolong bearing life. If you have squeaky or noisy bearings, it means you need to lube your bearings. Never use WD-40. It will increase the speed at first, but it will quickly dry out any lubrication. WD-40 leaves bearings defenseless from friction, leading them to seize and to blow out. Avoid heavy oils, grease, or excessive lubrication. These will attract and trap more dirt. Use spacers —bearings spin faster and last longer when they are aligned properly. When removing or inserting bearings, use a bearing tool, or a truck axle. Anything smaller, such as a screwdriver, will damage bearings. Use speed washers. Put one on the truck axle on each side of the wheel. These protect the bearing as increase speed.

  Mounting Hardware

Keep mounting hardware and axle locknuts tight. Loose mounting hardware is unsafe. It causes stress in the deck, enlarges truck mounting holes, and bends mounting bolts. Bolts loosen over time. We highly recommend using shock pads. Shock pads are thin rubber pads that fit between the truck and the board. They keep hardware tight, and reduce stress and impact on the board. Replace mounting hardware if the nylon in the locknuts has worn out. When tightening mounting hardware, tighten from the locknut side while holding the bit side still. This way is less likely to strip the heads of mounting hardware, and the mount is much cleaner. Do not over-tighten hardware. It should be flush with the top of the deck- if it's too tight and it can pull through the plies and damage the board.

  Trucks

The tightness of your trucks is a personal preference, but we advise against cranking down trucks too tightly. It may feel like you have more board control, but learning to turn is a crucial element of skateboarding. If you prefer tight trucks, install harder bushings instead of over-tightening trucks. Over-tightening deforms and destroys the cup washers and bushings, as well as reducing the clearance for grinds.

  Kingpins

Kingpins can break but are easily replaceable. Remove old kingpins with a hammer by placing the baseplate right side up on top of a partially opened vice. Tap out the old kingpin using a hammer. A centrepunch can help as well. Flip the baseplate over, line up the grooves on the kingpin to the baseplate so it will go in easily, and hammer in a new one all the way in. Make sure to install the proper size, otherwise it will stick out above the truck hanger and will interfere with grinding.

  Griptape

Installation:
Centre griptape over the deck, then stick one end to the nose and the other end to the tail. Firmly press the griptape down using the palm of your hand, from the centre of the deck outward until it's fully stuck. Take a screwdriver and use the metal shaft to run it along the edge of the board to wear out the grit so you have a visible outline of your deck. Take a razor blade or X-acto knife and trim the griptape by holding the blade closely to the edge of the deck as you cut around the outline.

Cleaning dirty griptape:
Blot dirt spots sparingly with warm water, being careful not to get the actual deck wet. Take an old toothbrush to scrub and loosen dirt, then take some paper towel and press down to absorb the water and all that dirt with it. Do not wipe.

Removing old griptape:
Secure your deck in a vice. Use a towel or rag in the vice to prevent it from damaging your deck. Use a heat gun or blow dryer to soften the glue, it will make it easier to peel off. A razor blade can help lift edges and scrape off stray bits. Don't be concerned if there is some glue left on the deck, your new griptape will easily adhere to it.

  Landing

Proper landing is critical when landing tricks. Virtually any deck will break if your land with your foot placed improperly on the tail. All landings should be with both feet over the truck bolts. It's almost impossible to break the deck if tricks are landed with feet in this position.

  Additional Help

Are you still having problems with your skateboard that can't be resolved with our maintenance page? Bring your board down and we will be more than happy to provide service work or further advice.

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