Picture of Clean and Grease your Skateboard Bearings
It's winter out there. The streets are covered with water, salt, and funky road grit. But you really want to skate. What can you do? Answer: go skate anyway, then clean your bearings so they'll live to skate another day.

This is a straightforward demo of how to disassemble, clean, grease, and re-assemble a skateboard bearing. Just in case you wanted to see it done. It's actually terribly easy if you've done it once.

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Step 1: What you Need

Picture of What you Need
Dirty skateboard bearings. (Can be obtained from within dirty skateboard wheels.)
Acetone or other solvent. (97% Isopropyl Alcohol is good too.)
A bowl or cup to put it in.
A small pin or straightened staple to remove the bearing shields.

Step 2: Pop the Seals

Picture of Pop the Seals
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There are two kinds of seals that are common on skateboard bearings: rubber seals (pictured) and metal shields.

The seals can be popped out from the other side with a small pin or straightened-out staple. Stick your pin between the ball cage and the outside bearing race and press the seal out. Aim for the center of the seal, because it is made of metal and you won't puncture it.

If you've got metal shields, they're held in place by a circlip around the outside edge. Get your pin under one edge of the circlip and it'll come off easily. Then the metal shield just pops out. See this website for pictures of how to get the clips off.

Step 3: Soak and Clean

Picture of Soak and Clean
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Fill up your bowl with 1/2" of acetone and put the bearings (balls down) in the solution and let them sit for a minute.

Alternately tap them on the bottom of the bowl and spin the bearings in your hand until they feel grit-free. Once you get a bearing cleaned, spin it dry and place it on a clean paper towel (balls down) to dry.

Repeat for the other 7 bearings.

While the bearings are finishing drying off, clean up the seals in the acetone. Be gentle -- you don't want to bend the inner metal ring.

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Thanks! I might try this out, my bearings are getting all weird. My friend used to put WD-40 on his. It works, but you will have to do it over and over again. This is way easier, awesome Instructable. +1 rating.
never put wd 40 on bearings its a degreser and a rust remover and it disolves all that gunk which then get stuck and seizes
He's right
DG6 speedyspy21 month ago

Well...never lube/grease a dirty bearing
period. Always clean first so there's no grit, grime, dirt or
burnt/thick grease. Then lube away(including WD) that way the
part(whether it's a bearing, hinge, window track, chain, etc.) gets
evenly coated with the lube or grease.

And of course the more
viscosity or better properties it has(i.e, titanium, silicone or other
new technologies they have nowadays) the longer it will last and/or more
slippery it will be which in turn makes it move faster/easier while
keeping friction/heat low as possible.

I clean and silicone lube(WD40)
the bearings every few months on my wheelchair wheels and they spin
smooth and long. Same bearings that came with the chair 5 years now.

what you mean by all weird?
Alex_0041 month ago
Don't every use acetone it is very bad for your bearing try to stay away from anything with achohol try to use a cirtris cleaner like pin-sol or something.Even though acetone my get it oily and clean looking it will start to rust down a little bit at a time and it is bad for you to inhale.
Castiau8 months ago

Could I use surface cleaner instead of acetone?

The Real Elliot (author)  Castiau8 months ago

You can really use anything that dissolves grease. Dishwashing detergent? Brake cleaner? Go nuts.

Unlike acetone it is oily so it is good for bearings
Use kerosene works better and not so harmful for your hands, you can get a liter in Home Depot for 10$
zreed13 years ago
Yea, I agree...... i tried wearing some gloves that i had just lying around, and it tore right through them. it kinda made my finger numb. so i MOST DEFINITELY SUGGEST WEARING GOOD GLOVES!!!!!!
rhall-14 years ago
It's probably a good idea to be wearing natural rubber or neoprene gloves (or something else that acetone won't eat through -- vinyl, latex and nitrile are no match). It's not particularly awesome to be using bare hands in that stuff, just sayin'.
sharlston4 years ago
Skateboardigs awesome,nice ible,have you seen element search and win? sign up now and ya can get decks clothing and bearings sign up now
paperclip324 years ago
You can add that silicone lubricant works well too.Spray a light layer,and you'll have lubed bearings.
i like silicone but i struggle removing the stuff
What type are you using?You need some spray silicone lubricant.
its rocol spray aersol type
That one?You're using food grade,no wonder.That's for baking.What you need is some Silicone spray used for gears and hinges.
I use this:
Yes i have that,its reccomended for bearings:
"Precision Silicone Spray

Non toxic colourless silicone spray providing a light lubricating film with wide temperature stability.

Effective clean lubricant
Ideal for slides, bearings and conveyors
Resists oxidation and corrosion
Temperature range - 50°C to + 200°C"

Hmm,I haven't used it before,but usually you're not supposed to peel it off.Try leaving it on and then going to skate.
peel it off?
You said "removing the stuff" so I deduced that it formed a layer over the balls.
Mabye it doesn't.This conversation is going nowhere.
I meant removing the silicone lube from the bearings becuase i was switching lubricants
sharlston5 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
you have the best on market
wtf why did my comment get removed seroiusly are abec 1s best on the market?
 Not so much. Abec 1's are the lowest bearing in the ABEC rating. The best on the market would probably be the bones swiss, or labyrinth.
koebwil Andy-K5 years ago
Actually the Abec scale has very little relevance to skateboarding since it does not take side loads, materials, or the surface finish on the races into account.  It only defines a tolerance for sizes and sphericity, or at least that's how I understand it.  It might tell you how accurate the shop that made the bearings, but not how well they will really work.
i have abec 7s there the top notch stuff pretty cheap two give em a shot
so why did plaid demon say they are
jjjjake5 years ago
is it safe to touch the acetone with bare hands?
Yes, it's ok, just feels really cold as the solvent evaporates via an endothermic reaction. If you keep doing it on a prolonged basis, your skin can get dry though. Also be careful not to spill it on plastic which might melt or blister (like a computer keyboard).
sharlston5 years ago
also some other good oils are: lithium grease synthetic oil (mobil 1) really thick veg oil(last resort) the gunk from a bike chain(works perfect if you can get it without dust i made a plastic bearing by replacing the normall bearings with airsoft bb's want to see a pic?
yeah post a picture
will do
i cant see the piture/ post a lnk or something
could of been  a bug ,here:

1st pic bearing with no grease
2nd pic packaging
3rdpic fully packed with grease
sharlston5 years ago
what bearings are they?
sharlston5 years ago
in the pic on step 3 is the amber coloured stuff grease or ball retainers?
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