Introduction: Clean and Lube Skateboard Bearings (long Method)

Picture of Clean and Lube Skateboard Bearings (long Method)

This instructable is a step by step guide to refurbishing your skate bearings. With bearings that have plastic or nylon parts, paint thinner is used so as to not damage them. Not all shields are nylon some are teflon and ceramic bearings require only one drop of lube. Warning this is not a green instructable, wear gloves and use the chemicals in a well ventilated area.

Skate Stuff
One set of eight bearings with removable nylon shields
Bearing spacers
Bearing lube (skate brand)
Axle washers

Materials and tools
Paint thinner
A rag
A Latex glove
Roll of paper towels
Bearing pick or push pin
Stir stick
Axle nut wrench
Long tweezers or pliers

Optional professional tools
Air compressor with gun
Bearing press
Hazardous chemicals disposal unit

Step 1: Bearing Removal

Picture of Bearing Removal

Remove axle nut with a wrench, be careful not to scratch or damage the shield. Put the washers and the nut aside for now so nothing gets lost. To pull the bearing out of the wheel use the trucks axle to pry it out, keep rotating the wheel and applying pressure till it pops out. Put your bearings and spacers onto the rag; wipe off as much dirt and debris as possible. Rotate each bearing and take note of any that are glitchy, or need to be replaced.
Put on a latex glove, Take the bearing pick or push pin and insert it at the inner metal ring between the rubber shield and metal. Push in and turn to pry the shield off, if these are skate bearings the nylon shield should pop out with out too much pressure. This instructable has a video of another way to de-shield a bearing. Collect all the shields and stick a wire through them. Bend the wire to fit the container they'll soak in. On this wire you can include the spacers and washers if they need cleaning too.

Step 2: Soak the Parts

Picture of Soak the Parts

Fill the glass with paint thinner, but only enough to completely submerge the parts. Use as little paint thinner as possible (this stuff is volatile), and stir them while they soak. About once or twice during the long soaking period, agitate the contents so that all the debris falls out of the bearing cage. The reason for this miniscule amount of thinner and the massive amount of waiting is to save paint thinner, save the environment, and allow the thinner to do its job. Patience is the key when it comes to cutting the grease on those expensive bearings, soak them for 4-6 hours

Step 3: Fish Out the Shields

Picture of Fish Out the Shields

The shields dont need to soak as long, besides after they are re-wiped more grit gets removed. So tap off the excess thinner and place them on a clean towel to absorb the rest. Now this is where the environmentally conscientious people will scorn me, take the damp bearings to the sink and rinse them with cold water. To own an air compressor with a gun would be very handy, then the residue of the thinner would be removed with air instead of water. Place the shields on a towel to dry, fold the towel over them and apply pressure

Step 4: Fish Out the Bearings

Picture of Fish Out the Bearings

Now that bearings have had a thorough soak, put on that glove again, pick up some tweezers or pliers and fish them out. Gently tap any excess thinner back into the jar, place the bearings on a towel to absorb the rest. Then take them to a sink and rinse them. The impact this has on the environment is bad, unless of course an air compressor is used to spin clean them. If you dont completely remove all the thinner the lubrication will counter act with it. Put them on a clean towel and began rotating each bearing on both sides. Now put the bearings on another clean towel tap out the water, get rid of the all the moisture and recommence bearing rotation.

Step 5: Clean the Wheel (quick Way)

Picture of Clean the Wheel (quick Way)

The wheels are the filthiest things on the skateboard. A thorough cleaning would consist of using soap and water, but that isn't of concern hear. Just make sure the inside of the wheel is clean so that no dirt gets trapped within it. Take a towel and fold it up, insert it through the wheel, hold each end of the towel while applying firm pressure roll the wheel on the ground. Repeat this with all the wheels till your towel looks filthy.

Step 6: Lubricate

Picture of Lubricate

After the bearings are completely dry, place them all with the bearing cage face up on a towel. Dont over lube these parts otherwise it will draw dirt into the bearing. Start lubing the backs of the bearing cage with two drops of speed lube and re-shield them. Next flip the bearings over so the ball bearings are face up, this is the position that they will be set into either sides of the wheel. Remember which side has ball bearings and which side has the cage, the cage can never be on the outside of the wheel where it cracks from stress. Lubricate the ball bearings with two drops of lube and re-shield them. Now take the dry edge of the paper towel fold it over and apply pressure to remove excess lube. Insert them into both sides of the wheel from this position. A bearing press can make this step easier. Finish one side of the wheels and then turn them over, insert the bearing spacers and continue pressing the bearings in.

Step 7: Reassemble

Picture of Reassemble

Clean the truck axle with a towel before assembling the truck. Heres where the setup is different than most. The hardware used here is "Grindking ATS Rims" this nut covers the bearing shield on the outside, and a plastic washer covers the shield on the inner side to protect it from debris. The rest of the set up is easy; the wheel is sandwiched between to metal washers. By slightly over tightening the axle nut this will align the bearings and press them further into the wheel. After that loosen the axle nut so that the wheel has a very small amount of slip on the axle. Give the wheel a good spin, see the difference in how much longer it lasts.


nathanwide (author)2013-06-13

What type of wheels are those?


hellmaster993 (author)2012-03-09

good job and that was alot of junk in that wheel.

hellmaster993 (author)2012-03-09

really nice i cleaned mine and it drove like an angel. good job.

sk8ter20art (author)2011-09-10

it does not matter which way you put the bearings back in, if they are single shielded it would be best to put the un-shielded side inward so you are not cleaning them again so soon. If a bearing is going to fail its going to fail no matter what.

sk8ter20art (author)2011-09-10

DO NOT RINSE WITH WATER! It is ok to clean them with paint thinner or gasoline, but once you have cleaned them just set them out on a couple of paper towels or shop rag.

any remaining paint thinner or gasoline will evaporate after a short time.

sk8ter20art (author)2011-09-10

there are two types of bearings, oil and grease packed. Usually grease packed bearings are on the low end bearings and do not have a lot of free-spin. If you clean all the grease out and dont re-grease them, they will most likely become very loud and noisy.

Higher quality bearings tend to be oil only and should be kept that way. They typically have a lot of free spin, and are very quiet.

sk8ter20art (author)2011-09-10

not all bearings have removable shields, others only have 1 shield. Some shields have a snap ring around the edge that holds the shield in place. basically it is there to keep large debris out of the ball bearings.

buddybran (author)2011-08-02

Do you mean take the damp "Sheilds" to the sink?

It would be better to use a air compressor, If you have one available. Otherwise they need to be rinsed and dryed.

The nerdling (author)2011-04-27

where do you get those wheels.
i made a long board and what i need now are the wheels

quahog (author)The nerdling2011-06-18

in canada? go to
in the states? go to
both are pretty reasonable and have free shipping

The nerdling (author)quahog2011-06-20

i'm in australia, nsw

bkonfuzius (author)The nerdling2011-07-05

you could simply go to the next skate shop
normally those guys have know how and some pre-mounted stuff to try out.
(i.e. 2mm difference in wheel size give a lot of different feeling under your feet)

Hi. The wheels are spitfire bought online fromm ccs. I went with sector9 wheels for my longboard.

i have found the coolest trucks for longboards
cool trucks

.google longboard wheels. I personally love my bustin Tight walls for carving.

i need griptape aswell

thanks it is unblocked at school so right now i am haveing a look

rockadio101 (author)2011-05-05

look at my insructable on how to lube your bearings it works great!!! its called how to lube your skateboard bearings and put risers on a skateboard!!!

sharlston (author)2011-01-03

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

sharlston (author)2010-11-21

you may want to add that not all shields are nylon some are teflon and ceramic bearings only need 1 drop of lube,great ible


rockadio101 (author)2010-11-23

wut wheles are thay and your bolt is soooo rusted

GianniMora (author)2010-03-15



sharlston (author)2010-01-17

what lubricant are you using?

RandomHero (author)2008-06-27

easier and just as effective way is to use rubbing alcohol and to regrease' em

RandomHero (author)RandomHero2008-06-27

if you really wanna try it heres how, pop off the seals, put them in a closeable glad container and put rubbing alcohol in it, shake for about 10 or 20 seconds, let them sit like 5 minutes. After that take them out and dry them and make sure u get them good before u put grease in them, try a can of compressed air to get the alcohol out, after all of them are dry and ready, get a can of grease (from any local hardware store) put barely any in the bearings, make sure itsd enough to lubricate them but not tooo much to slow them down, pop the seal back on and get the seals a little greased also, then put them in ur wheels and your ready... should i make an instructable on this?

Sounds legit to me. I had been using bearing grease out of a tube but I switched to skate lube. In the other instructable on this topic the author uses grease. Apparently this method is more popular, and its rated is higher here. I prefer oil over grease, but grease worked fine too. I've only been using these type bearings for about three sets, with oil the spins are longer and faster. I'd be interested to see another instructable on this to see how else it can be done, especially since your method dosen't involve harsh chemicals.

what oil did you use?

with oil u gotta clean your bearings more often in my opinion, thats why i use grease, and tis easier i geuss, i got this blue grease from my hardware store and i have only used it once, works great

sharlston (author)RandomHero2009-12-05

is the blue grease mobil 1?

RandomHero (author)sharlston2009-12-06

i dont remember, on second thought, just buy some bones speed cream, you'll be good

sharlston (author)RandomHero2009-12-07

is it a white tube with a blue top?

RandomHero (author)sharlston2009-12-07

mines all white i think, from bones, the skate company that makes bearings and wheels and all that

sharlston (author)RandomHero2009-12-08

yes i have a set of bones reds

sharlston (author)2009-12-06

hey i recommend nitrile gloves becuse with latex some oils such as wd40 can acctually rot them same with the bearing shields

LBlinkinbiz (author)2009-11-10

Just wondering if there is an alternative to using paint thinner as a cleaner. I have done cleaning on all my bearings before with orange cleaner and I'm about to run a cleaning soon with some dishwashing soap.

I remove the shields and cage to ensure maximum cleaning and am very careful with stirring and so far this technique has worked fine.

So just wondering if I'll be dealing any damage doing this. I am desparate in finding a safer alternative to cleaning other than well flamey MBrain-damage.

sharlston (author)LBlinkinbiz2009-12-05

if you can put some nitrile golves on and put the bearing into your desired solvent and spin it it should loosen any debrisin there

sharlston (author)2009-10-25

can i make my metal shielded bearings half shielded and put the bare side to the inside to the wheel?

dollardude (author)2009-10-24

Hey, i dont have a skateboard but this could work just as well for scooters because they both have the same bearings.

PS: I use and recomend china bones for people needing bearings

sharlston (author)2009-08-23

plz reply some one im getting a board with carbon abec 5's do they have removable seals?

The removable seal is a usually found on skate brand bearings. If the shields are metal chances are it can only take a few cleanings, before it becomes too dented from prying it open.

well are yours abecs?

The abec5 in the pic is being saved for another set up.

what b rand are they?

its in the argos ctalouge they are carbon

adio (author)2009-06-09

i have some swiss and i do full maintenance on it its so good i never had any rust or anything bad happen to them yet by what i mean by full maintenance is by taking the whole bearing apart then putting it back together should i make a instructable since i don't see any of what i do

sharlston (author)adio2009-08-22

ohh please my swisses arei n need of clean and you sound just the right person

adio (author)sharlston2009-08-22

it takes awhile to clean since it FULL maintenance and my camera needs to be fixed so idk if i can get a instructable on it soon

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