You just got a new skateboard and it’s still in mint condition. No chips, nice graphics, and shiny new wheels and trucks. At some point your skateboard will wear down, it’s unavoidable, but there are a few tricks to get the most out of your skateboard. In order to keep your skateboard in good condition make sure to:
- Store it in a dry place
- Avoid skateboarding when it’s wet or rains
- Maintain your bearings
- Sand down chips and splinters
- Clip grip tape that peels off
- Replace parts when needed
- Don’t throw it around
- Avoid extremely high temperatures or extreme cold
Proper maintenance will prolong the lifespan of your skateboard and its hardware. To get the most out of your new skateboard make sure to check all the parts after a few sessions. I recently forgot to inspect the nuts on my truck axle and a wheel came flying off. The wheel was easy to spot but I was lucky enough my kid was able to find the bearing. The nut, spacer, and speedring were gone so I had to get home to get some spare parts.
Inspect your skateboard occasionally. Check for peeled grip tape, make sure all of your wheels spin properly and inspect if all the nuts and bolts are tightened. Avoid rain and wet conditions, store your board in a dry place and don’t throw it around.
Be careful when tightening your trucks
It doesn’t matter if you like loose trucks or tight trucks, make sure to check them from time to time. Too tight can damage your bushings which will impact performance. Damaging the bushings will make your board feel dead and unresponsive. How do you know if you tighten your truck too much? Avoid exposing 2 threads of your kingpin, this means your trucks are too tight. get some harder bushings instead.
Clean your bearings every 3 months
Dirt and dust will find a way into your bearings so it’s important to clean them out once every while. It depends on how often you skate but cleaning them every 3 or for months is advised when you skate often. If you have open bearings it’s pretty easy, just let them soak in alcohol or nail remover.
Shake them around and dirt will come out. Let them soak for an hour or so and remove them. Dry them with a paper towel and tap and shake them to remove the remaining dirt. Make sure they’re completely dry and add some Bones speed cream or silicone lubricant. If you don’t have this olive oil will work but it will attract more dust.
If you have closed bearings make sure to remove the shield before you apply nail polisher. You can use a razor blade or a tiny flathead screwdriver to pop off the shield.
Replace bushings when they dry out
Bushings wear down in time. Leaning on your deck and steering will make them deform eventually losing their effectiveness. Dry bushings can be spotted by cracks or crumbled or squished bushings.
Avoid extremely high temperatures or extreme cold, it will wear them down sooner. Don’t store your board in hot and moist environments, this will shorten their lifespan considerably. If you hear squeaky sounds when you lean on your board this could mean they’re dried out. You can easily fix by putting soap shavings or just some candle wax inside the pivot cup. If that doesn’t help you might want to replace them.
If you experience clicking sounds you should check if the washers stay in place. When washers move around they cause a clicking noise.
Replace your grip tape
Depending on which weather conditions you skateboard, grip tape might wear down sooner while your deck is still perfectly fine. So don’t go out and buy a new deck, just replace the grip tape. It’s not hard to do and if you follow my instructions it can’t go wrong. If you’re experiencing peeled off tape use a Stanley knife or razor blade to cut it off. If you don’t it will only get worse meaning you have to replace the tape sooner.
Get a hairdryer and put it on the hottest setting. Bring it close to your tail or nose and make sure the grip tape warms up. Try to peel it off a little and continue heating up the grip tape. The glue will become warm losing its cohesion and you can slowly work your way off and pull off the grip tape. It’s really easy actually, your deck might feel a bit sticky from the residual glue but that’s fine. Once you’ve removed all of the grip tape you can apply new grip tape.
Avoid extreme weather
Rain, heat and cold all have an impact on your skateboard. Your deck absorbs water resulting in a soggy skateboard deck. Your deck will be waterlogged and will lose its pop. Over time it can also cause delamination. Your deck is made of a number of maple wood plies (usually 7) and when it comes into contact with water the epoxy glue will dissolve.
This causes the layers to separate and you’ll have to get a new deck. Try to avoid puddles, don’t skate in the rain (which is also dangerous because you have zero grip).
Not only your deck but also the bearings don’t like water. Water will cause your bearings to rust because it dissolves the lubricant that keeps your bearings spinning. Rust will form and your bearings will start to make noise. Add a little dirt to that and you can throw away your bearings. Just clean them occasionally and apply proper lubricant, this will make your bearings last for years.
Lastly, water will cause your bolts and screws to rust. Bolts and screw are cheap but just don’t leave your deck in the rain. Your trucks won’t be affected much but leaving it out in the rain often won’t do them any good eventually.
Hot weather will wear down your wheels and bushings faster, hot climates might also have more sand and dust which will find a way into your bearings. When bushings become hot they deform more quickly so keep that in mind. Extreme cold weather, on the other hand, might freeze up your bushings. This isn’t a huge deal but it will impact your skateboards’ performance.
Store it in a dry place
Store your skateboard in a dry place, not too warm not too cold and don’t leave it around on the floor. Consider a skateboard rack, you can easily make one yourself and check out Etsy for some pretty cool creative ideas. Don’t leave it in the trunk of your car, it can get warm in there or moisty.
Repair razor tails and chips
You can repair some damage like razor tail and chipped decks to postpone buying a new deck. You can glue chipped or split layers using special glue and get some clamps end let the glue dry. This isn’t a long-term solution, if you hit the exact same spot again there’s a good chance the chipped piece of wood will come off again.
As for razor tails, you can sand down the tail using some tools but taking off some of your tail will make the deck lose a little bit of pop. Like I said it’s a short-term solution, you might be able to skate for another week or two but you need to start saving for a new deck.
Check the hardware
Make sure the bolts and nuts which keeps your truck attached to your deck are tight. You’ll run the risk of breaking them or even damage your shoes when they stick out a little. Also, check the nuts on your kingpin and wheels. You don’t want wheels to come flying off or your truck to fall apart.
Clean your wheels now and then
This may sound weird but cleaning your wheels every now and then will prevent dust and dirt getting into your bearings. I’m not talking about the outside of course but the inside or core. Take out your bearings first and get some tissues or paper town and remove the dirt. Might as well clean your bearings while you’re at it.
How to prevent your skateboard from breaking
You can prevent snapping your skateboard by landing tricks near or on top of the bolts which attach your trucks. Now, this is easier said than done but there are other ways to reinforce your deck a bit. Rails are the first thing that comes to mind, it will give a little extra support but it’s not a real solution. Sure it protects your graphic but even with rails, you can break your skateboard deck.
Only thing I can recommend is to start practicing tricks when you’re ready. Often decks break because you’re not at the right level yet, but you also can’t land a trick first try. If you break deck often consider getting a stronger deck. Here are a couple of skateboards that are almost unbreakable, they are more expensive though. You can also consider buying blank skateboard decks in bulk. Blank deck are really cheap and often just as good as branded decks.
Some last tips to keep your skateboard in shape
- Avoid glass. If you ride through broken glass it can get stuck into your polyurethane wheels and cause your wheels to chip. This will wear down your wheels faster and chipped wheels make for an uncomfortable ride.
- Don’t step on your skateboard when your shoes are wet. It will affect the durability of your grip tape, there are times when it’s almost unavoidable though.
- If your skateboard gets wet, make sure you dry it as soon as possible. Remove the hardware and components and let it dry out in the sun or let it air dry in your garage. Once dried up, carefully drop it on the floor (bottom first). If the impact sound dampened or soft your board is waterlogged. If it sounds more clear your fine.
- Use spacers between your bearings, the prevent you from damaging your bearings when you tighten the nut on the axle, they also keep dirt away.
- Use a skate tool, I can’t recommend them enough. All the tools you need available in one tool! Make sure to buy a good one, cheap ones will break.