Posts tagged ‘cleaning bearings’

April 10, 2012

How to Clean your Bearings

Cleaning your bearings isnt hard at all. It’s a little time consuming though so turn on a few episodes of Walking Dead or blast some Mastodon and get to cleaning the buggers.  I make it a ritual to clean them before each bout. If your bearings are not spinning freely, making any noise (thats the sound of friction–slows you down) or are covered in brown yucky stuff, its time.

Anatomy of a bearing. Get to know the parts.

Citrus Cleaner
Lube (Speed Cream, BSB, Bones or Qube)
Safety pin or small pick
Canned air or hair dryer

Bearing press/puller

Reflex Tool



1) Remove wheels from skates and remove bearings. This is easiest with a bearing puller but you can carefully use your axle of your skate (the part that your wheel rotates around) and GENTLY pull the bearings out. Go in at an angle and go around the inside and slightly loosen it until it pops out. Do one at a time. You can also use a flat head screwdriver—GENTLY.  There will be 16 bearings.

2) Wipe down the exterior of the bearings with a clean towel. I usually find a lot of grease, dirt, hair and glitter on the exterior shields.

3) Take your safety pin or pick- I bought a super cheap set of dental tools at Harbor Freight– to pull off the shields of the bearings. Be careful not to cut or bend the shields. Shields normally indicate the brand and/or the ABEC rating. Set these aside.  Shields should not be cleaned with solvents. Tips: Some bearings have a “C” ring that holds on a metal shield- remove the “C” ring and the shield will come off. Some bearings do not have removable shields-its best to replace these once they are dirty/worn

4) Now you are looking at the entrails of the bearing. There will be silver balls and cage that holds them in place.  For a thorough cleaning, you can remove the ball retainer or “cage”. This is a more advanced cleaning but gets all of the grime fully out. Be careful to keep the balls in the bearing.  Personally, I don’t remove the cages unless I am cleaning a high end bearing.

5) Place the bearings in a bearing cleaner like the Bones Bottle or the BSB Wash bottle or you can put them in a bowl with fitted lid.  Add cleaning solution to cover bearings and agitate. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.  The cleaning bottles are recommended because they space the bearings apart for a more thorough cleaning. (pic of cleaning bottles- purchased and Tupperware)

6) Remove bearings and dry immediately.  Using compressed air is a quick, easy way to complete this step. You can use a hair dryer but not on hot (could melt the cages).  Make sure they are really, really dry or you the bearings will rust and be ruined.

7) If you removed the cages, reinstall. Use a paper clip or your dental tools to spread the balls out evenly and then reinstall the cage so that each ball has a ball seat. Once they are all in place, snap the cage back in and spin to make sure it moves freely.

8) Bring on the lube. I like Bones Speed Cream (thicker, longer lasting) but you can use any of the lubes listed on to keep them rolling.  You need up to 2 drops. Dont go overboard. It doesn’t improve the bearings. That’s why the bottles are so little- they will last you forever.  Do not skip this step.  They may seem faster without lube at first but as we all know, lube makes it last longer. (lube pics)

9) Reinstall your clean shields (words/color facing outwards) with your fingers. No need to use any tools. Spin the bearing with your thumb and forefinger to evenly distribute the lubrication. (show this)

10) Put your bearings back in the wheels.  Be careful to never put pressure on the shields with tools you use. This could dent them and affect their performance.  Shields always face out on the wheels.  Tips:  Use a bearing press to reinstall the bearings. You can also use the Bearing Press on the Reflex Skate Tool.

11) Put the wheels back on and spin them to further distribute the lube. If they are still noisy –they most likely need to be replaced.

Happy Skating!

Big NO -NO’s

No WD-40 – This is just begging dirt and grime to stick to your bearings. Dont use it

No gasoline If I have to explain why…..well….figure it out.

If you use a cleaner that has any water base to it, you better clean those puppies fast and get them dry IMMEDIATELY!

Dont add lube to dirty bearings. It makes them feel better at first, but worsens their overall condition.

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