Rollerblades slow down as the wheel bearings wear. The bearings can often be restored with cleaning and lubrication. Clean and lubricate the bearings when a Rollerblade or other inline skate starts to click and bump. Proper bearing maintenance can get the skates rolling smoothly again.
Things You'll Need
- Hex key wrench set
- Rollerblade bearing removal tool or hammer and 3/8-inch dowel
- Slotted screwdriver
- Push pin or No. 8 finish nail
- Glass jars
- Bearing cleaner or mineral spirits and rubbing alcohol
- Paper towel
- Oil or gel lubricant
Loosen the axle pins with a hex key wrench and pull out the axle sleeves. Take the wheels off the Rollerblade runners.
Remove the wheel bearings and any spacers that may be present. A smooth inner axle sleeve barrel indicates a spacer. A gap in the middle of the axle hole between the bearings means there is no spacer. Use the Rollerblade bearing removal tool to push out the spacer, or tap it out with the hammer and 3/8-inch wooden dowel. One bearing will come out with the sleeve. Pop the other one out by prying it loose with the slotted screwdriver. Both wheel bearings can be removed with the screwdriver if there is no spacer sleeve.
Take the outer shield off of one side of the bearing. Use the point of the push pin or No. 8 finish nail to pry the clip ring out from under the outer lip of the bearing casing. The shield will come off once the clip ring is removed.
Soak the wheel bearing and casing parts in the glass jar with the bearing cleaner or mineral spirits and rubbing alcohol. Swirl the parts around in the jar to loosen dirt and break down the used lubricant. Remove the bearing parts and strain the cleanser liquid by pouring it from one jar to another through a paper towel. Drop the bearing parts into the solution until they no longer get it dirty. If using mineral spirits, change the solution to rubbing alcohol for the final rinse.
Leave the bearings out on a folded paper towel to dry overnight with the shield off. Tap the casings against a dry part of paper towel to be sure they are dry before applying lubricant.
Apply the lubricant. Squirt a few drops of the oil over the bearings in the case, or spread the gel lubricant over the bearings with the slotted screwdriver and push it down into the casing.
Reassemble the bearings and wheels. Put the shielding back in place and slip the clip ring under the lip. Push the clip ring all the way in with the tip of the slotted screwdriver. Push the bearings back into the wheel slots one at a time with your thumbs. Insert the spacers between each, if applicable. Push the wheels back onto the skate runners and insert the axle sleeves through the holes. Tighten the axle pins on the opposite sides with a hex key wrench.
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