How to Change Longboard Bearings

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Want to ensure a smooth ride? Replace your grungy old bearings with shiny new bearings during periodic longboard maintenance. Longboard bearings are small metal balls located within each wheel housing. They may seem insignificant, but they enable your board to move freely over most surfaces. As the bearings begin to take on dirt or become worn out, the wheels won't turn as easily and become a safety hazard. Grimy or worn skateboard wheel bearings may cause the board to jerk, slow or stop abruptly, resulting in accident and injury.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch socket wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Small container
  • Clean cloths
  • 8 sets of new bearings

Removing Old Bearings

  1. Turn your longboard so that the deck is pointing toward the floor and the wheels are facing up. Position the skateboard so that the first wheel is directly in front of you.

  2. Remove the nut from the outside of the nearest wheel by placing the open end of a 1/2-inch socket over the metal nut, and rotating the wrench to the left in a counterclockwise motion. You should feel the nut begin to loosen, and eventually come off as you continue to turn the wrench.

  3. Place the nut in a small container to keep it safe until you're finished with the wheel.

  4. Remove the small metal washer located between the nut and outer set of bearings, and place it in the small container with the metal nut. The washer should slide off fairly easily. Some longboard wheels do not have this washer; if this is the case, continue to the next step.

  5. Pull the wheel away from the skateboard axle to remove it from the board.

  6. Remove the second washer, located between the wheel and the axle, and place it in the small container. Again, some longboards do not have this washer. If no washer is present, continue to the next step.

  7. Pry one of the two sets of bearings out of the side of the wheel by using the screwdriver as a lever. It doesn’t matter which side of the wheel you begin with, you’ll take the second set of bearings out later.

  8. Remove the metal spacer, if present, by flipping the wheel over and allowing the spacer to drop into your hand. Be sure to put the spacer into the container with the other hardware so that it doesn’t get lost.

  9. Flip the wheel over and pry out the second set of bearings with the screwdriver blade.

  10. Clean the inside of the wheel where the new bearings will rest by wiping it with a damp cloth. Dry the inner surface thoroughly before moving on.

  11. Repeat this process for each of the remaining three skateboard wheels.

Inserting New Bearings

  1. Place the wheel in a flat position on a hard surface, and center the new bearings on top of the hole in the middle of the wheel, with the color shield facing outward.

  2. Apply gentle but steady pressure to the outer metal ring around the bearings to press the bearings down into the middle of the wheel. Listen for an audible "click" to indicate that the bearings are placed properly.

  3. Turn the wheel over, and insert the spacer that you removed earlier by sliding it into the center hole on the wheel, where it will rest on top of the first set of bearings already in place.

  4. Press the second set of bearings into the wheel to rest on top of the spacer. Listen again for the click that indicates proper placement. Repeat this process with each of the remaining three wheels.

Replacing Wheels

  1. Guide one washer onto the axle.

  2. Place the wheel on the axle, and slide the second washer onto the axle after the wheel is in place.

  3. Thread the nut onto the axle, and tighten by placing the socket wrench over the nut and turning the handle in a clockwise motion until the nut is tightly attached.

  4. Reattach the remaining wheels using the same procedure.

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