Skateboard maintenance is key to safe skating. If your board is poorly maintained it’s an accident waiting to happen. Check your skateboard regularly for pressure cracks, wheel damage, parts that may have worked loose and general wear and tear.
A skateboard tool will be useful for your maintenance sessions.
If you won’t be using your board for a while check it over before you store the board.
Always store your board somewhere cool and dry. In warm or humid conditions it could warp or absorb moisture and become heavy and “clunky”.
So, what can go wrong on a skateboard and how do you keep it maintained?
Maintaining Skateboarding Decks
Maintaining skateboarding decks might not seem that important. They look like simple pieces of equipment with very little that could go wrong but don’t be fooled. While maintenance is not difficult, a good board can cost a lot of money and it should be properly taken care of.
So, how to you keep your deck in tip top condition? Firstly, keep it clean. After each skating session, check your board over and remove any dirt or moisture from the board.
Keep it dry. Skateboard decks are made of laminated layers of wood. If moisture is allowed to seep into them the wood will swell and the glue between the laminations will deteriorate causing them to come apart.
Try to skate in covered areas if it’s raining and be sure to dry your board well if you do get it wet.
Check the deck regularly for cracks and wear. Skateboarding decks are fairly tough but they’re regularly subjected to major stress during skating.
Landing tricks with your feet in the wrong place can put a lot of pressure on the board. It can cause damage or even break the board. If you do notice damage it may be time to replace your deck.
Try to land your tricks with your feet over the trucks to prevent damage to the deck.
Maintaining Skateboard Wheels
Maintaining skateboard wheels is quite straight forward. First have a good look at the wheels. Turn them and check the whole surface for wear and flat spots.
If the wheels are badly out of shape then you would do better to replace them.
Because the wheels are subjected to different forces as you ride, they wear unevenly. This will cause a loss in performance if you don’t prevent it.
To combat this uneven wear rotate your wheels regularly. This will make them last longer.
Usually the inside edge of the wheel will wear down first. As soon as you notice any wear it’s time to rotate.
If you see that your wheels differ in size you may have left it too late and you should replace them.
To rotate your wheels, simply remove them and replace them in a different order e.g. swap the left and right front wheels and the left and right back wheels.
Look at the pattern of wear on the wheels before you rotate so you can move them to compensate for the wear. The more often you rotate your wheels, the longer they will last.
Skateboard Bushings: Change Them Regularly
Skateboard bushings are easy to change and to maintain a good ride you should do it regularly. They are the little rubber doughnut type things in your tucks. Being subjected to a lot of stress while you’re riding, bushings can soon lose their spring.
Worn skateboard bushings can make your board less responsive and can even make it want to turn in one direction all the time. So, if you don’t want to end up riding in circles (it’s not that bad really), follow these simple instructions to check and change them from time to time.
You will need a tool to remove the kingpin nut. Check yours to see what tool you’ll need. A good skate key should fit most types. An important thing to remember is that you’re going to have to put your trucks back together so don’t lose any of the bits and, if you think you’ll forget, keep them in order so you’ll know which way they go back together.
It’s a good idea to do one truck at once. If you do forget how to put it together you can use the other one as a reference. Also, it will stop you from getting the parts mixed up.
Right, first loosen and remove the kingpin nut. Underneath that you’ll find a washer and then the first skateboard bushing. The hanger, the bit that holds the axle, might need at bit of tugging to get it off so be careful not to damage anything.
Once you’ve got it all apart have a good look at the bushings. If they’re still in good condition just give them a clean and use them again. If not, throw them away and use new ones.
Now, give all your parts a good wipe down with a soft cloth to clean them up a bit and then you can reassemble the truck. Once you have everything back in place you’ll need to adjust your kingpin nut.
First put it on hand tight and then use your tool to tighten it up some more. How much you tighten it will depend on how tight you like your trucks. Some skaters like them quite tight which makes it easier to do tricks but harder to turn.
Others like them looser so it’s easier to carve. Take your skate key with you when you skate so you can adjust them if you find you didn’t set them quite right.
So, what can go wrong on a skateboard and how do you keep it maintained? Here’s a summary –
The deck of your skateboard is the bit you actually stand on. It can take a lot of strain especially when you first begin to learn tricks. What to check for on skateboarding decks.
The trucks not only connect your wheels to your deck, they also determine how your skateboard steers. Keep your trucks properly adjusted to optimise your ride.
Skateboard wheels will eventually wear down or get damaged. It’s a good idea to examine your wheels regularly.
Skateboard bushings are constantly exposed to stresses and strains while the board is being ridden. Check and change bushings regularly.
Skateboard bearings should be well cared for a smooth and fast ride. Look after your skateboard bearings.
Skateboard griptape is often overlooked when checking the board. Always replace worn griptape.