Can You Use WD40 To Clean Skateboard Bearings?

Reflecting on weird things me and my friends did…this was one I’m sure you’ve tried. For some reason having the “fastest wheels” was some sort of challenge. It was a competition who had the longest spinning, quietest wheels. I’ve lost several times, this got me thinking about using special “lube” to solve all problems….WD40 of course! There was a downside to this, eventually deteriorating my bearings over time.

You should never use WD40 to clean skateboard bearings . This is a product designed specifically made for removing rust and grime, not as a lubricant or cleaner for bearings. It works wonders at first, but you’ll find yourself reapplying more and more as it dries out bearings. Causing excessive damage down the road, meaning more money spent. I can understand why you’re doing this, as I did it ALL the time.

Don’t Be Tempted…

You should consider other options for proper maintenance. There are several simple ways to remove dirt and grime that ultimately will restore a “like-new” feel to your skateboard. There’s no better feeling than a smooth riding skateboard. I’ll also point out problems that you may have have had in the past without ruining your trucks and bearings.

When To Clean Bearings

You’ll want to clean your bearings whenever you feel your board becomes harder to ride, having to push more often. Dirt and debris will collect giving you that wonderful nauseating sound of rocks stuck in your bearings. Even taking a quick peek, spinning your wheels with your foot will allow you to determine when to clean your bearings.

Household Items To Clean Bearings

Researching forums for other alternatives you’ll find yourself lost. You’re hearing some solutions work better than others. There’s a very simple way to fix this, especially when there’s just that ONE wheel that’s driving you crazy. You’re probably out of options and WD-40 is your last resort. I’ve done it countless times, I just HATE the mess it creates and the fact it ruins my ride quality. We’ve all been victim of riding through puddles, grass, rivers, snow…ect. This causes the worst damage, and you’re looking for a quick solution that’s readily available to you. I’ll throw some ideas I’ve collected from fellow skaters, some I’ve done myself.

Citrus Based Cleaners:

Work very well,  but leave behind a residue. Water based cleaners need to be dried immediately to prevent rust. Exposing them to the air long enough will eventually lead to rusting. You’ll definitely want to coat them with lube right after drying them. Something like orange cleaner would do the trick.

Solvents:

A Dangerous option that does provide an amazing solution to clean dirty bearings. Isopropyl, acetone, or paint thinner are everyday items you might find hiding away in your household. However, some don’t cut grease as well as others. Something like paint thinner also leave a residue behind. If you’re doing this, wear gloves as this gets rather messy and stinky.

Washing With Soap And Water:

Avoid using soap and water, others have said this works but would advise against it. This is an example of bad advice I’ve found on forums just to give you an idea of what I mean.

Motor Oil:

Don’t even think about trying this, not recommended. My best friend did this once…it was a MESS! You’re better off using my best solution I recommend.

Other Ideas:

Sewing machine oil, nail polish remover, even gas which is something I’d stay away from at all costs. Best Solution would probably be spraying with citrus cleaner , dry them off with a microfiber rag, and add some speed cream to top it off. Honestly, I’ve gotten away with riding them until they’re so bad I’ll end up replacing them after a couple months, or even after a year or two. This will all depend on how often you’re shredding.

Skating Without Shields

Some like the sound bearings make without shields. Is this a bad thing? You’ll probably get away with for quite some time with proper maintenance. If you’re at the park, it’s obviously not as aggressive as skating through more rough terrain like street skating. Taking into consideration bearings are exposed to the elements, I’d say leave them on. Popping them off won’t improve performance, it’s just more of a personal preference for skaters. I’ve had bearing balls pop out, and at that point I’m ready to spend a couple bucks on some new bearings. Although they may be essential, skateboard bearings are cheap and should last you quite a while.

Should You Buy Expensive Bearings?

The most I’ve ever spent on good skateboard bearings was $40. Was it worth the extra money? If you’re primarily at a indoor or clean outdoor park, then I’d suggest doing so. Honestly, Bones Reds have been my go to for YEARS with nothing but good things to say. You can’t go wrong with $15 bearings that are by far superior than their competitors. I’ve been on boards with higher quality bearings, yes they’re amazing. It’s a matter of personal preference, and how well you maintain your equipment. Skateboard bearings can last years if you want them to. Just proper upkeep will give you desired results.

Stripping Your NUTS!

Maybe you’re like me, never feeling like taking time to properly lube your bearings. It wasn’t because I was lazy all the time, it was fear of stripping my axles! I’ve spent countless hours trying to get my bolts back on with little to no success. Luckily, today they’ve got tools with axle re-threading applications built inside. Stripping an axle is absolutely terrifying, especially if you’re just breaking them in. Honestly, there’s no real way to prevent smashing the outside of your axles. You might also have a bolt that’s hard to get off. Afraid of stripping it even more, causing more damage. Don’t be afraid to use the force of god to take it off, just don’t smash it, or bend it in 7 different directions! Chances are you’ve cross threaded them, which can be fixed.

Limited Time Warranties

If you’ve ever come across specific defects, some companies offer LIFETIME warranties on their trucks. Defects in material, craftsmanship, bending, breaking or axle slipping. I’ve personally encountered these problems, it’s something that can happen. Trucks cracking under pressure, snapping in half with minimal wear. Breaking your kingpin is more common and a cheap easy fix.

Remember…It’s Up To You!

How well you take care of your equipment is totally up to you. For some it’s not a big deal, others like to baby their prized possessions like a blow up barbie doll. I like to keep it pretty simple, save some extra cash for when I need to replace my equipment so I’m not stuck being bothered by it later on. Remember, you don’t have to have the BEST money can buy, just a product that satisfies your needs. You’ll get a feel for what products suit you best.