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Fix slow skateboard wheels


Q. The wheels on my skateboard aren’t spinning well anymore. Is there anything I can do to fix them or do I have to buy new wheels?
Slow Joe, Tampa, Fla.

A. We feel your pain, Slow. We have the same problem, so we asked our friend Andy Macdonald, eight-time world champion skateboarder, for the lowdown on your slow down:

“New wheels are not going to help in the least if your wheels aren’t spinning. Chances are you just have to clean and lubricate your bearings. Remove your wheel and pop out the bearings with the edge of your axle. Bones Bearings pretty much set the standard in the skateboarding world as far as bearings go. They recommend picking up a Bones Bearings Cleaner Unit at your local skate shop ($15), but a clean plastic yogurt cup and a few cotton swabs will work, too.

“You’ll need to remove the bearing shields if your bearings have them. Just poke them out with a paper clip. Then soak your bearings in acetone, nail-polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Spin them dry and make sure all the dust and dirt are out. Now you’ve removed all the dirt as well as all the lubricant from your bearings. It’s important to use a silicone-based lubricant. WD40 or others like it will dry out your bearings and attract dust and dirt. You can pick up a bottle of Bones Speed Cream at the skate shop, or try some Prolong from the auto parts store. It doesn’t take much, and the excess will just spin out when you replace your shields, pop your bearings back in your wheels and start shredding. Skate safe and enjoy your new-found speed.”

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22 Comments on Fix slow skateboard wheels

  1. How do you make the tires loose?

  2. Is it okay to use silicon-free lubricant for my skateboard bearings after cleaning them?

  3. Abec rating just doesn’t matter in skateboarding. It’s not a measure of anything useful to skaters. Don’t waste money chasing a higher abec rating.

  4. Would graphite work as a lubricant for the bearings?

  5. The shields of the bearings I have are metal and just WON’T COME OFF. Is there an easy way to get them off?

  6. I have relatively new bearings (they’re new but I’ve broken them in) but they’re not any better than my old bearings. They’re not dirty so I feel like it’s my wheels slowing me down (they’re at least 6 years old). Should I get new ones?

  7. Skull crusher // August 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm // Reply

    Thanks 4 the help😎😎😆😆😜

  8. Anyone ever use slick 50 multipurpose grease?

  9. My skateboard curves when it moves can I stop this?

  10. How were the front skateboard Bearings?

    • it’s entirely possible that you’re putting a bit of weight on one side or another as you ride. evening out your stance may help.

    • Its mainly you dont like how loose you trucks are or you arent centering your balance

    • YourEveryDayPanda // January 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm // Reply

      loosen all your bearings and clean them, when it curves this means the board has one or two bearings that are dirty, or the nut is on too tight

    • your trucks are probably too loose, tighten them a bit and you should be fine

    • You can replace the bushings

    • Tighten the trucks to fix that problem

    • What you can do is loosen or tighten the trucks until it rolls straight. If that doesn’t work then do the same with each wheel until you find that perfect “sweet spot” where it rolls in a relatively straight line. Chances are it doesn’t have to do with the actual wheels or the bearings. Also try adjusting the positioning of the rubber spacers in between the metal bits of the trucks. This worked for me when my 1990 Powell Peralta was drifting to the side.

    • Yes, you may want to check if the wheels are screwed in parallel to the center of the board, or check out your foot position. If the board curves even when you’re not on it, you may want to take i in to a store to have it checked out.

    • I only respond 4 years late // May 12, 2020 at 8:57 am // Reply

      Loosen the trucks if they are tight. Sorry for the late response.

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