Zooming along on your skateboard with friends can be a great way to spend an afternoon. But how many times have you found yourself lagging behind? After a while the skateboard just doesn't seem to be able to keep up with you. Dirty bearings are your culprits here. Over time they tend to get caked with grease and dirt. Not cleaning them for a long time will result in the skateboard feeling ragged when on the move. Extremely dirty bearings even give out a rickety sound. Cleaning bearings manually can be quite a messy and long affair. Often this is not a task you would like wasting an afternoon over. Ultrasonic cleaners can help you do an efficient cleaning job with bearings in half the time it would normally take.
The first step in the process would be to dismantle your bearings. Most skateboards come with a kit that will help you take the wheels and the bearings apart. The instruction manual with your skateboard will tell you how to reassemble it and it is not all that difficult. You will also need to take off the retainer seal that holds the ball bearings together. With all of this dismantled, you are now ready to use the ultrasonic cleaner
. The one you buy need not be a very expensive one. Those in the price range of $20 to $45 will do just fine. There are special solvents that will give your bearings an efficient cleaning. Pick these up at your sports store. Citrus cleaners available at bicycle shops too will do just fine.
Take all the bearings and place them in the ultrasonic unit's basket. Placing the open side down will ensure that all the dirt that comes out of them will fall downwards and not cloud up the water too soon. Put in the required amount of solvent. Usually this means that you need to add enough of the solution to completely immerse the bearings or till the recommended minimum level mark for your unit. Place the basket back in the unit and run a cycle. Ideally run around 5 cycles continuously. Once done, the liquid will turn murky. Take out the basket and spread the bearings out on some paper towels to drain. Make sure you've gotten rid of all the dirt. To check for residue, twirl the bearing around and listen to the sound. You should get a clean whiz sound. Rinse the bearings in running water. This is to wash out any of the solvent that may have stuck to the bearings.
There is a common fear that water can lead to steel bearings rusting. Fact is that rust will set in if you soak bearings in water for long periods of time. Cleaning and drying them immediately will not cause any harm. Once you have rinsed out the bearings, place them on a baking tray and pop them into an oven at 120 degree for around 20 minutes. In case you haven't removed the plastic retainer, then lower the temperature of the oven and keep them in for a lesser time. Once the bearings are completely dry slather on a preferred lubricant immediately. Leaving such squeaky-clean bearings without lubrication could get them damaged.
Reassemble your skateboard per the instructions of your manufacturer and you are ready to go. An ultrasonic cleaner is a more efficient method of cleaning bearings in a short span of time. The advantage is that it is hassle-free and you can be certain that the dirt is removed even from hard to reach places that get missed during manual cleaning.
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