How To Maintain A Longboard In Great Shape
Longboarding can be a fun hobby. People do it for different reasons, but it all requires having a longboard. For most riders, the longboard becomes a piece of them. No matter if you ride just as a way around town, or if it is a way for you to have fun, you form memories with the board and get to know how it handles. Also, you can customize your board so it will ride the way you want it too. Since the board is an extension of you, it is good to take care of it and keep it in top shape. Not only will maintaining your longboard save you money, but it will also allow you to form a deeper connection with it and know how it works. After reading this you will know what you need and how to maintain your longboard.
Why and When to do Maintenance
The main reason to do work on your longboard is to help it last longer and properly. If a board gets to wore out, then it can’t be repaired and you will have to buy a new board. Also, if maintenance is neglected, then riding the board can become a safety hazard.
When exactly do you need to do upkeep on your longboard though? Well, the simple answer is whenever it starts to feel like it isn’t riding right. A longboard is similar to a car as in that you can feel when something is going wrong because you are on it almost every day. Since you are on it frequently, you know how it normally feels and can tell if it starts feeling different. Another sign of work needing to be done on your board is if it starts making odd sounds. The sounds can be rattling or clanking sounds. If this happens, it is a good idea to take your board apart and do some work on it.
Tools you Need
The tools you need to work on your longboard is a pretty small list. Obviously, you need your board to work on, but you will also need a skateboard tool. If you do a lot of riding, then you probably already have this. If not, then you can pick one up fairly cheap at online or at your local skate shop. These are the only tool type things you need.
The cleaning supplies you will need are cleaning spirits, mineral detergent (soap), and lubricating oil. You might also want a few containers to put the parts into, to make cleaning them easier. Also, you will need a cloth or two, and some brushes. If you want to clean your bearings really well, then you can get a bearing cleaning kit.
A few last things that will help, but aren’t required are a blow dryer to dry parts faster, a sewing needle or pointed object to take the caps off the bearings, and some deck glue or new grip tape if yours is coming off the board.
How to Clean your Board
Now we will move on to the actual cleaning process. The hardest part of cleaning a longboard for beginners is the disassemble, but after you have done it a few times it isn’t hard. You can start by removing the kingpin from the board. To do this you use the large grove on the skate tool. Once you have that off you can remove the wheels. All you do is unscrew the bearings and then turn the wheels. Removing the wheels is pretty simple. Lastly, take the baseplates off of the board.
Next, you want to separate the rubber pieces from the metal pieces. To remove the bearing capes you can use the sewing needle or skate tool to get them off. Once you have the pieces separated you can put the rubber pieces into one of the containers and the metal into the other. Since the trucks and metal pieces are bigger you may need a bigger container or to do them in batches. Add some warm but not hot water to the container with the parts. Then in the metal container put the cleaning spirits. Stir it up and let it sit for thirty seconds to a minute. For the thicker gunk, you may need to use the brush to get it off. Once the parts have soaked for a little bit you can take them out and use the towel to wipe off any more gunk. After that, if you want to give them another rinse in the cleaner you can before letting them dry.
For the rubber parts, you want to put the soap or mineral detergent into the water. You mix it the same way and let it soak the same way as the metal parts. Once it has soaked and you got the gunk off the parts with the towel or brush it is time to let them dry. Doing these parts first means they can have time to air dry if you don’t have a blow dryer. For the bearings, if you got a cleaning kit, now would be the time to follow its directions and use it.
While cleaning the small parts of the board is important, you also don’t want to forget to clean the board itself. You want to wipe the bottom of the board with a damp towel to get some of the gunk off of it. Be sure to wipe the area where the trucks connect extra well. To clean the top of the board where the gripe tape is you will need a brush. Use the brush and some soapy water and rub in circular motions over the whole board. After going over it with soapy water, rinse it off and dry it off. If the grip tape is coming off, glue it back down before this step. If the grip tape is old, then you might just want to replace it instead of cleaning it. To do this you remove the old and follow the instructions to apply the new.
Before reassembly, it is time to lubricate the bearings. Use the bearing lubricant on them, and make sure they get completely covered. Once that is done you put the board back together the same way as you took it apart, only in the opposite order. Put the trucks on first and then add the wheels and the kingpin. When putting the wheels back on be sure to rotate them. This way they will get even wear when you ride.
Now that you are at the end you should be able to clean your longboard. As you can see it really isn’t that hard. It only takes a handful of supplies and most of which you probably already have. Also, it only takes a few hours of your time, and the more you do it the faster you will get at it. This is because you will know your board better and the steps involved. Plus, by cleaning your longboard you are building a connection with it. You can customize the bearings or tightness of things, so the board will ride how you like it. On top of all this by practicing good longboard maintenance your board will last a long time. Just be able to store it properly when not in use to keep it in even better shape.