Just got a new skateboard?
Not sure how to adjust something or maintain the board?
No problem, this short guide should take care of most of your issues!
Don't worry, skateboards require very little maintenance. That being said, the skateboard is a collection of parts and components and sometimes an adjustment might make some sense. Be sure to keep the kids involved.
- 9/16, 1/2 & 3/8 Crescent or Socket Wrenches
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- or a Skate Tool that combines all of the above!
1) Adjusting the Trucks
The tightness of the Trucks (the metal "axle" assembly) controls how easy or hard it is for the skateboard to turn. An absolute beginner may benefit from tighter trucks as it is one less variable (turning!) to deal with. However, soon enough they will be ready to start controlling the board and loosening the trucks may make things easier, especially for smaller skaters.
Adjusting a truck only involves a single nut (9/16") on each truck. Flipping the board upside down, this is the large nut which is at the end of the "kingpin" bolt of each truck. We recommend loosening the nut on each truck a half or quarter turn counterclockwise at a time, then given the board a try. Don't over loosen to the point that you risk having the nut fall off the kingpin. A full turn should give a noticeable change. Some skaters eventually develop a preference for a tighter truck on the front or the back, we'd recommend keeping the two trucks consistent with each other until the skater develops.
2) Grip Tape Bubbles
Whenever we grip a board, we look for pockets of air between the grip and the board. We "pop" the bubble with the corner of a razor blade (or a pin) and then push the air out through that hole. If you have a newly gripped board with a bubble you can just do the same. The more a board is skated, the more connected the grip and board will become.
3) Adjusting the Axle Nuts.
Wheels are attached to the axels with a single nut (1/2") per wheel. The nuts should be tightened as far as they can be without impeding the spin of the wheel. Generally you should feel only a very minor amount of play if you try to move the wheel side to side. Occasionally a nut might work itself tighter or looser than originally set and should just be corrected.
4) Adjusting the Truck Mounting bolts
Each truck is intended to be securely attached to the skateboard deck by a set of 4 bolts and 4 nuts (3/8"). We use philips head bolts on our SkateXS completes, some folks use an allen head. In general just keep an eye on this. The nuts have a nylon locking feature, but theoretically they could loosen over time. If they do, just tighten them back up. No need to over tighten, you'd want to avoid over embedding the bolt deeply into the board.
5) Cleaning Bearings
All SkateXS boards come with either Mini-Logo or Bones bearings, either of which can be cleaned and lubricated to return them to top condition. Cleaning is a bit of a process, so if the wheels are spinning ok, its probably not worth it. However, if you've got a wheel that really isn't spinning freely, its time for a cleaning. You can choose to do all your bearings at once, or if you've just got one wheel acting up, you can focus on the two bearings in that wheel. First remove the axle nut and the wheel. Set aside the nut and the two small washers that are on either side of the wheel. Without damaging the bearings, you''ll want to pry them out of the wheels. Skaters typically use the exposed axle to do this, though there are tools that make this much easier. At this point we'll refer you directly to the experts at bones for their detailed instructions on the specifics of cleaning your bearings: http://bonesbearings.com/support/maintenance/
If you have a real bearing problem and you just aren't up for the cleaning process, you can absolutely replace your bearings.
6) Grip Tape Cleaning & Replacement
Grip can also get dirty over time. Your local skateshop will carry an eraser that might help remove a stubborn mark. If you really need to clean a spot, consider a moist toothbrush (kids, this is not your toothbrush, and definitely not your sister or brother's toothbrush!). Use that to loosen the stain, then dab with a dry towel. You don't want to rub a towel or paper towel against the grip, as it will make a mess. You also don't want to get the board itself or the the metal bolts wet.
Despite what you may have heard otherwise, you can absolutely re-grip a skateboard. Un-gripping is an unpleasant 15-30 minute process, but not much worse that removing one of those self destructing window stickers for state parks and such! Do have a razor blade handy as you will be pulling back strips of grip. I've done this both with and without use of a hairdryer. By heating a portion of the tape, you loosen the glue which can make pulling a strip off a bit easier. At the same time, the heat makes the process messier. After you get the grip off, you really want to do your best to clean up the top of the board so that new grip can be applied cleanly.
7) Overall Care
Avoid getting your skateboard wet or exposing it to temperature extremes. If you keep the board in the trunk of a car in summer, or in a shed during winter, you risk reducing the life of the deck and even warping the deck.
Skateboards were born to get scratched and dented. SkateXS Bamboo boards can take a ton of wear and tear abuse and remain skateable well beyond the life of a maple deck. That being said, remember the skateboard deck is supposed to be "disposable". A single set of trucks can last many years and move from deck to deck. Wheels fall somewhere in the middle.
Let us know in the comments if we've missed anything or if you've got tips to share. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have a question that wasn't answered here.
Now get out there and Skate!