5 Easy Longboard Maintenance Tips
Have you just splashed your hard earned cash on a deck that you can’t get enough off? Lots of us all wish that our boards will last forever, however, for most of us that use our boards daily, it won’t be the case. Particularly when they made from cheaper quality materials.
That said, there are things every skater can do to ensure their deck will shred for many years to come. Following our guide, you will learn some simple but also overlooked tips that can prolong the life of your board.
1. Clean your bearings
Cleaning longboard bearings can be one of the most important but also overlooked aspects of maintaining your board. Because bearings are exposed to lots of elements like rain, dirt, mud, and dust they will get dirty over time. This can lead to quite a few issues.
Like making them slower, therefore you being slower and having to push harder. Or, if it’s bad enough bearings will either rust and potentially seize up. This could spell disaster if you are traveling at fast speeds.
Cleaning your bearings doesn’t have to take all that long and can breathe new life into your board. All you need is:
- an alcohol based cleaning solution such as methylated spirits,
- a lubricant such as Bones Speed Cream or a light grease such as sewing machine oil,
- a rag or old towel to clean and dry the bearings,
- a small blade or knife to leverage the bearing shields,
- and lastly, a container or jar to submerse and clean your bearings in the desired solution.
2. Avoid riding in the rain
Riding in the rain can be lots of fun. Although it can be super easy to do massive slides in, it can spell quite a bit of trouble in some ways. Aside from ruining your bearings, it can also cause waterlogging.
Which could potentially damage your deck, causing structural problems within it and reducing its “pop” as well as making it less solid/durable overall. However, this varies for which materials are being used in the board’s construction.
If the board is of maple construction you could potentially run into the problem and should avoid riding in the rain altogether.
However laminated bamboo, fiberglass and carbon fiber constructed decks can be found and you shouldn’t have to worry about it if you ride, something made from one of those.
*One way to avoid damage is simply wipe down your deck with a towel or rag.
3. Rotate your wheels
Rotating wheels is a great longboard maintenance hack, that I personally do all the time. Wheels won’t always wear at the same rate as each other. So it is good to perform a rotation. Simply take them off and turn them and put them back – upside down.
Otherwise, the behavior and performance of your wheels could be affected – you don’t want coning, flat spotting or ovalling. My tip to partly avoid wearing out your wheels badly is to avoid sliding at 90 degrees in a straight line.
4. Use shock pads
Another way of prolonging the life of your longboard is by using shock pads. They’re made from rubber or dense foam and are inserted between the trucks and the deck of a longboard. They help raise your board up, reducing vibrations and shocks from riding on the open roads.
This helps reduce stress fractures commonly found around the mounting holes of longboards. Commonly found in cheaper maple decks. There are also other numerous benefits such as providing wheel clearance to avoid wheel bite and helping you turn more from the front end.
These Independent shock pads on Amazon.com are good examples, check them out.
5. Cleaning the deck and grip tape:
Sometimes your deck and its grip tape will get dirty or worn out. Cleaning them isn’t that difficult. All you’ll need is some nylon brush, soapy water, and a sponge.
Once you have removed most of the dirt and grime with the brush, you can simply use a sponge and normal water to rinse the deck off. Be sure to leave no soap suds around, as well as to dry the deck with a towel immediately after you’re done.
Now, if your grip tape is worn out you might have to simply replace it. It can be bought in sheets or in rolls. The time is right when you find your feet slipping around on your deck.
Needless to say- you should feel secure and locked in when riding your board. Plus, you may find it hard to execute specific moves, with your feet slipping out and about. One of the Griptape brands I like to use is Vicious Griptape ( link to Amazon.com).
Obviously, you will buy some replacements along the way, though following these 5 tips should give you enough of an idea of how to look after a longboard to ensure it last maximum lifetime.
In the end, it all boils down to how careful you’re with your things. Just to give you a perspective – I have a friend who left his boards outside of his house for the whole winter, but that’s a story for another time.