When someone is taking their first step into the exciting world of skateboarding, one of the first things they need to figure out is how to safely maintain their tools of the trade! If a skateboarder just went out and bought their first board, what should they know to make sure they maintain the board in as good condition as possible? Here is the beginner’s guide to keeping a skateboard in tip-top shape!
A beginner needs to adjust their board so it turns, moves, and grips safely. Beginners need to protect their board by transporting it in a carrying case, storing it away from extreme hot or cold temperatures, and should try to not ride it in bad weather. Clean it regularly for good maintenance.
How should a beginner adjust their skateboard and its wheels when they are just first starting to use it? What else do they need to know about proper board care, cleaning, and maintenance before they dive into casual riding? Let’s go over in depth what to know and remember when it comes to skateboard maintenance!
1. Adjust the Skateboard Accordingly
One of the first things a new or seasoned skateboarder needs to do is adjust their skateboard. It is important to know the different parts of the skateboard to then know what parts need adjusting. For example, the metal “axle” assembly on the underside of the skateboard is called the truck and needs to be adjusted for each person. The tightness of the skateboard’s trucks will determine how easy or hard it is for the skateboard to make turns. A beginner may want the single metal nut on each of their board’s trucks to be adjusted with a tool to be tighter than usual so they don’t have to worry about turning as much. Over time they will be able to loosen the trucks of the board when they are ready to control the board more.
The grip of a skateboard is the gritty, sand-papery layer that is put on top of a skateboard deck so shoes can have safe traction and grip. So, whenever a skater grips a board, they sense and look for air pockets between the grip and the board. When they find these air pockets, they should “pop” the bubble or pocket with the corner of a pin or razor blade and push the air out through that small incision. The more a board is skated on, the more connected the grip and board will become.
Next, adjusting the axle nuts and truck mounting bolts will be an important part of maintaining a safe and rideable skateboard. Wheels are attached to the axles with a single nut per wheel. These nuts should be tightened as far as possible without impeding the spin of the wheel. Sometimes a nut will work itself tighter or looser than previously set, at which point it should be corrected by the skater. Each truck needs to be securely attached to the skateboard deck with tools. Make sure to tighten the nuts if they become loose, but avoid over-tightening, since it isn’t good to over embed the bolts deeply into the board.
2. Mindful Cleaning
Both beginner and experienced skaters are encouraged to regularly clean their skateboards. A rag or towel with mild soap and water on it can be used to clean and maintain the board. Don’t use harsh chemicals or cleaning agents! These intense cleaning tools and mixtures risk damaging the board’s deck or wheels.
3. Protective Storage
Skateboard riders and experts warn against storing a skateboard in the trunk of a hot car or a shed or garage in sweltering or freezing temperatures. Subjecting a board to extreme hot or cold temperatures and places for extended periods can spell disaster for the integrity of the board and its attached parts! That being said, try to store the skateboard in cool, dry places when it is not being actively put to use. Don’t store it for long periods in direct sunlight or near heat sources either. Putting the board near extreme heat like this can cause the deck to warp.
When transporting the board itself, it should also have additional protection if possible. Keep the board in a proper carrying case or bag whenever moving it from place to place. Avoid just throwing it in a car, a trunk, or a closet since a certified carrying case will protect it from outside elements, sunlight, and impacts.
4. Use in Good Riding Conditions
When actively riding on the skateboard, try to ride in sunny or cloudy weather, in skate parks, or over roads or sidewalks. Try to avoid riding in wet or rainy conditions whenever possible. If the board must be ridden in wet conditions, make sure to protect it with a waterproof sealant that can be easily purchased online or in most physical sporting goods or skateboard stores! Using a waterproof sealant will go a long way in stopping water damage and keeping the board looking as good as new.
5. Replace Skateboard Parts As Needed
Inspect the board regularly for any breaks, cracks, or other types of damage. If there is any damage to the board or its parts, stop using the board immediately! Go to a board shop or experienced repair person to get the board repaired or replaced as needed.
6. Maintaining the Skateboard’s Wheels
It is commonly said that the most important parts of the skateboard are the wheels. Beginners should purchase simple tools like two small wrenches that are adjustable, pliers, and a screwdriver to help in removing, cleaning, and greasing the wheels as needed. A beginner should also collect and use household oil, bicycle grease, replacement ball bearings, and rags on hand for when they need to service and tune up the wheels. Skaters need to service the bearings whenever the wheels start to bind if they want their board to keep moving at top speed!
Following the above steps will improve any beginner’s skateboarding experience and keep them riding for years to come! Use the advice above and find further resources and videos online to help with general board maintenance.