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Professional quality skateboard bearings often have clearances and tolerances that are thinner than a strand of hair. If you don’t keep your bearings lubricated and clean, the accumulation of sand, dust, mud, and water will eventually clog things up. When your wheels don’t spin freely on their own or they get noisy, it’s time (and possibly overdue) for a cleaning session.
What to look for
You’ll need two products to keep your wheels greased and clean—a lubricant to keep things moving smooth, and a cleaner to remove buildup. Some lubricants offer a 2-in-1 solution with an oil and a cleanser, while others focus on one or the other. One method isn’t necessarily better than the other, it just depends on the quality of the materials in the solution and your preference.
As you’re considering your options, here are a few tips on what to look for:
- Oil-based lubricant – in order to properly grease all of the moving parts in your bearings, you’ll need an oil-based lubricant. While any oil-based lubricant will do, skateboard bearings perform best with thin, lightweight lubricants that have low viscosity and can withstand high temperatures.
- Cleaner – most cleaning solutions for skateboard bearings use an oil-based solvent. A good cleaner should remove dust, dirt, and grime, and repel water to avoid corrosion and rust. Just make sure the cleaner you use isn’t too strong, as abrasive cleaners can damage seal materials and coatings.
- Viscosity – viscosity is a term that’s used to describe how thick an oil is. When you’re lubricating skateboard bearings, look for oils with low viscosity.
Bones Speed Cream uses a specialized blend of low viscosity, high speed lubricants to help your precision bearings roll faster and longer with significantly less wear. The high-temperature formula is proven to reduce friction and provide a durable micro film of lubricant to protect against corrosion. Tests have shown that Bones Speed Cream Skate Bearing Lubricant is superior to Teflon-based lubricants in skate environments, too, so you can bank on high performance results. But don’t take my word for this one—check the reviews for yourself, as they definitely speak for themselves.
- Specially engineered for skateboard bearings
- Blend of low viscosity, high-temperature, high-speed lubricants
- Roll faster and longer with reduced friction and protection against corrosion
- Package includes one 0.5-ounce bottle of lubricant
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
Boca Bearings High Speed Oil is a great all-purpose lubricant for bearings, bike chains, RC parts, fishing reels, and more. It’s guaranteed to prolong the life of any moving parts, including skateboard bearings, with an operating temperature of -50°F to +400°F and a viscosity of 1875/9CS. The formula is thin and lightweight, and an ideal choice to minimize friction and reduce drag. It comes in a 12cc bottle with a syringe tip for easy application.
- All-purpose lubricant for bearings and any moving parts
- Thin, lightweight formula minimizes friction and reduces drag
- Comes in 12cc bottle with syringe tip
- Operating temperature of -50°F to +400°F
- Viscosity of 1875/9CS
Monkey Loob is the perfect solution for all of your greasy needs. It’s a lightweight synthetic lubricating oil that greases and protects your bearings, and it repels water to prevent rust. It works great on skateboards, bikes, machines, metal, chains, gears, fishing reels, and just about any moving parts that need greasing. You can even use it to create a protective water-repellent layer for the bore of your firearms.
Monkey Loob isn’t just a lubricant—it’s a cleaner, too. It cleans and removes dirty buildup on skateboard bearings, inline skates, bicycles, antiques, sewing machines, even cars and trucks. It also has a long shelf life and is safe for frequent, repeated use, so it’s a product you can keep in your toolkit for a while.
- Lightweight synthetic lubricating oil that greases and protects bearings
- Repels water to prevent rust
- Cleans and removes dirty buildup
- Long shelf life
Triple Elite Liberty Oil is formulated to penetrate and lubricate bearings and any types of moving parts, increasing your equipment’s life and eliminating breakage caused by dirty and improperly lubricated parts. It forms a protective shield to protect against rust, corrosive buildup, and abrasive particles like sand, dirt, and salt. It also protects against moisture, too. You’ll get superior pressure-resistance and anti-wear properties without affecting any seal materials or coatings.
Triple Elite Liberty Oil is also a good cleaner, too. Where ordinary solvent-based cleaners lack the oil power to lubricate the surface, this product is an oil-based cleaner that coats the surface with an oil film that cuts friction, cleans, and protects. If you can picture it, Triple Clean coats each particle in your bearing and basically acts like miniature ball bearings so that the particles slide over the surface with ease. The oil-based formula also means it won’t evaporate like other solvents, so it’ll last up to three-times longer than the average lubricant/cleaner.
- Penetrates and lubricates any moving parts
- Forms a protective barrier against rust, corrosion, sand, dirt, and salt
- Repels moisture
- Doesn’t affect seal materials or coatings
- Includes an oil-based cleaner
- Package comes with a 1.5-inch 18-gauge stainless steel pharmaceutical grade applicator
If you decide to purchase a cleaner separately from your lubricant, consider the Oust Bearings Speed Kleen Kit for your cleaner. It offers a fast, simple, and easy cleaner for your bearings, and it’s an ideal choice for skateboards, longboards, penny boards, scooters, and inline skates. The orange oil citrus cleaner is a safe and effective alternative to harsh and hazardous chemicals, so you don’t have to worry about any damage to bearing races or ball retainers. All Oust products are made in the USA, and this particular kit includes the cleaning solvent, bearing holder, and a washing container.
- The fastest and most effective way to clean your bearings
- Utilizes an orange oil citrus clean that’s safe, non-toxic, and effective
- Won’t damage bearing races or ball containers
- Kit contains 1 bottle of cleaning solvent, 1 bearing holder, and 1 washing container
- Made in the USA
Remember—as soon as your bearings don’t spin freely or start making a grinding noise, it’s time to stop riding and do some cleaning and lubricating. If you keep riding on dirty and poorly-lubricated bearings, you run the risk of permanently damaging your bearings. Of course, there’s also the risk of hurting yourself, too, if your wheels freeze up while you’re riding, so it’s best to avoid that.
While all of the products we’ve discussed are solid options, my favorite lubricant is the Bones Speed Cream Skate Bearing Lubricant. It’s specially designed for skateboard bearings, uses the highest quality oil, and has some rave reviews to back it. As for a cleaner, I’d go with the Oust Bearings Speed Kleen Kit. Use that to clean your bearings before each time you lubricate, and the combo will keep your skateboard running smooth for a long time.