Alright so you got your board, you’ve been shredding it, but how do you keep it in solid condition?
It’s time for some longboard maintenance.
I’m gonna share what I do and then what others have shared to help you maximize your board’s lifespan.
I’m gonna cover the deck, griptape, bearings, wheels, and trucks.
Okay so before we get into the nitty and gritty, honestly the best type of maintenance is preventative maintenance.
You want to try your best to avoid riding in wet conditions, regularly clean your bearings, and overall just keep a close eye on your board, so if there is an issue, you can address it before it gets worse.
Check your truck and wheel nuts to make sure they’re secure. You don’t want anything falling off while riding.
If you can’t avoid riding in wet conditions, say you’re commuting every day, then a few people recommended having a wet setup, so wheels, bearings, and trucks that you can put on that are solely for wet conditions. That way your main setup doesn’t get ruined. Not everyone can afford this so if you ride in the rain, just make sure to really dry it off once you’re done.
Now I realize all of this is going to depend on how much you can afford to spend. Obviously, those on a tighter budget are gonna wanna do more maintenance than those that can afford to just buy a new part or board altogether. So it really comes down to everyone’s situation.
So let’s start with the deck and I tried to think of the most common issues that people have.
If I had to guess, I’d say the most common issue is minor chips and cracks on the nose or tail.
If it’s a hairline crack or minor chip, I wouldn’t bug out too much. Longboards and skateboards are meant to get beat up. It’s obviously your call, but I’d just keep an eye on it.
You’ll probably want to address it when you get a major crack or chip.
It’s all going to depend on your situation, but if it’s a delamination crack, I’ll use either wood glue or epoxy.
It’s pretty simple – flip your board vertically so gravity will pull the glue deeper into the cracks, lay down some protection so it doesn’t drip, and apply it.
If it’s a crack that’s hard to get, I’d recommend picking up one of these glue syringes. It’s definitely not necessary but it’ll make your life a lot easier.
I also have one of these Titebond brushes, which is again nice to have but not a necessity.
Clamp it down and wipe away any excess. Wait however long it instructs you to and then sand it down even if needed.
You can even go a little further and spray it with urethane to help keep moisture out.
For riding styles that don’t use their nose or tails, you might wanna look into nose guards to prevent this from even happening because it’s pretty inevitable your board goes flying and hits a curb.
The other thing you can do if you have a pretty big chip is use wood filler. Pretty straightforward, just spread it on, let it dry and then sand it down.
Another deck-related issue that you’re gonna experience if you’re doing flip tricks, the dreaded razor tail.
I’m gonna be honest, back when I did this type of skating, I never attempted to really fix my razor tail other than sanding the back down, which helps a little, but will obviously shorten your deck.
But I got a few suggestions and the main solution seemed to be using super glue and sawdust.
If you’re interested in this, then here are some instructions sent in by Ty Mixon that I found super helpful.
How To Fix Razor Rail
There is a simple way to get rid of it and make your board last longer. Basically, you get sawdust and super glue. The cheap little bottles work the best for this.
You put a layer of super glue on the razor tail. Then you cover it with sawdust. Put way more than you need on there, and after all the glue is covered in like 1/8in of sawdust, use your fingers to press down and compact the sawdust to the glue.
If you get superglue on your fingers then you need more sawdust. Let it dry for 5-10min depending on the bottle’s instructions and how thick of a coat you put on there. (The thinner the better to an extent).
Wipe off the remaining sawdust, and repeat the process until the back of the board is restored. It’s going to look jank. So you can leave it if you want, but I like to go over it with 80-1000 grit sandpaper and call it a day.
Tips & Tricks
You need to use cheap superglue bottles like Krazy glue. These are plastic-based adhesives that bond better to the wood. You need to let each layer dry individually. If you rush it, you will need to put more layers to cover up the imperfections.
You need to compact the sawdust into the glue each time so that it will not only be more durable but feel more like a regular skateboard. This process takes a while, and if not done correctly, it will not be worth your time.
I would say that it lasts about half as long as the original tail, so it’s not something that I frequently do, but if you wanted to. You could apply a few layers after every session, and hypothetically never get razor tail.
So hopefully this will help you if you can’t afford to pick up a new deck.
Alright, let’s move on to addressing griptape issues.
I think it’s safe to say that the most common issue is getting your griptape dirty.
What I would recommend doing is gently using a wire brush for more intense dirt, and then a sanding belt cleaner for stuff on the surface of the grip. But honestly doing both will be overkill for most.
I bought this belt cleaner off of amazon for like 4 dollars and it’s the only thing I’ve needed to get the dirt out.
Keep in mind that griptape is pretty much sandpaper and will wear down over time. So I say this because when cleaning it, don’t go over the top and use a crazy amount of pressure, otherwise, it’ll wear down quicker.
Also, I can’t take credit for this because I learned this way back in the day by watching a Rat Vision YouTube video. If you know, you know.
I wanna start the bearings section by emphasizing that WD-40 is not a good choice. Growing up, I used to do this and it’s not a good idea because it’s not a lubricant, it’ll dry them out and attract more dirt and grime over time.
The key to having your bearings perform properly is lube.
WD-40 might temporarily seem like it’s working, but over time, it’s gonna ruin them.
However, I still use WD-40 in a small amount if I want to remove some rust on my trucks or hardware. It’s a good way to remove some rust on your trucks but bottom line, don’t use them on your bearings.
Instead, it’s best to pop off the plastic caps, use a cleaner bottle like the ones from Bones (although you could easily make your own and definitely don’t need this).
Line up your bearings, spaced out, add in some natural citrus cleaner.
I got this specific cleaner from Amazon, but honestly, I’d recommend just picking up a cheaper one from your local hardware store.
Fill your bottle about a quarter of the way and shake it up.
You can rinse and repeat a few times, depending on how dirty your bearings are.
Take them out, and let them dry on a paper towel. Before you add the lube it’s important to make sure they completely dry off. I usually just wait but to speed up the process you can use an air spray can or blow dryer.
Once they’re dry use a lubricant like Bones Speed cream. One, two, three, and wapahhh your bearings are good to go.
Moving onto the wheels, the two main issues I believe are uneven wear from sliding and them getting dirty.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you slide a lot, some of your wheels are going to wear down quicker than others.
This is why it’s common practice to rotate your wheels so they all have a better chance of wearing them evenly. Just keep an eye on your wheels aren’t every session and go from there.
I honestly don’t have too much experience doing this since my riding style isn’t as aggressive and is mostly cruising and carving.
The more common issue is your wheels getting dirty, so what I usually do is put some warm water and dish soap in a bucket.
Let my wheels soak for 10 minutes, then take a brush and scrub.
To be honest, I’m not someone who really cleans my wheels often but that’s what I’ve done in the past.
Alright and finally, let’s address the trucks. The most common issues seem to be squeaking or them getting dirty.
I’ve mentioned this in a previous video before, but if your trucks are squeaking which is super common, then it’s most likely either the pivot cup or bushings.
Take either soap or candle wax shavings, and sprinkle them in the pivot cup and in between the bushings. That should do it.
Then if they’re dirty, I like to take them completely apart and wipe them off with soap and water. Just make sure to dry them off so it doesn’t rust them.
If you already have rust, as I mentioned in the bearings section, you can spray some WD40 on a rag and wipe the rust away.