Roller Skate Maintenance is for Everyone

Proper roller skate maintenance is important for several reasons.

  • Be Safe. Losing a toe stop while skating is a dangerous situation, as are loose wheels, bolts and bad bearings.
  • Be Green. Roller skate wheels are not recyclable, nor are they biodegradable; this makes it even more important to keep them out of landfills.
  • Be Thrifty. It is less expensive and time consuming to simply care for the sporting equipment that you have than to pay to replace.
  • Have Fun. Roller skates that glide smoothly without unnecessary noise make for a much more enjoyable experience.

Tools Required

  • Washcloth
  • Screwdriver, large Phillips or a flat head
  • 1/2" wrench
  • 9/16" wrench

Roller Skate Maintenance

Diligently caring for your skates will extend their lifespan, keep you safe, and save you money, but you do need to devote a little bit of time to maintenance.

Check the toe stoppers before skating. Adjustable toe stops can wiggle loose from the vibration of stopping and need to be tightened.

Rotate your wheels often if you are an avid skater. Changing them from inside to outside, front to back will extend the life of your wheels. Depending on the purpose of your skating, you can expect a particular pattern of wear. Avoid allowing this to take over by rotating your wheels frequently.

Inspect your wheel nuts. TIghten if necessary and be sure that they do not hinder the wheel movements.

Bumpy rides and unnecessary noises mean that it is time to change your bearings. Once a year is plenty for most weekly skaters, more or less depending on your intensity and frequency.

Change Bearings

Roller skate maintenance includes changing your bearings at least once a year. This is not difficult, but will greatly improve the performance of your roller skates. This is an easy way to make your skates feel brand new again.

  • Use your wrench to remove the axle and pull out the front wheel.
  • Pop the bearings off from both sides of the wheel.
  • Set new bearing on the wheel. Now, replace the wheel.
  • Re-tighten the axle with your wrench. If you have aluminum spacers, tighten as much as possible. Plastic spacers need to be tightened and then slightly loosened.
  • Spin the wheels, do they spin freely? If they wobble, tighten a little more. They also may need to be loosened slightly.
  • Repeat the same process with the back wheels.

In order to keep your bearing as long as possible, avoid skating in wet, dusty, or sandy conditions.

Adjusting the Truck

Some skates have unique adjustable plates that allow you to adjust the location of each truck independently. In order to do this, you will need your 9/16" wrench.

  • Loosen the lock nut at the base of the truck assembly by the base plate.
  • Use your hands to move the truck into position. Slide until it is in the desired place.
  • Tighten the lock nut. It is very important to tighten as much as possible.
  • Check to be sure this lock nut is secure every so often. A general inspection of the roller skate is worth the time!

In general, these are the common spacing requirements:

Wide spacing is for recreational outdoor use. It gives greater stability and control at fast speeds.

Tight spacing is for artistic and rhythm skating. It allows small precise movements, spinning, and tight turns.

European style truck position refers to placing the back truck a little forward.


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