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How To Change In-Line Skate Bearings And Wheels

Contents:

  • Bearings:
    • Steps for changing bearings
    • Tips
  • Wheels:
    • Steps for changing wheels
    • Rotating wheels
    • Tips

Changing Bearings

If your in-line wheels seize up or spin slowly and vibrate, they might need new bearings. Rust around the outside of the wheels and/or the sound of dirt grinding inside are also signs that it is time for a change.

Steps:

  1. Use an Allen wrench to remove the axle from the front wheel.
  2. Pull out the front wheel.
  3. Remove the old bearings from either side of the wheel. They should pop right off if you use a bolt or something similar.
  4. Place new bearings on either side of the wheel. If necessary, use a flat surface for extra leverage.
  5. Place the wheel in the wheel frame.
  6. Use the Allen wrench to replace the axle. If your spacer is aluminum, tighten the axle bolts as far as they will go. If your spacer is plastic, tighten the bolts as far as they will go, then loosen them slightly.
  7. Spin the wheel to see how easily it rolls. If it doesn't spin freely, loosen the axle. If it wobbles, tighten the axle.
  8. Repeat the steps for the remaining wheels.

Tips:

Consult the manufacturer's instructions for information about your specific type of skate. If you skate through water or sand, you'll want to change your bearings every year. If you cover terrain that isn't as rugged, change the bearings approximately every three years.

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Changing Wheels

You'll know it's time to change your wheels when the insides of the wheels appear worn or when your skates seem slow. A person's weight, the terrain and skating downhill all contribute to wear and tear on the wheels.

Steps:

  1. Unscrew and remove the axle bolts from the front wheel with an Allen wrench.
  2. Pull the front wheel out of the wheel frame.
  3. Remove the bearings and spacer from the wheel. All components should slip out together.
  4. Place the spacer and bearings into the new wheel.
  5. Place the new wheel on the wheel frame.
  6. Replace the axle and tighten it using the Allen wrench. If your spacer is aluminum, tighten the axle as far as it will go. If your spacer is plastic, tighten the axle almost as far as it will go, then loosen it slightly. Spin the wheel to see how easily it rolls. If it doesn't spin freely, loosen the axle. If the wheel wobbles, tighten the axle.
  7. Repeat the previous steps for the remaining wheels.

Rotating Wheels: You can prolong the life of your wheels by rotating them.

Since the insides typically wear down first, switch wheels so that the least-worn portion of each wheel is on the inside. The best method is to switch the odd wheels (first and third) with each other and the even wheels (second and fourth) with each other. If the wheels on one skate are more worn than the wheels on the other, you may want to switch wheels from one skate to the other when you rotate them.

Tips:

Older skates, roller hockey skates and racing skates may have threaded bearings, which make wheel replacement more complicated. Consult manufacturer's instructions for help with these types of skates.

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