Skating can be fun and requires good sized and good quality roller skates to enhance that experience.
Do not despair if you haven’t performed any maintenance on roller skates before – this guide aims to offer you some key tips and tricks that will extend the durability and life your skates, and keep you on track without any interruptions.
Regardless of the brand or quality of the roller skates, you need to cause and ensure that you keep up with their care and maintenance periodically, as they begin to show signs of wear and tear with regular usage and the bumps and tugs that they get exposed to.
How Do You Maintain Roller Skates Properly?
Clean them up & spin your wheels – Always clean and dry your boots, keep your skates free from dirt and debris after use, and keep checking the wheels and bearings by spinning with your hands and observing their rotations – these are essential maintenance practices that can erode your skate boot, trucks, bearings, and wheels.
Tighten your trucks – Although you will notice a lot of professional or advanced skaters loosening their trucks to enhance maneuverability, it is always suggested that novice skaters should keep their boots and trucks tighter and secured, to avoid any slip or trip that can cause injury or generally be dangerous, and not son loose that you can move them with just your fingers.
Touch your toes – The toe stops in most of the skates are adjustable, and every skater needs to find that sweet spot in accordance with their own shoe size (or if non-adjustable, then ensure that the toe stop stays securely attached to the boot at all times).
Roller Skate Maintenance Schedule
You will be pleased to know that roller skates are not that high maintenance. It only takes inspections and some important adjustments to maximize their output on a regular basis, as well as keep them safe and secure for longer. Let us see those periodic maintenance schedules that you need to be aware of.
Before a Skating Session
Every time you set out to skate, you need to ensure that you clean and dry them beforehand. This is regardless of the terrain or surface that you are skating on, as you are bound to pick up some dirt, dust or debris when you use it on a surface or ground. Also, the sweat that is produced from the feet is soaked up by the boots, which will erode them with time, if not taken care of periodically.
All you need to do is simply wipe down the boots with the help of a soft and dry cloth to extract all the gunk that has been stuck on to it (wheels in particular). You should bring your skates indoors and let them dry in air. Never place in directly in front of a radiator or a fireplace, and it is certainly not wise to dry them with a hair dryer either. The drying process needs to be slow and steady and not by exposing them to intense temperatures – this can warp the boots and you will end up damaging them!
When you travel at high speed, there are vibrations that take place within the skates and that can, in turn, loosen up certain parts of the skates. You need to inspect them every now and then to ensure that they are visually ok and in good working order. If required, always tighten any loosened parts (stoppers) and check wheel nuts if you notice a difference in the ride or visually in your boots from your last skating stint.
- Non-adjustable bell type stopper bolts can be found on classic tall boots and can simply be tightened with a Phillips screwdriver by hand tightly.
- Adjustable stoppers with large hex lock nuts and tension washers are commonly spotted in roller derby skates or medium to high-end skates. These can be fixed by tightening the big lock nut at the base of toe stop bolt, with the help of a suitable socket wrench.
- Adjustable stoppers with allen key lock-nuts can be seen in higher end roller skates, and as the name suggests can be simply be fixed by tightening the allen-key nut lock-nut placed on the side of the plate, close to the stopper.
Possible Roller Skate Problems
Some common problems associated with skates include:
- Wheels cannot spin freely
- One of the skates hinging to the either side rather than rolling straight
- Wobbly wheels which disrupt the balance of the skater or making it impossible to perform a turn.
Wheels Not Spinning
When you notice the wheels not spinning as they should (and you can check this with the help of your hand), the culprit will most likely be the dirt and debris that has built-up. Simply clean the skate bearings with rubbing alcohol (dish soap may damage them), which is easy and simple and should be performed every 2-3 months for optimum functionality and condition.
If you notice the skates are not handling appropriately, then the first thing you need to check is the trucks. They may require loosening or tightening. The looser they are, the easier it is for them to turn and vice versa. Try and find the right balance between these two positions.
To maximize your skating experience, it is imperative that you take good and periodic care of your roller skate. This will ensure that they are kept in good shape and your skating experience stays safe and optimized for longer.