Due to modern technology, the majority of roller skate options are decent quality and very durable when used in both indoor and outdoor environments.
However, when used frequently and robustly, roller skates require your loving care and attention to be maintained for long-term use.
In this brief article, we will present 4 signs you should look out for to indicate your roller skates require maintenance. Also, check out our maintenance tips to help give your roller skates a long life!
4 Common Signs Your Roller Skates Need Maintenance
The four most common signs that indicate your roller skates require maintenance are detailed below:
- The wheels are not freely spinning
- Skate is not rolling straight but rather pulling to the left or right
- Wobbly feel that causes handling issues
- Hearing grinding or strange vibrations
How To Fix These Common Issues
Wheels Are Not Freely Spinning
Our advice for this issue is to clean out your skate bearings. When used repeatedly over time in both indoor and outdoor environments, your skates will pick up debris and dirt.
To check if this is the issue, simply pick up your skates and spin the wheels manually. If they don’t spin freely, debris in the bearings is the most likely cause.
Cleaning the skate bearings is an easy maintenance measure and you should do this every couple of months.
Skate Is Pulling To The Left Or Right
For this issue, the best tip is to examine your skate in detail to work out the cause of the issue. In most cases, it will be due to a bent axle, plate misalignment or over-tension in one of the trucks.
If you can confidently diagnose the cause of the pulling, you can either DIY it or take the skates to a pro shop for maintenance.
If you are not confident in diagnosing the issue, we recommend you visit a store to get advice and then maintenance.
This issue can create many issues while skating so we suggest you don’t continue to skate until the problem is fixed.
Wobbly Feel That Causes Handling Issues
If you feel that the skate handling is not correct or feels wobbly, this may be due to the skate trucks being overly tight or loose. Looser trucks make turning much easier while tighter trucks are much trickier to manoeuver.
Based on this, you can manipulate the tightness of the trucks to your desired level to maximize performance and improve handling.
Grinding Or Strange Vibrations
If you hear any strange vibrations or grinding there is an issue with your skates.
In this instance, we advise you to inspect the whole skate to check for any loose buts, bolts, bearings or trucks that be causing the issue.
The Roller Skate Maintenance Checklist
The last thing you want is to go out skating and be unexpectedly denied the opportunity due to a common roller skate maintenance issue.
To prevent this from happening, you should keep a roller skate maintenance schedule.
We’ve put together a checklist as a starting point for you to work through. You can easily adjust it depending on how frequently you skate and the level of your skating intensity.
Each time you skate:
- Let your skates dry out by unlacing and opening up the tongue. Avoid putting the skates in front of a radiator, fire or drying them with a blow dryer as this can damage the skate boot.
- Check the wheel nuts in case they need tightening
- Tighten any loose stoppers
- Wipe down your boots, plates and wheels with a soft, wet cloth
- Inspect the skate trucks and adjust them if required. Ideally, the trucks are sufficiently loose that you can move them with your hand but not so loose that you could move them with your fingers.
- Check your brake pads for signs of wear and that they are attached firmly.
- Wash the liners and fabrics using mild soap and a soft cloth. While they should always be dried out after use, it is good to wash them every month. You can also put them in the washing machine inside a pillowcase. Check the manufacturer’s website first before doing this.
- Remove all wheels and liners by using an Allen key or a skate tool. While this requires some effort, it will allow you to access and clean all sections of the skate. While doing this you can also check the skate for any irregularities.
Tools Needed For Skate Maintenance
Basic maintenance of roller skates is not a complex exercise.
The majority of maintenance sessions do not require many tools but that said, you should be prepared for all possibilities and have access to the following tools:
- Solution for cleaning the bearings
- Light bearing oil
- Soft tissues and cloths
- Stiff craft brush or toothbrush
- Allen key
Factors to consider
Maintaining skates is a necessity for skaters who don’t want to be let down by common maintenance issues.
We’ve put together a few factors for you to consider when determining how often you maintain your roller skates.
If you are donning your skates multiple times per week you will need to check your skates regularly for maintenance issues.
Similar to other modes of transport such as a car, the more miles you cover, the more wear and tear that will occur.
The level of maintenance required for your skates also depends on the type of roller skating you are doing.
If you are an outdoor skater who regularly goes on sidewalks or streets, you will need to do more regular maintenance compared to indoor skaters who are rolling on the smooth rink surface.
In addition to the type of skating, the style in which you skate will also determine the extent to which you need to maintain your skates.
If you simply coast around a skating rink with friends, listening to some of your favorite tunes, the level of wear and tear on your skates is going to be fairly minimal.
On the other hand, if you skate intensively for sports such as roller hockey, artistic or speed skating, the intense movements will naturally put pressure on the nuts and bolts of the skate.
The level you invest in your roller skates will also have an impact on the extent you need to maintain them.
While all skates no matter the price or quality need maintenance at some point, skates with a premium design and premium construction will be more robust than cheaper range skates.
Four signs that your roller skates need maintenance include wheels that are not spinning freely, skate pulling to the side, a wobbly feel and unusual vibrations when rolling.
If any of these signs occur you should stop skating and check out your skates.
In this article, we have also equipped you with a helpful checklist you can use to maintain your skates, tools you should have available and also some factors to consider which will impact the regularity of your skate maintenance.
Ultimately, you should try to keep on top of skate maintenance to improve skate durability and also prevent any major issues from suddenly occurring when skating.