Being new to the sport, it is natural for you to be curious about all the little parts of your roller skates. Well, regardless of whether you are new to this sport or not, if you are wondering do roller skate wheels need washers or are they just a waste of money, I’ll clear your confusion for you.
Washers are needed in roller skates because they prevent bearings from rubbing up against the hanger and axle nut. Washers help provide the rider with a smooth ride while using a roller skate. It reduces friction and increases a skate’s durability.
Using washers has infinitely many benefits. Not only does it help to keep your roller skate in good shape, but it also increases the service life of the bearings. It’s also a very cheap investment that ensures quality service. On that note, let’s take a look at do roller skate wheels need washers.
What Are Washers?
Washers are roller skate bearings that go on the skate’s wheels. Washers go by many names like speed rings or speed washers or bearing washers etc. Washers are basically thin metal rings.
If you have been using roller skates or skateboards for quite a while now, you must be aware of the presence of washers in them. Two pieces of washers i.e. the thin metal rings are each placed over the axle. They are placed between the nut and the bearing and the hanger and the bearing. They spin along the axle and hold it tight.
Importance of Washers In Roller Skates
Now that you know what exactly a washer is and where it’s placed, one question must be looming in your mind, are they really important? I mean, they’re just thin disks after all. What good can that bring? Well, they really are important for your roller skates.
Washers are placed in your roller skate to mainly serve one purpose: to make the wheel run faster by reducing friction. Their placement also cushions the area between the nut and the bearing. This, in turn, reduces the friction between the components inside the roller skate and helps the wheel rotate quickly.
So, as the wheels don’t experience much dragging or resistance, they can spin more swiftly and quickly and hence give the rider a faster slide. This cushioning also protects the bearing from any potential damage. Thus, increasing its lifespan.
So, to summarize the importance of washers:
- They protect the bearings from damage.
- They increase the lifespan of roller skates.
- They reduce friction in the wheels.
- They help riders to skate faster.
Washers will help prevent many complications of the roller skate. It will help you get a smooth riding experience. Washers will also help with fitting the bearings perfectly by providing the necessary space between the nuts on the axle and the inner bearings. This will give the perfect counterbalance to wheels for smooth sliding.
Speed washers are also pretty cheap. Although most people claim it to not be a necessity, I firmly believe you should get washers for your roller skates ASAP.
When Do You Need To Use Washers?
Now that we have established that washers are really important gears for the wheel, you should be aware of the signs showing an immediate need for washers. So, if your wheels are experiencing any of the following conditions, it’ll be best for you to install washers immediately.
Loud bearings while you skate
If you hear your bearings becoming a bit too loud, it means your skate needs good cushioning.
The longer you skate, the product ought to go through normal wear and tear. With progressively difficult skating moves, the inner part of your bearing experiences more pressure that can eventually cause serious problems.
The placement of all the bearings attached to roller skates is to make sure the bearings spin parallel to the wheel. Because otherwise, the bearings can potentially be slightly tilted and hence clash with the other wheels. This will not give you the perfect roll. This is why you need to install washers.
If you have chattering wheels, it means your roller skate is bouncing across the road instead of sliding swiftly. This usually happens when your wheels are not tightened correctly.
When you’re sliding with your roller skates and the wheels bounce unpredictably and cause noise and irritation, you need to install washers to tighten the wheels. If you want to avoid unwanted vibrations in your skating, which will make it unenjoyable, install washers instead.
If your bearings fall apart
If you have any experience of your bearings falling apart while sliding, then you seriously need to install the washers. They will go a long way to help prevent this problem.
If your nut keeps falling off
If your washers appear a bit worn down or if there is any rust in the bearings, change your washer and see the difference.
However, it’s best to not wait for your bearings to explode or for your wheels to chatter. Just get the washers installed now and forget all the worries of looking for signs of potential damage in your roller skates.
Things to Consider When You Get A New Washer
Generally speaking, washers don’t need frequent replacement. If you buy it once, it’s guaranteed to last for many years. However, you can change them as frequently as you like or you can buy a pack and replace washers from there. So, if you are buying washers for your roller skates, consider these few things first.
Will You Buy A Bearing Set Or Just The Washer?
See, washers are available both in sets as well as solo. Each product functions the same altogether. However, if you want to revamp your roller skate altogether you can opt to buy them with the bearings.
Some good options to buy bearings for your roller skate, depending on your axle size are:
However, if you want to opt for buying washers only, that too is possible. You can buy skateboard bearings for your roller skates if you cannot find bearings exclusively for roller blades anywhere. Some good options are:
What Is The Size Of Your Axle Nut?
Washers usually fit axle nuts of size 7 mm or 8 mm. So it is important to know the size of your roller skates axle nut before you buy washers. The right size will efficiently reduce friction between the bearings and give a smoother ride.
Does Your Skate Have Built-In Bearings?
If your roller skate has built-in bearings, then it’ll include washers too. This means you won’t need to worry about the part-by-part replacement. The built-in bearings help to change the wheels faster as you won’t need to worry about configuring the pieces on the inside. Some good examples of skates with built-in bearings are:
- Zealous Built-In Longboard Skateboard Bearings (Steel and Ceramic)
- Bones Super Reds Skateboard Bearings
Generally, any Bones bearing is a good option.
If you were wondering do roller skate wheels need washers, I’d suggest you definitely get them. They will significantly improve your skating experience and give you comfortable sliding across any pavement. Not to mention they will also increase the longevity of a lot of the parts of your skates.
But if you are worried about which washer to buy, check out our suggested products to get a head start.