Grab your skates out of your trunk and get to the rink! What a great place to store skates until you need them right? Not. Why won’t my wheels turn? There seems to be a grinding noise in my wheel, what’s wrong? The boots on my skates are growing mold, eww, now what?
All true statements from skaters over the years and I’m sure there’s plenty more. One year I caught a skater in the parking lot who was liberally spraying his wheels with WD40 and thought he could come in a skate on them. Said the wheels wouldn’t turn right and he ‘always’ did that. Shuddering at the thought of all that lubricant spraying out onto our clean floor, I quickly offered to help him in the pro shop.
So if WD40 isn’t the answer what is? Well, a yearly visit to the pro shop is in order or do the process at home at least once a year depending on how often you skate. First, do NOT store your skates in your trunk. The heat and moisture will destroy your skates. After a fun skating session at the rink, take them indoors and let them dry in the open air. Don’t leave them in a case or bag.
Bearings, yes there’s 2 in each wheel of your skates. They are much like the bearings used in the popular fidget spinners that the kids are nuts about these days. They are what makes your wheels turn and if they are rusted, dried out, full of sand and hair (We’ve pulled literally hair balls out of bearings and from around the axles) they will not continue to offer you great fun when you are skating! Each bearing needs to be removed a couple times a year, cleaned and lubricated. Axles need to be cleaned and after a few times removing your wheels, need new lock nuts to keep the wheels from spinning off out on the rink.
Toe stops are needed on your skates to either protect the wood skating surfaces so many roller rinks have (skating heaven) or you use them to stop and jump. Make sure you have some and there’s no metal showing through and they are tight and secure.
Check your cushions (bushings to some folks) to make sure they aren’t cracked and dried out. These are what enable the skate trucks to rock and roll so you can edge easily and make your ride so smooth.
Lastly, check your wheels to see if they need rotating, much like your car. This makes the wheels wear evenly since most skaters don’t push equally on all four wheels. We can look at your wheels and tell you how you skate!
So there you have it. Roller skate maintenance in a nutshell. You can do this at home or bring your skates into Orbit Skate Center in Palatine for $25 we will check them over, clean and repack your bearings and give you advice on any other repairs that are necessary. Have fun roller skating and know your roll is the best they can be!