Inline Skate Maintenance

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Inline Skate maintenance is a hassle and no fun.  I hate doing it because I always break my fingernails.  BUT it is a performance enhancer and a great way to save money on wheels and bearings.  And those aren't cheap!

When you skate you move forward by putting pressure on the inside edge of your skate wheels. After awhile the wheels start to wear down on the inside causing the surface to be uneven.

It is a good idea to check them out each time you go out skating, but not many of us do.   Check the instructions that came with your wheels and they will have a suggested maintenance schedule and instructions for rotating them as well.

To maximize your wheel's surface, improve your skating performance, and to save money, you should check your wheels after a few skates to see how your wheels are wearing.

Depending on the quality of your wheels, the hardness of them, your skating style, how often you skate, and your skating surfaces will determine how often you need to rotate your wheels to keep the surface even.

 The standard method for wheel rotation is to turn each wheel over so what was the inside edge, is now facing out.  Usually you will be switching the side with writing to the inside (your first rotation).

Not only do you want to turn the wheels around, you also want to check the wear pattern of each wheel. This is a great time to assess your skating style.  I find I tend to wear my heels down faster then my center wheels, and wear my toe down from dragging it.  Your wear pattern will show you where you tend to place your weight, (front or back) or bad habits you may have like, dragging your front toe.

Because of uneven wear, it is also a good idea to rotate your wheels on occasion within the skate frame.  Commonly you exchange the first wheel with the Third, and swap the second with the fourth.  Your center wheels tend to have less wear.  This also helps to extend the life of your wheels and even out your skating surface.

Then every other occasion or so, you can even swap the wheels to the opposite skates, for more life extension.  When you skate you also tend to favor one foot as the stronger over the other, which will cause those wheels to wear even more. 

So, there is an endless rotation pattern you can go through, Or you can just buy new wheels all the time.


Bearings should be kept clean and dry to keep them working properly.  You don't need to replace or take apart your bearings every time you rotate you wheels, but you should clean them off.  Pop out the bearings in each wheel.  There are two, with a spacer in the middle.

I use an old toothbrush and gently brush out the dirt, grit and grim that may build up in the ridges   That is all you should need to do.  Don't use any lubricant on the outside of the bearing because it will build up and attract more dirt.

Some bearings are serviceable they have a metal shield with a removable "C" ring, or have a rubber ring removable shield. You can take apart and clean these bearings.  

These type of bearings require using a solvent to remove the old lubricant and grime.  After cleaning with the solvent, you need to rinse the parts and make sure they are dry before relubricating and putting them back together.

 Some people use a jewelry cleaner to clean their bearings.  You place them in the machine and let it do the work for you.  All you need to do then is be sure all parts are dry and lubricate and reassemble them.


If you take a look at your brake pad you will find that there is a wear line on the pad that indicates when it is time to change your pad.  Check the pad before you go out and skate.  Make sure it is on tight, and that you have plenty of pad left for stopping.

Many skates have adjustable brake arms that you can lower as the pad wears down, or raise up if the pad interferes with your skating.  Read your owners manual for instructions on how to adjust the arm, it usually requires a key that came with your skates.
 "OH that is what The Key was FOR!?!


More Articles From Inline Skate Resource:

Skate Your Butt Off - A Guide to Skating Hills

OK, Something is not right here, my feet hurt when I skate!

Stretches and Warm Ups for Inline Skating

On The Road Again, Traveling with your Inline Skates

When Should I Replace My Helmet?

How to Avoid, and Treat Blisters.

Skate Buying Guide


Rocker n' Roll

Inline Skate Wheels

Buy Wheels


What if your skate breaks?
Skate buckles, liners and most frames can be fixed or replaced.  Check with a local skate shop, or online for parts, also call the skate manufacturer for replacement parts.

My skate gear stinks!
Your protective gear and skate liners can be washed. Place them in a pillow case and tie it securely.  Put it in your washer and then set them out to air dry.  Fabreeze is a Godsend! To help freshen them up after they have dried.  Don't put gear and liners in the dryer and do check the care instructions for special handling.