Hey! Don’t Use That Screwdriver! | Popping Bearings Out
Picture a bearing graveyard with little silver rust en-coated bearings all laid to rest, all with little marks in their bearing shields where they suffered a tragic wound. What do all these bearings have in common, they have been attempted to be taken out of a wheel with a screwdriver and have suffered severe shield damage causing their demise. If you have ever tried to take a bearing out of an inline wheel you can understand and if you have not but may at some point this is also for you. With a couple of pointers and a handy dandy tool you can take the headache out of popping bearings out and make it a very easy rewarding process. Working in a shop and handling literally hundreds of inline skates and repairs a year I was able to pick up a few tricks along the way, trust me I've sent some bearings to the graveyard in my youth.
The main trick is not really a trick at all, it's all about buying the right tool. Using a bearing popping tool that is specific shaves time off and will not do any harm to the bearing at all. These tools are specifically engineered to push the bearing out even when the bearing has been in the wheel for a decent amount of time. It is possible as in many cases to find a tool that will "work" but you run the risk of damaging the bearing deeming it non-functional. These tools are inexpensive and easy to use and there are several makes from Rollerblade, Sonic, and others.
A few actual tricks that I have picked up over the years would be to definitely keep a towel handy to rub excess dirt off the bearing as you remove them, if your not already planning on cleaning them thoroughly. Doing this every time you take the wheel out of the skate you will prolong the life of the bearing and keep it smooth. Another great trick of the trade is to keep a plate, Frisbee or similar handy to put your screws, bolts and extra parts in to make sure that everything is there when you go to put your skate back together. There is no worse feeling then getting 90% of a skate together when you run 100% out of hardware. Hopefully these tricks help you with your inline skate maintenance and we would love to hear from you if you have any tricks up your sleeve, leave a comment. Until next skate, keep your bearings out of the graveyard!