Unlike a street board that coasts on a paved road, an all-terrain board travels on dirt roads and uneven terrain, accumulating dirt and debris that, if left unchecked, will adversely affect the performance of the board and increase the risk levels every time you ride. Every rider needs to know how to effectively clean their board without exposing it to damage.
Cleaning is an integral part of and affects mountain board maintenance, so we can’t tackle one without the other. We’re sharing our efficient six-step cleaning process for off-road electric boards and some basic maintenance tips to help you keep your board in tiptop shape.
Keep reading to discover how easy it is to keep enjoying the services of your off-road board, regardless of the punishment it is subjected to on rough terrain.
- How To Clean All-Terrain Boards In 6-Easy Steps
- Maintenance Essentials for All-Terrain Boards
1. Secure Your Workspace
Whenever you can, you should set up to clean your all terrain skateboard outside the house. You never know what you might find under the board, and some of the gunk might be too rancid for an enclosed space. Make sure there is a flat surface to work on and sufficient room to move around freely as you proceed.
Ensure you have allocated containers or holders to keep your nuts and bolts while working on the board, so they don’t roll away and get lost; you will be removing the bearings, so there will be many small moving parts.
The space should be near a water source; a sink or a bucket of water should suffice.
2. Disassemble The Mountain Board
You must disassemble the all terrain electric skateboard for two purposes: to keep water-sensitive parts like motors, battery packs, and other electrical components away from the water and extend your reach to areas not accessible when the board is intact.
- Unscrew nuts that secure the deck on the base plate and separate the deck from the truck. The deck shouldn’t be exposed to water for extended periods, so you will keep it aside as you work.
- Loosen the wheel by unscrewing the bolts that fasten it to the axle. Use the edge of the axle as a crowbar to pry the bearings out from the pneumatic wheels. Repeat this for all four wheels.
- Examine the state of the bearings to establish whether they need cleaning before placing them in a separate container, away from the water, which may cause corrosion.
- If you feel like the bearings need cleaning, pour Isopropyl alcohol, nail polish, or any other rubbing alcohol in the container until it covers all the bearings and let it sit for about an hour.
3. Clean The All-Terrain Wheels
- Soak the wheels (without their bearings) in soapy water until the gunk is loose and easy to remove. This is where your sink or bucket comes in handy.
- Using a rag or paper towel, rub the insides of the wheels thoroughly as larger wheels like those on a board meant for difficult terrains are known to secretly harbor a lot of dirt. which can easily get to the bearings.
- Scrap the gunk off the outside of the wheel using a wire brush or old toothbrush, making sure to get in between the tracks.
- Rinse the soap thoroughly once the road wheels are squeaky clean; you don’t want residual chemicals from the soap reacting with the tire or making it sticky post washing.
- Ensure the wheels dry out completely before reassembling the mountainboard; residual water might make your deck soggy, bearings rusty, interfere with the smoothness of your ride, and attract more dirt before you can even reassemble the board.
4. Clean The Bearings
Clean bearings greatly improve your all-terrain board riding experience; it becomes smoother and faster, and the efficiency enables you to ride longer distances with minimal effort. If you had determined they needed cleaning, this is the right time to do it.
- Use a small razor blade or knife to open up the bearing shield, exposing the balls inside. (You can’t open some bearings with metal shields, and you will have to replace them once debris gets lodged in them.)
- Swish and swirl the opened bearings and their shields in the rubbing alcohol, which should have started to change color. Keep at it while removing individual bearings to take a closer look and establish if all the gunk is out.
- Once the bearings are clean, remove them from the rubbing alcohol and dry them with paper towels to get the alcohol out.
- Add lubricant to the bearings before sealing them up again. The lubricant should be light, so it doesn’t attract more dirt. (Speed cream comes highly recommended.)
5. Clean The Deck
There are many approaches to cleaning the deck of all terrain skateboards. Whichever you opt for, keep in mind the deck is not supposed to be exposed to water for extended periods. The grip tape will lose its adhesion, the truck underneath might develop rust, and the soggy plywood is easily damaged, leading to anything but a smooth ride.
You can scrub the deck with a soft wire brush whose bristles are strong enough to dislodge gunk but not so sharp that they will tear the grip tape on the deck. Go for a small brush to target the problem points precisely.
- Work from one end of the deck to the other, covering one section at a time so that the entire deck is covered. Don’t press the brush too hard against the deck, as this might tear the grip tape or cause the adhesive to come off.
- Sweep the dirt with your hand towards the direction that hasn’t been brushed.
- Rub grip gum on the grip tape to remove any residual dust.
You can opt to use soapy water if the dirt is too stubborn to be simply brushed off. Just remember that you should never submerge the board in the water. You will still need the soft wire brush or an old toothbrush to execute this.
- Mix the water and dishwashing soap or window cleaner in a bowl (some creative riders even add a bit of lemon to give it a clean after-scent)
- Dip the brush in the soapy mixture and scrub in sections from one end to another as previously described
- Rinse the brush in the solution every time it gets dirty and keep scrubbing until the entire deck is clean
- Press and pat a dry cloth against the deck to dry it. Ensure the wooden bit of the deck is also dry. Let it dry completely before riding; a wet board is unstable and unsafe.
- Rub grip gum on the surface to get rid of any residual dirt after the deck is dry
6. Clean The Hardware
You will be undoing a lot of good work if you fix clean wheels on dirty axles using dirty bolts. Once all the critical components are clean, the nuts, bolts, truck body, and other fixtures, like risers, should also be cleaned.
- Use baby wipes or a damp paper towel to clean the truck’s axle along with the nuts and bolts.
- Apply the remaining rubbing alcohol and the wire brush or toothbrush to scrub off any hint of rust you may encounter.
Your mountain board should now be ready for reassembly. Start by pushing the bearings back into place, then fasten the wheels back on the axle with the bearings intact. Roll the wheels to confirm if the system is now working smoothly, then reattach the deck.
With the right care, your all-terrain mountain boards will shred through unimaginable obstacles for hundreds of miles, enabling you to execute tricky moves easily with minimal demands. Below are some of their basic maintenance needs that you should incorporate into your routine to optimize your riding experience.
Inspect the entire suspension system every time you come back from riding and before you go out to ride, including the trucks, wheels, and the hardware used to hold the board together. The suspension faces a lot of pressure, vibrations, high speed, friction, braking, and heat. It may slowly come undone if you don’t pay close attention.
- Shake the board along the tire axis to establish whether everything is securely in place and feel the firmness.
- Check whether the wheels and trucks are well aligned and if they align with the board in general
- Tighten all screws that may be loose and ensure the wheels are rolling smoothly.
Cleaning the deck not only lengthens its life but also lets you perform tricks or plays confidently. There are multiple ways of cleaning the deck, as we have already seen, and your choice should be determined by how dirty it is.
A dirty deck is challenging to ride as it lacks sufficient grip for your shoes. It gets stuffed with dirt and mud each time you ride, which is more pronounced off-road where you will probably be taking your all-terrain board.
The grip tape will get worn down and dirty, and the all-terrain electric skateboard will look bad. The traction is lost, not because of dirt particles but because the worn-out tape will have lost its grainy texture. The smooth surface cannot provide the resistance you need for stability and control, and you should change the grip tape.
The entire process is straightforward and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Remove the existing grip tape from the all terrain electric skateboard first before the replacement is applied instead of layering them on top of each other.
Clean the wheels regularly because the dirt is close to the sensitive bearings, and it’s bound to pick up a lot from riding on rough roads. Some of the dirt is easy to notice and get rid of; if they caught gum, dog poop, mud, grease, or other visible grime, you can see it and wipe it off even on the trail. Sometimes you will know your wheels need cleaning from the wobbles and thuds which make the ride uncomfortable. The wheels can also get all soft and oily, and you will feel like you’re losing your grip on the ground, which is especially dangerous on dirt roads or difficult terrains.
Every once in a while, you should also remove and clean the wheel bearings, the inevitable accumulation of dirt and debris might cause them to get stuck, stalling the all-terrain board in the middle of the trail. The cleaner they are kept, the longer they will serve.
The wheels on all-terrain boards are not efficient once they wear out. This is inevitable despite the care and maintenance they receive because their environment is treacherous.
Worn-out threads cannot grip loose surfaces, and their grooves are no longer sufficient to channel water away so that the tires can have a firm connection with the ground. Sometimes they develop flat spots from impact with hard rocks or sharp objects on the ground. The only remedy at this point is to look for the next set of quality all-terrain wheels for your board.
Sometimes you will find that the board is unstable, some of the wheels are stuck, or you are feeling some extra resistance that may or may not be accompanied by a scraping sound. This might be an indicator that the wheel bearings are not functioning optimally. Many times, you can fix this by simply cleaning and lubricating the bearings.
Unfortunately, you can’t clean some bearings, and it could be that the bearings are bust and need replacement. Ensure your replacement bearings are compatible with your wheels and that you get serviceable ones, so you can extend their utility.
These elements include all forms of water, wind, and exposure to sunlight. Water might damage the deck by loosening the grip tape glue, causing the plywood to rot, and making it weaker. It also leads to rust in the hardware and wheel bearings which hampers their performance. Sunlight and UV rays, on the other hand, cause discoloration, and the heat might damage the plywood. The wind might move the board when you are not prepared, leading to accidental kinks and damages that you can avoid.
Having an all-terrain board doesn’t mean the rider should dive head-on into all forms of grime. Whenever it’s possible, steer clear of those puddles, sandpits, and oil grease spots. Some off road electric skateboards might be rated as water-resistant, but you can’t control other damage it is exposed to on rough terrain, which might make it susceptible to water damage.
All-terrain electric skateboards have unique maintenance requirements courtesy of the electric system, including:
- Store them away from water at all times because electricity doesn’t pair well with water.
- Charge them using their manufacturer-provided or recommended chargers only and do it in a cool place where there is no chance of water getting to the charger.
- Let the battery charge fully and unplug it once that is done because both overcharging and undercharging reduce its lifespan.
- Charge the battery periodically even when you are not riding the board regularly to prevent loss of battery power.