You bought or built an electric skateboard or longboard and you’re ready to ride, but are you actually ready to ride? There is a lot you learn from the experience of riding an electric board. One of the things you learn quite early is the importance of proper maintenance and inspections.
Electric longboard maintenance can vary from rider to rider and board to board. For example, one board may be all-terrain that will allow it to go “off-road” and through dirt or mud. This board’s maintenance may require more cleaning and wiping than a street-based electric longboard. Let’s break down the things you’ll need to do to help your electric longboard last and make your riding experiences full of smiles.
First Things, First!
The inspection of an electric longboard begins before going for a ride. It is also a step many riders skip over time, which is a huge mistake. I suggest it become a practice every e-board owner performs before taking their board out. In fact, you should do this step more often as you use your electric longboard more frequently. This is a simple step and I consider it the most important. Inspect your electric longboard before every ride.
One key reason why you’ll want to do this is to prevent an unexpected problem while riding. I’ve personally experienced a life-saving moment by checking my electric longboard prior to riding it. I’ve also had issues by not doing this check before a ride, I ended up having to walk a few kilometers while carrying my electric longboard instead of cruising on it.
What are you looking for when inspecting your electric skateboard or longboard? It’s a fairly straightforward process but to make sure you aren’t skipping anything you’ll want to consider that each part on your board needs to be independently checked. Starting with the deck. You’ll want to look for any cracks or splits on your deck that might cause it to break or split while riding. Some minor hairline cracks can be okay, but anything that seems to be showing a complete separation should be fixed before riding your electric longboard. This may be as simple as using wood filler, glue, and sandpaper; or you may need to go as far as a deck replacement.
Next up, you’ll want to check the trucks. This is where my inspection check saved me from a potentially bad fall. Trucks (regardless of their quality) can bend, flex, and crack over time. You will want to wipe your trucks down and look for any hairline cracks that are starting to form. If you spot any of these I suggest you stop riding the board right away and replace the truck(s). The last thing you want is for your truck to bend or snap while you’re riding. This may be uncommon, but it does happen and has happened to many riders. Make sure you are checking your trucks regularly and keeping them clean so you can spot those hairline cracks if they do show up. Something else you’ll want to take notice of when checking your trucks is how tight they are. If you’re traveling at high speeds; you’ll want the trucks to be pretty tight to avoid getting stuck in a speed wobble and most likely wiping out. I’ve had to learn my lesson the hard way and have some scars to show from keeping my trucks loose when testing out the speed on my electric skateboard. Keeping the trucks loose is fine if you’re going on a chill ride around town and not planning on accelerating to high speeds. You’ll have a larger turning radius with loose trucks and you’ll be able to turn easier. However, if you’re planning on opening it up and seeing what kind of speeds your board can hit, you’ll want to tighten those trucks up. Most e-boards come with a T-tool that will have the proper fitting to tighten the nut on your trucks before you head out for your ride.
From there you can take a look at your wheels, nuts, and any other screws and bolts on your electric longboard. For screws, you will want to make sure that none of them are coming loose and that they aren’t stripped or on the verge of being stripped. A stripped screw will be a pain in the butt to remove, but there is one method of removal that can work. Using an elastic band between the screw’s stripped portion and the screwdriver can help fill the gap and provide leverage to remove the screw. If you see any parts that are stripping you will want to remove them right away, especially if they are screws and bolts that you regularly remove and tighten. For the wheels, you’ll want to wipe down both the inner and outer parts of the wheels. Take a close look and make sure that the wheel is also showing no signs of cracks as well as still has a nice-sized contact patch. You do not want to be riding wheels that are about to break apart from lack of tread or due to a crack that has occurred over time with use.
Like the screws, the nuts that hold the wheels in place will need to be checked. Sometimes these nuts can loosen causing them to slip off while you are riding your electric longboard. You don’t want these nuts to be overly tight but you also don’t want them to screw off the edges of the trucks either, so make sure you find the right tension for these parts. It may take you a few times to figure out what adjustment works best on your board.
The last thing you will test involves everything power-related. This includes your battery, motor(s), remote, and any other accessories such as lights. Turn your board on and flip it upside down so the wheels are not touching the ground. Now you’ll want to check your motor cables. Make sure the cables are clean, plugged in, and that there is no visible damage to the motors or the motor cables. Now you will turn on the electric longboard and we will be coming back to the motors right after we look at the battery and remote.
Check the power of your battery and make sure it is at the right power level and hasn’t lost its charge. From there turn on your remote and check it for power as well. Now you’ll want to test your remote connection and confirm that your motors are functioning by providing power to the board in every mode available for your electric longboard. This includes checking the brake and/or reverse modes. Some electric longboards may have more components such as suspension, lights, and battery case, or other accessories. You’ll want to check and make sure all these added parts are functioning and are as clean as possible prior to riding your electric longboard. Once you make sure all your other parts are good to go, feel free to ride.
Electric Longboard Maintenance
Now let’s discuss the maintenance of your board when you aren’t riding. A few parts will need your attention in the long term as opposed to being checked regularly. One of those parts is your bearings. Since most bearings aren’t accessible during your regular health check, you will want to inspect them every time you do a deep clean on your board or change your wheels and/or belt (for belt-driven electric longboards).
Most new riders are not aware that bearings eventually break or pop which can be a bummer when it happens while you’re riding. As such, you’ll want to keep those bearings clean in order to help their lifespan. I also suggest keeping a backup set of bearings on you while riding if your bearings are fairly old and used regularly. Keep in mind that most bearings should carry a long lifespan but eventually and inevitably they will break apart.
When swapping wheels or cleaning the bearings you’ll want to also check your belts (if you have a belt-drive board). Depending on the belt type and quality they may last a few weeks or they could last a few months or even longer. Always keep a spare set while riding and I can say from experience if you live in an area that has rough terrain or a lot of hills you will stress your belts more than someone who lives in an area that is mainly pristine and flat roads. Even the way you accelerate or brake can shorten a belt’s lifespan. Luckily, Shaboardz carries a variety of different-sized belts, including all of the sizes that are used on their boards. Here’s a link for the belts used on the MTN model:
https://www.shaboardz.ca/product/electric-mountain-board-replacement-belt/. You can find more belts and replacement parts on this page: https://www.shaboardz.ca/parts/
I also try to do a complete wipe-down of my board after every ride. I start with a dry wipe and just wipe down the board quickly. I will then use an electronics duster or air canister to blow off any dust or dirt in hard-to-reach areas on the electric longboard. From there I will either use a damp cloth or all-purpose cleaner (depending on your board) to wipe down the deck and the outer edges of the wheels. Every so often I will also apply some added spray on the deck itself which is meant to keep the coating on the underside of your electric longboard’s deck looking fresh and preventing any dirt or gunk from staining your board permanently.
Your grip tape can be the most challenging part of your board to clean. It’s often scuffed up, worn out, stained, and dirty. One thing that can help out with that problem is grip gum. It’s meant to rub off and stick to the grime on your deck, providing a nice refresh. Another thing I like to do is to use the air can or electronics duster on the grip tape as well. This is less effective but does get some of the dirt off the electric longboard’s grip tape. If your grip tape is to the point where nothing you do will clean it off and you aren’t willing to swap for fresh grip tape then you can consider getting creative and drawing on your electric longboard’s deck. I’ve seen various cool designs from talented electric longboard riders around the world. Some do small designs to cover up blemishes or worn spaces on their grip tape and others do edge to edge designs that span the entire board. This not only covers your stained and worn grip tape, but also makes your board unique and makes it stand out.
These practical tips will help you maintain your electric skateboard or longboard and extend its shelf life. Some of them even help you prevent injuries from happening. I have been riding my board since 2016 and I can gladly say that all of the above have helped me at some point in time up to now. I highly recommend all electric longboard riders take these steps to help them stay safe and keep their board healthy. However, these are just my tips and tricks. Did I miss anything? Do you have a few things on your list that I should add? Comment on this post and let me know what you think!
Article by: Mahyar Saeedi