Electric Longboard Maintenance & Inspections
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 electric longboard 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.
Electric Longboard Inspection Routine
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 kilometres 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.
Some wheels require more maintenance and attention than others – of course, I’m talking about inflatable (pneumatic) wheels. With pneumatic wheels, you’ll have to check for flats and check the tire pressure before your ride. Different pneumatic wheels require different PSI, so check the side of your tire to see how much air is required and fill it up with a bike pump or a pump at the gas station.
Low air in the wheels will affect your board’s performance and if you want it to perform optimally, then you’ll need to keep the tire pressure on point. Maybe you notice something off in your ride? This could be a flat tire. Check for flats and if you have one, you’ll need to replace the tube – you can view how to change tubes on our 150mm – 155mm wheels here. For changing the tubes on our mountainboard, you can visit Shaboardz YouTube channel.
Although pneumatic wheels require a little more maintenance, they provide the smoothest ride possible for electric skateboards. There’s no ride smoother than a ride on pneumatic wheels and flats are not a common occurrence, so don’t let the previous information dissuade you from riding with pneumatics.
The rubber on pneumatics can wear, so check the tread pattern to see if they’re too worn down to ride on. A good way to conserve some life out of your tires is to rotate the wheels / switch them around to the other side of the board. You may notice that some tires are worn more than others – this could be because the wheels at the back are producing the power and will wear faster. Or you could notice that one side of tires is worn more than others – this could be because your tend to turn and carve to that side more.
Are your tires worn past the point of salvaging? If they’re bald, then they’re going to be slick in wet conditions and could cause you to slide or wipe-out. If you think your tires are becoming a safety hazard, then you can purchase individual wheels for Summit XT or for MTN.
Airless electric skateboard wheels require less maintenance, as they don’t have tubes that can go flat and need to be replaced. You can still check for wear in your airless wheels and the level of grip you’re feeling during your ride may be a good indication of how they’re doing and if a replacement is soon needed. Airless wheel do not tend to wear quickly and you’ll be able to get years out of them.
Battery best practices
The battery is the most expensive part in your electric longboard – now that I have your attention, let’s go over the best practices.
- Make sure the battery is fully charged before your first ride
- When storing the board for a long period of time – like winter time – you’ll want to store the battery at a 50% charge level. You’ll want to plug it in to charge for a half hour to hour, every month, during the extended storage period.
- Don’t worry – you can charge your board anytime! Whether the battery is fully drained, or not, plug it in and charge it up!
- Riding in rain, through puddles and in wet conditions is a no-no. Although you may get away with it for a while, there’s eventually going to be some water damage and this usually result in having to replace the battery. Summit XT is sealed up tight and you’ll be able to ride this board in wet conditions with out experiencing water damage.
Check the power of your battery and make sure it’s fully charged and hasn’t lost its charge. If it’s not fully charged, then you could be dealing with a broken battery charger or a defective battery.
Belt Check – Replacement
Have you noticed a decrease in how your belt-drive board responds when you accelerate on the toggle? This could be a worn out belt. Replacing a belt and adjusting the belt tightness could make a big difference in how your board performs. Both acceleration and braking can be impacted by a new belt or adjusting the tightness.
Changing a belt is a fairly straight-forward process and looks pretty much the same, whether you’re performing the task on a longboard or a mountainboard.
It’s always good to carry some extra belts and a t-tool on your ride, so your can perform a quick and easy belt change, if one breaks. Shaboardz has a huge selection of belts available for all electric skateboards.
The good thing about hub and direct drive electric skateboard is that they don’t have belts, so there’s no need to maintain them or change them. Although belts don’t break often, it’s understandable to not want to perform any maintenance at all on your board – in this case, a hub or direct drive might be best for you!
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 immediately, before riding your electric longboard.
When viewing the outer edges of your longboard deck, you’ll see the layers of wood that make up the deck – if you have a crack or split going through all of these layers, then its time to replace it!
Have your noticed extra give in your deck or more bounce than normal? This could be the result of a broken deck. If something seems off, you can flip the deck upside down and view underneath to see if your are any cracks. You can also remove the grip tape to see if there are any cracks forming on top of the deck.
If it’s just a hairline crack that isn’t affecting your ride much, then you can get away with riding on that deck for a little while longer, as there are 8-10 layers of wood on your deck and if just one layer is fractured then the other layers will keep the deck together – they’re strong!
If you’re worried the deck is going to completely break on your ride, then you can replace the deck. Replacing the deck isn’t a small job – it will take a couple of hours. You can find Shaboardz full line-up of decks for all of their boards, here.
If you have a Summit XT with a carbon fiber deck, we don’t think you’re going to have to worry about checking for cracks or breaking your deck, as they’re nearly indestructible. Check out there test Shaboardz performed on their Summit XT model with carbon deck.
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.
This is especially true for double kingpin trucks (DKP) as these trucks have a higher defective rate than traditional kingpin trucks (TKP). If something just doesn’t feel right on your ride – stop and take a look at your DKP trucks and see what’s happening under there – it could save a wipeout.
Something else you’ll want to take notice of when checking your trucks is how tight they are. If you’re travelling 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. Check out the video where Ryan, from Shaboardz explains this more in-depth and how different trucks provide different ride feel.
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 want to carve and make some tight turns, but not if you’re accelerating to high speeds.
You’ll have a tighter 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 electric longboards 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.
On double kingpin trucks, you’ll want to tighten the inner kingpin with an adjustable wrench, as it’s hard to get the t-tool in there when the bolt becomes tighter.
Screws and nuts
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 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, 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.
If the board is powering on, then 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. This includes checking the brake and/or reverse modes.
Some electric longboards may have more components such as suspension, lights, or other components. You’ll want to inspect the components and make sure all these added parts are functioning prior to riding your electric longboard.
Once you make sure all your other parts are good to go, feel free to ride.
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).
A good way to test the health of your bearing is by flipping the board upside down and free-spinning the wheel with your hand, to see if it spins for an extended period of time, or does it stop spinning almost instantly? If it stop spinning fairly quickly, time for new bearings.
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.
Most e-skate bearing have an inner diameter of 8mm, so make sure you get the proper size before purchasing. Some boards, like mountainboards have a 10mm inner diameter on the wheels used, so you’ll need ensure you’re picking up the right bearings.
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 has flat roads.
Even the way you accelerate or brake can shorten a belt’s lifespan. Luckily, Shaboardz carries a variety of different-sized belts and replacement parts.
Cleaning Your Board
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.
Grip Tape Maintenance
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 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