As a skateboarder, you love the sound of rolling wheels underneath your feet, but have you ever wondered why your skateboard makes so much noise?
From the clicking of the bearings to the screeching of the grip tape, all the sounds seem to blend together into a unique auditory experience. But what causes this overwhelming cacophony?
In this article, we’ll explore the physics behind skateboard acoustics and unveil the various factors contributing to the symphony of sound produced by a skateboard in motion.
By the end, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the science behind the sound and appreciate the musicality of your skateboard in a whole new way.
Why does my skateboard make so much noise?
A skateboard can make noise for several reasons, each of which can be attributed to specific components or factors. Here are some common reasons why your skateboard might make noise:
- Dirty or Dry Bearings: Over time, dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate in the bearings, causing them to become less smooth and emit noise. Lack of lubrication can also lead to dry bearings that produce squeaking or grinding sounds.
- Worn-Out Bearings: If your skateboard bearings are worn out or damaged, they may create noise as the rolling elements rub against each other or the bearing races.
- Uneven Wear: Uneven wear patterns on the wheels can result in noise as the skateboard rolls. Flat spots or irregularities in the shape of the wheels can cause vibrations and produce scraping or rattling sounds.
- Loose Bearings: Loose or improperly installed wheel bearings can create noise and vibrations as they move within the wheel hub.
- Loose Truck Bolts: Loose truck bolts can cause the trucks to rattle against the skateboard deck, resulting in noise during rides. It’s important to regularly check and tighten the bolts to maintain a secure and quiet setup.
- Worn Pivot Cups or Bushings: Over time, pivot cups and bushings in the skateboard trucks can wear down, leading to increased movement and noise when turning or carving.
- Loose Hardware: Loose screws or bolts on the skateboard deck can produce rattling or creaking noises as you ride. Regularly checking and tightening the hardware can minimize such sounds.
- Deck Material: Different deck materials, such as wood or composite, can have varying levels of flexibility and resonance. This can affect the sound produced when riding, with some materials being naturally noisier than others.
- Uneven Pavement or Terrain: Riding on rough or uneven surfaces, such as cracked pavement or gravel, can generate additional noise as the skateboard wheels encounter obstacles and vibrations are transmitted through the deck.
- Tricks and Impact: Performing tricks or landing with force can create noise due to the impact and compression of the skateboard components. Ollies, kickflips, and grinds involve sudden movements that can generate sounds.
- Infrequent Cleaning: Accumulation of dirt, debris, or dried-out lubricant affecting bearing performance and generating noise.
- Inadequate Lubrication: Bearings not properly lubricated leading to increased friction and noise.
- Neglected Hardware: Failure to regularly check and tighten bolts, screws, or nuts resulting in increased rattling or creaking sounds.
To reduce the noise of your skateboard, it’s crucial to address the specific cause. Regular cleaning, lubrication, and maintenance of bearings, wheels, and trucks can help minimize noise.
Ensuring proper installation and tightness of hardware and regularly inspecting your skateboard for wear and tear will contribute to a quieter ride.
How can I make my skateboard quieter?
To make your skateboard quieter, here are some steps you can take:
Clean and Lubricate Bearings:
- Remove the bearings from the wheels and clean them thoroughly using a skate bearing cleaning solution or isopropyl alcohol.
- Once clean, apply a few drops of skateboard-specific bearing lubricant to each bearing. Spin the bearings to distribute the lubricant evenly.
- Proper lubrication will reduce friction and noise, resulting in smoother and quieter rides.
Replace Worn-Out Bearings:
- If your bearings are excessively noisy or damaged, it might be time to replace them with new ones.
- Choose high-quality bearings that are known for their smooth operation and durability.
Tighten Loose Hardware:
- Regularly check the hardware on your skateboard, including the truck bolts and deck screws.
- Use a skate tool or wrench to tighten any loose bolts or screws to minimize rattling and vibrations.
Check and Replace Wheels:
- Examine your skateboard wheels for any signs of uneven wear or damage.
- If the wheels are worn down or have flat spots, consider replacing them with new ones to improve smoothness and reduce noise.
- Inspect the trucks for any loose parts or worn components.
- Tighten any loose truck bolts and replace worn pivot cups or bushings to reduce noise during turns and maneuvers.
Choose Softer Wheels:
- Softer skateboard wheels tend to generate less noise compared to harder wheels.
- Consider selecting wheels with a lower durometer rating (78A-87A) for a quieter ride, especially if you primarily skate on rough surfaces.
Ride on Smooth Surfaces:
- Riding on smooth pavement or skatepark surfaces can significantly reduce the noise produced by your skateboard.
- Avoid rough or uneven terrain whenever possible to minimize vibrations and rattling.
Maintain Proper Riding Technique:
- Pay attention to your riding technique and try to land tricks smoothly to reduce impact and noise.
- Practice controlling your board to avoid excessive scraping or dragging that can contribute to noise.
By following these steps, you can enjoy a smoother, quieter, and more enjoyable skateboarding experience.
Taking care of your skateboard is almost as important as taking care of any other piece of sports equipment.
Not only can taking proper steps to maintain it make for a better ride, but it will save time and money in the future by prolonging its life.
Skateboarding isn’t only an enjoyable activity, it can be educational too; learning how something works and how it needs to be taken apart and put back together requires problem-solving skills.
If you are noticing more noise than usual coming from your skateboard, take a look at your wheels or bearings because these are the most common causes.
Maintaining them can drastically reduce friction and restore quiet cruising on your board. Don’t forget the old adage – prevention is better than cure.
By properly lubricating your parts with quality products and keeping up with regular maintenance, you won’t ever have to worry about struggling with a noisy board again.
Why does my skateboard make so much noise?
The sound your skateboard makes is the result of several factors, including the type and quality of bearings, as well as the tightness of your trucks and the texture of your grip tape. All these elements combine to create a unique acoustic experience every time you ride.
Is it bad if my skateboard is squeaky?
No, not necessarily. As long as the parts of your skateboard are in good condition and properly maintained, it’s perfectly fine to ride a squeaky board. Just make sure to check your bearings and trucks periodically for wear and tear.
Should I oil my skateboard?
Yes, lubricating your skateboard is essential for keeping it running smoothly and quietly. A high-quality skate bearing oil will help reduce friction and noise while improving the performance of your wheels and bearings.
How often should I clean my skateboard?
It’s recommended to clean your board every couple of weeks or so if you’re an avid skater. However, for occasional riders, it should be cleaned at least once a month or as needed. Cleaning your skateboard regularly helps prevent dirt and grime buildup, which can lead to component damage and noisy rides.