Updated: Sep 24, 2021
Stick to a roller skate maintenance schedule to prevent any problems before they affect you. Use this checklist as a starting point, and adjust as needed for your frequency and intensity of skating.
Every time you skate:
BEFORE YOU SKATE
Check toe stops are tight and you can't turn them with your hand. If they are turning with your hand, tighten them with the appropriate tools.If you don't tighten them, they can fall out while you are skating and you can get hurt.
Check your wheel axle nuts are tight and cannot be turned with your hand. If they can turn with your hand, it's time to replace them. The nyloc inside the axle nut can degrade over time by taking them on and off of your trucks to replace/ switch out wheels and such. If you don't change them out, your wheels can fly off when you are skating and you can get hurt. ALWAYS have an extra set of axle nuts on hand in case!
Make sure your mounting hardware that attaches your skates is tight and cannot be turned with your hand. If they can turn with your hand, it's time to replace the nuts. See axle nuts above. You can either do this yourself at home or bring your skates into your local skate shop to have their experienced staff help you.
Make sure your laces are not ripped and ready to snap anywhere. Replace as worn down.
Make sure your trucks are tight/ loose enough to your liking and that the bushings are in good order. Look for cracks in the urethane, if cracked, take them to your local skate shop to replace, or you can do this at home if you know how to dissasemble the truck system. It is always good to have an extra set of bushings on hand in case.
Check that the pivot cups are not cracked or missing. If they are, take them to your local skate shop to have replaced, or have an extra set on hand and do it at home if you know how to dissasemble the truck system.
AFTER YOU SKATE:
Unlace and open up the boot tongue to let your skates dry out. DO NOT place them in front of a fireplace, heat radiator or attempt to dry them with a blowdryer - doing this can warp the skate boot.
Tighten/switch/ adjust toe stops. Your toe stops will typically wear more on one boot than the other based on how you prefer to stop. You can also rotate and tighten the toe stop so that more of the rubber is reaching the ground. If the rubber is worn down, or worse, you can see the metal stem, it's time to get new ones!
Check wheel axle nuts to make sure they are tight enough and can't turn with your hand.
Vinyl boots: Wipe down your boots, wheels and plates with a soft, damp cloth
Suede boots: You can purchase suede cleaners from your local pharmacy or shoe store. Read instructions carefully
Wipe your plates down with cleaning wipes such as "Hercules for Hands"
Take wheels off and wipe out and around the tops of your bearing shields carefully to remove extra dirt and debris. Replace on skate accordingly.
Every 3-5 weeks:
Rotate your wheels Criss Cross, front to back
Remove and clean and lubricate your bearings. See "Clean Your Bearings" tutorial