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The most common misconception about Skateboarding is that, once you buy the board, you'll never have to give it special attention. Not true! Though skateboards to require only minimal maintenance, not caring for your board can result in serious, needless injury.

It's important to take a quick glance at your board before skating, to ensure it's up to the challenge. Spend a few minutes checking for loose nuts and bolts, worn parts and cracked decks.

Even the best-built, most expensive boards on the market can have problems. Made mostly of wood ply pressed together and glued, traditional Maple decks frequently crack, splinter and break. Visible pressure cracks are not uncommon, nor are they cause for concern. Cracks that extend through multiple layers or those that separate the plys however, need to be replaced.

Pivot cups and rubber bushings can go out of whack at any time. A spill, bang or bump can wear down bushings or cups. Replacing bushings and pivots can make your old, tired trucks ride like new. To do this, remove the kingpin tension nut and work the old cushions off. Replace the metal retainer cups, if needed, and then put the new cushions on. When finished, take a moment to inspect the truck hangers and base plates for cracks, and replace if damaged.

A plastic bristle brush and water will clean dirty grip tape and extend its life. Remember, grip tape is almost impossible to remove and replace, so use only small amounts of water. Towel dry after cleaning and allow to dry thoroughly before using.

The parts that hold your trucks to the deck are known as truck mounting hardware. It's not uncommon for hardware to loosen from vibration. Truck mounting hardware should be checked frequently to ensure a safe ride. Tightening screws and bolts once a week is recommended.

Axle wheel lock nuts are responsible for holding your wheels onto the trucks. These should be checked before each skate and at least once during extended skating session. Axle nuts will wear out and loosen with repeated tightening and removal, so be sure to replace nuts and bolts that are worn or stripped.

The tiny metal balls that help your wheels spin are called bearings. You will know if you're having bearing problems. Old, worn bearings won't spin freely and will make little noises and squeaks. Know your bearings! Some bearings are not made to be taken apart and cleaned or replaced. Replace non-cleanable bearings with "freshies" or upgrade your bearings by purchasing ones that can be cleaned. If you have serviceable bearings, begin by removing them from the wheel, popping off the shields, and spraying them out with a solvent and lubricant. Once finished, you can put them back together immediately. Bearings should be cleaned and lubricated when they squeak, cause a rough ride or don't seem to operate normally. Bearings should be replaced when cleaning them no longer fixes a bad ride.

Skateboard wheels should always be smooth. Large chunks of missing urethane, flat spots or any other irregularities should be corrected as soon as possible. Bearings that pop out too easily could indicate that the wheel-bearing seat is damaged. This justifies replacement. Follow manufacturer instructions closely when replacing damaged wheels.

Maintaining is easy. Neglected boards are the most common cause of injury and accidents. Treat your board right, and it will treat you right!