Common Problems with Electric Skateboards & How to Fix Them

Electric skateboards have more components than the traditional design. That’s why they have extra functions that most skaters find exciting. However, this can also trigger the possibility that more technical issues might happen.

Even the top electric skateboards right now can’t completely avoid typical problems like short-lived batteries, speed wobbles, grinding brakes, noisy bearings, extremely low speeds, and squeaky trucks.

That’s because there are external factors that can easily affect different parts of a high-quality e-skate. Fortunately, each possible issue with electric skateboards has a solution.

Common Electric Skateboard Problems & Their Solutions

Battery Draining Quickly

Avoid slopes

If the skater always travels on hills or slopes, the battery can transmit too much energy into the necessary components just to stop the wheels from rolling down during uphill rides. The best solutions are to use brakes that can charge the electric skateboard’s battery when going downhill and to find another road or path to the destination with flatter surfaces.

Move with the wind

Sometimes, flat roads aren’t a guarantee for longer battery life. If the skater moves toward the opposite direction of strong winds, the speed goes lower and the system works harder to accelerate.

Change riding style

Constant acceleration and braking during normal weather can still drain the battery fast due to the higher amount of energy needed for both processes. The skater needs to maintain a different riding style to avoid that. Gradual acceleration also works since sudden boosts can overwork batteries.

Travel on smoother surfaces

Since friction is a significant factor as well, avoid rough surfaces like sandy areas to prevent the motor from requiring more power. This saves the battery from working harder than necessary.

Choose a battery according to the skater’s weight

The weight of the rider can force the motor to need extra power as well. Skaters must double-check if the battery is good enough for their weight. A higher energy capacity is required for heavier skaters.

Generally, the ideal battery for an electric skateboard should have a high energy capacity. That’s why most skaters replace the default battery of their e-skates if they think that the milliampere-hour (mAh) or ampere-hour (Ah) is too low for their skating needs.

A new battery is also highly recommended if it’s made of lithium-polymer, not lithium-ion. Lithium iron phosphate is the best, but it’s too expensive and rare. The fact remains that lithium-ion is the most popular for modern e-skate batteries because of its higher capacity and longer cycle.

Skip electric skateboarding during winter

The chemical reactions of any kind of battery can only produce more electric current efficiently in warmer temperatures. There’s not much a skater can do to prolong the battery performance of an electric skateboard for each ride once the winter season starts.

Speed Wobble

Adjust the trucks

The swaying motions of electric skateboards usually come from the wheels. They don’t affect the deck at first, but acceleration can make the entire board wobble.

The trucks of an electric skateboard connect the deck and the wheels in the most stable way possible. However, if they’re loose, higher speeds can make them swing. This contributes to speed wobble.

And, worse, if the rear truck is looser than the front one, the back part might turn excessively and then cause an accident. The skater might fall off, which can result in major injuries. The solution is to make the rear truck tighter or as tight as the one in the front.

Adjusting trucks is quite easy. A kingpin bolt should be tightened by turning a wrench clockwise. It’s specifically a large bolt located in the middle of the trucks.

How tight should the trucks be? The skater can gradually adjust the bolt by quarter. Then, small jumps must be done on the deck to test the electric skateboard[How to Test An Electric Skateboard] without turning it on. Continuous adjustments should be applied until the feel becomes more comfortable.

Put more weight on the front

A tighter rear truck can be ineffective sometimes. If the skater keeps on standing on the rear end, the bushings can still make the back truck turn more than the front one. An e-skate rider must avoid putting too much weight onto the rear. Most advanced skaters don’t do this at all, but a lot of beginners have no idea. The ideal position is to put one foot in the front while the other is somewhere around the middle part, not further backward.

Grinding Brake

Set the braking percentage

The braking percentage of an electric skateboard can be adjusted through remote control nowadays. Full performance can lead to noisy brakes. Many skaters choose to ride with only 70% or less of the braking system.

Tighten the belt

A loose drive belt of an e-skate can cause noisy skips. That’s why it’s better to make it tighter most of the time.

The cap or cover of the motor must be removed to access the electric skateboard’s drive belt. The product’s instruction manual more likely includes the exact procedure for that.

There’s also a special tool specifically designed for drive belt adjustments to avoid confusion. However, some skaters prefer to adjust them by hand literally.

The reason for that is the disadvantage of using belts that are too tight. Belts that are tighter than necessary wear out fast. They can even damage the bearings of e-skate motors. Adjustments without a tool can prevent excessively tight belts since manual pulling has a limit due to the limitations of an average human’s force.

Adjusting drive belts by hand is also easier to do gradually. Step-by-step changes  can help the skater find the perfect level of tightness for personal preferences.

Whether the adjustment is done with or without a tool, the bolts must be tight enough to maintain a fixed mount.

Install a hub motor

A skater can eliminate the possibility of drive belt problems by using a hub motor instead. That type of motor doesn’t use belts since it’s directly connected to the wheels.

Hub motors are known to be much quieter than belt-driven systems. As a plus, their top speed is usually higher. They’re also more lightweight and requiring less maintenance.

But, why are belt-driven motors still popular these days? That’s because hub motors have minimal torque due to the lack of a gear drive.

Hub motors are also inconvenient whenever it’s necessary to replace the wheels. They can overheat as well because of limited airflow and their urethane sleeves that can trap heat.

Noisy Bearings

Lubricate the bearings

Bearings are highly important components for the wheels despite their tiny size. They’re the ones that can make any e-skate wheel roll flawlessly no matter the speed.

Those small components need to be lubricated frequently, though. If not, they can produce loud clicks endlessly.

There’s an appropriate type of lubricant for electric skateboard bearings. White lithium grease is the best because it won’t damage rubber or any other similar material.

Remember that the wheels need to be removed first before the bearings can be lubricated easily. Small amounts of the said lubricant are enough to keep the bearings quiet.

Adjust the tightness of the nut

The nut close to the spacer and the bearing itself might be the problem. It should neither be too tight nor too loose. Socket wrenches and skate keys are the tools that can be used for adjusting bearing nuts.

The first step is to make the nut of the axle looser until the wheel can be moved forward and backward. Then, little turns should be done from time to time until the tightness of the bearing is suitable for the electric skateboard.

Replace damaged seals

Bearings with broken seals can produce annoying sounds. That’s why they need to be replaced immediately. It’s also a good idea to maintain a regular inspection just in case the seals start to crack a little.

Too Slow

Check the battery

Any damage to the battery of an electric skateboard can affect speed. If an e-skate doesn’t have a “Slow” mode or setting, then the battery is the first possible cause of an excessively slow board.

Use higher voltage

The pressure in an electric skateboard battery that makes the current flow is called the voltage. Higher voltage means a better flow of charged electrons.

However, the voltage must match the number of cells as well. The cell quantity is indicated before the letter S. The 6S, 10S, and 12S batteries usually have 21.6, 36, and 43.2 volts respectively.

Fix wiring mistakes

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to consult a professional or a DIY expert. Some electric skateboards, especially the cheaper ones, have quality control issues that affect wiring. Misplaced wires can hinder the system from performing properly, including basic functions like acceleration.

Ride with a belt-driven motor

Electric skateboard motors that use drive belts are designed to work with more revolutions per minute (RPM). Hub motors have limitations that can directly affect the skater’s performance, although they can be considered safer and more user-friendly.

Sounds from the Trucks

Tighten or loosen the trucks

One of the solutions to the speed wobble problem is similar to what some squeaky trucks might need to stay quiet. The skater can make some adjustments to prevent unnecessary noise. The option to tighten or loosen a truck depends on personal riding style.

Tighter trucks can stop the squeaking. However, the adjustment should be more balanced if the skater is still learning how to control sudden turns. If the truck is too tight, it can be difficult to turn while the skateboard is moving too fast.

Reduce friction in the plastic insert

Surprisingly, the more common cause of squeaky trucks is a dry pivot cup. That plastic component has a tough structure to securely support the hanger. But, it can squeak once friction occurs.

According to expert tips from the Motion Boardshop, wax or bar soap is the safest lubricant for pivot cups. If not wax, the surface of the soap can be scraped to produce solid bits.

Once the opening of the pivot cup is completely exposed, apply wax or soap all over with a finger. Avoid using liquid soap to prevent sticky residues. Bar soap will always be better since its properties can stay the same for a long time.

As a plus, aside from the end of squeaky trucks, reduced friction can help the skater turn smoothly.

When to Hire a Repair Service

There’s nothing wrong with letting the pros handle any problem in an electric skateboard even if the solution is easy to understand. Skaters who aren’t used to DIY work are encouraged to let a repair service solve even the littlest issue to lower the risk of mistakes. They need to spend some money, but that’s better than worsening the problem.

Repair services can also identify the specific problem despite vague signs. If an electric skateboard completely malfunctions without warning, it’s almost impossible for a novice skater to spot where the issue comes from. However, a repair service knows exactly what to do because of its systematic approach.

Meanwhile, some skaters prefer to let the manufacturer handle the problem. The best thing about this is that the solution is going to be foolproof since the manufacturer knows everything about its products.

The downside? The waiting time can go on for several weeks, especially if the owner of the electric skateboard has to ship it to another city, state, or country.

Original manufacturers also don’t accept fake products. Additionally, the trustworthiness of many Chinese electric skateboard manufacturers[Are Chinese Electric Skateboard Manufacturers Trustworthy] isn’t enough  to maintain reliable customer service.

One of the safest ways to buy cheap e-skates from Chinese manufacturers is by using the Amazon platform. A lot of sellers there allow full refunds in case of damages.