Can You Fix a Cracked Bowling Ball?

A cracked bowling ball can really put a damper on your day – and your game. Even though bowling balls are designed to be thrown around, and are essentially strong and durable, there are certain things that can cause bowling balls to crack. 

But, bowlers, don’t despair—in most cases, a cracked bowling ball can be quite easily repaired. 


Why Do Bowling Balls Crack?

While bowling balls don’t crack often, they can crack from consistent play, or if they are kept in the wrong environment and used improperly. You should be caring for your ball with the proper oils and storing it in a safe place when you aren’t using it. 

Here are some common reasons why bowling balls crack:

Improper Storage

If you are going to be using your ball often, it’s likely that you’ll need to travel with it and take it from one bowling lane to the next. If that’s the case, it’s important to find the right storage bag. 

Storing the ball in the wrong type of case, or failing to store it in any case at all, can make bowling balls crack and overall more vulnerable to damage. Everyday wear and tear can take its toll over time, and if the ball rolls into another object or happens to be hit with something, it could crack. 

Always store your ball in a good quality bowling ball bag or case. These cases are designed to cradle the balls so they rest against something soft and prevent cracking. 

You should also be careful not to leave your bowling ball in the car or a basement in cold weather as this can cause the ball to contract and put it more at risk of damage.

Air Exposure

Just exposing your bowling ball to the air can lead to cracking. 

It takes a bowling ball a long time to cure completely. Even though they are cured before they leave the factory, they continue to cure over time. 

The more bowling balls are exposed to the air during this time, the more likely they are to crack. Keep your bowling ball insulated and away from the air as much as possible when you are not using it. 

If you don’t have the proper equipment to protect your ball from the air, you can put it in a plastic bag and secure it with a twist tie.

Storing It on One Side

Your bowling ball is weighty and when it is stored on one side, or in one position, that weight can cause strain or stress to that side and lead to a crack or damage. If you are storing your ball for a long period of time, it’s a good idea to turn it often. 

You can simply rotate the bowling ball in its case every few weeks to ensure there are no cracks or damage caused from it being in the same position for so long.

Improper Use

It goes without saying that a bowling ball should only be used for bowling. Using it for anything else could cause it to crack or break down quickly. 

If the bowling ball hits the ground or is exposed to different forces or surfaces, the outer shell could weaken and will eventually crack. 

Only use the ball for its intended purpose and when you notice you have a cracked bowling ball, stop using it until it can be repaired.

Drilling Process

Bowling balls have a dense core and during the drilling process, that core can be weakened. This can lead to small chips or large cracks. 

Sometimes, the whole drilling-hole process can be completely unpredictable and lead to damage that is hard to see at first but becomes more apparent over time. 

If you think your pro shop may have damaged your bowling ball, you should request that they repair it for you for free. Just take the ball into the shop and explain the problem. 

The good news is, most bowling alleys have a repair shop that will fix your bowling ball.

Repairing Cosmetic Damage

If your bowling ball crack is not too bad, you could repair it yourself. Most cosmetic damage and bowling ball cracks can be fixed with a bowling ball repair kit. 

You can buy these online or from some bowling alleys and sporting goods stores. 

If it has a very large or deep crack, it may be too damaged to fix at home. If so, it’s important to send it to someone who has experience repairing bowling balls. 

Here are some tips to help you repair your cracked bowling balls.

Inspect It

Before you start doing any work on the cracks on the bowling ball, be sure to inspect it to see whether the crack is large and/or deep. The whole ball will need to be inspected and in so doing you can determine if the bowling ball is worth fixing or if you should just buy a new ball. 

You can also take itl to your local bowling alley to have it inspected by someone who repairs cracks in bowling balls.

Clean It 

You can’t judge the severity of the crack in the bowling ball if it’s dirty. Before you start working on the ball, clean it with rubbing alcohol. 

This will remove anything that may be stuck on the ball and make it easier to see whether it’s a small cosmetic chip or a more severe issue. 

You can apply the alcohol all over the ball and in the holes. Keep the ball in a static position while cleaning it to ensure you maintain an even surface and are able to remove all the dirt and grime.

Seal It

If there is minor damage to the bowling ball, you will need to seal the cracked ball before you can work on any other areas. You can order the sealant you need with a bowling ball repair kit. 

The kit should have the liquid sealant as well as an activator and they should work together quickly to create a nice protective seal on your bowling ball and to fill any holes. 

The sealant mixture should fill up the crack of the bowling ball and also coat the entire ball. If you are using it on your favorite bowling ball, be sure to match the sealant to the color of your ball so it will still look good going down the lane once the crack has been repaired.

Sand It

The first thing you should do is sand the cracked ball. Use fine sandpaper and move it over the entire ball to remove any dirt and grime as well as the outer coating on the ball. 

You will need to sand until you get to the bowling ball’s crack. Plastic bowling balls can be sanded by hand or with a machine.  

When sanding cracked bowling balls, you will want to ensure the ball stays wet at all times. 

You may want to use a variety of different grit sandpapers and the right sanding technique to ensure the bowling ball has a smooth finish when you complete the repair.

Polish It

One of the finishing touches you will need to make to repair a cracked bowling ball is to polish it properly. It will help protect the ball and ensure it glides down the bowling lane more smoothly. 

All balls are covered in different materials, so finding the right polish is important if you want to feel like you have a new bowling ball. It will improve the ball’s surface so you will have a more consistent game too. 

You will need to rub every square inch surface of the ball to help prevent cracking and make it easier to bowl. 

When polishing the ball, be sure to be careful around the point of the crack. If you get too carried away while polishing the surface, it could lead to more cracking. 

It’s best to use a well known brand of polish on the ball in this final step.

Repairing Small Cracks

If you notice a small crack in your bowling ball, you can handle it in the same way. You may be tempted to ignore a small crack, but this can actually cause it to become worse, and over time it will become harder to fix.

It’s best to repair your bowling ball as soon as you notice a problem or manufacturing flaw. This will ensure your ball is looking and rolling like new so you can get back to the game and enjoy a ball that performs well when you bowl.

What To Do If The Bowling Ball Is Split In Half

If your bowling ball crack is left untreated there’s a chance it could become worse and that your ball may split in half when you are throwing it down the lane. 

Even though a crack may appear to be on the surface, it could be much deeper. 

Bowling balls are made of different coverstock materials, and they can all weaken over time. That’s why it’s best to tend to a crack as soon as possible. 

If your ball does break in half, you will need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and take it to the right repair shop. In most cases, you won’t be able to make these types of repairs on your own.

Final Thoughts

Cracks are more common in bowling balls than most people realize. If you notice cracks in your ball when you play, it’s a good idea to have them repaired as soon as possible. 

Understanding the most common cause of bowling ball cracks will allow you to avoid mistakes that can lead to a broken or cracked ball. 

If your ball does end up cracked, the above tips may come in handy and allow you to repair it yourself. If you are not comfortable repairing it yourself, be sure to take it to a repair shop where they know what they are doing.

A ball that is in good condition will be easier to throw; plus, it will help you throw more accurately. Proper maintenance and fast repairs will increase the longevity of your bowling ball and help make you a better bowler.