How to Change Skateboard Wheels
Changing Skateboard Wheels
Changing skateboard or longboard wheels is a simple task that can drastically change the way your board rides. Wheels eventually wear out after a while and it's important to know when wheels can be fixed with DIY tricks or when it's time for a fresh four.
When to Change Your Wheels
Skateboard wheels can last you a long time, but if you are skating every day or doing a lot of powerslides they will wear down faster. A few good indicators that it's time for a new set of wheels is if they are coned, become very small or get gnarly flat spots. All of these issues will cause your board to feel slow and make for a rougher ride. These problems are frustrating, but can be cured by swapping out your busted wheels for some new ones.
We'll teach you how to change your skateboard wheels in 4 easy steps. Follow along or jump to one of the steps below:
- Softer wheels will be easier to change out than harder wheels because removing and inserting bearings requires less effort. Longboards and cruisers use softer wheels, while harder wheels are ideal for regular skateboards. No matter the board style, the process for changing wheels remains the same.
- If you need some help choosing wheels, check out our wheel buying guide.
Before you start, you'll need a few tools and materials. Once you have everything together, we'll teach you how to change your skateboard wheels in 4 easy steps.
- Skate tool (or wrench)
- Tray (to store hardware)
- Skateboard Trucks
Begin by removing the axle nuts with your skate tool or wrench and sliding the wheels off of your truck axle. Make sure to keep track of the washers that sit on either side of the wheel. We find it best to organize and store the axle nuts and speed washers in a small tray so you don't lose any small pieces of hardware.
Next, you'll remove your bearings from your wheels by prying them out of your wheels using the axle of your truck. To do this, slide the wheel half-way onto the end of the axle so only one bearing is on the axle. With the axle securely catching the inside of the bearing, twist the wheel outward and around as you pry the bearing out. Flip the wheel over and repeat.
Tip: Some set-ups use bearing spacers that sit between the two bearings when in the wheel, while other bearings have built-in spacers. These are most commonly found in longboard wheels and bearings. If your bearings have spacers, be sure to keep track of them in your hardware tray.
Begin by sliding your two bearings shield-side down onto your skateboard's truck axle. Press your wheel onto the top bearing until it is fully seated in the wheel. You may need to put your weight into it and turn the wheel until the bearing is evenly seated. Flip the wheel over and repeat to get the second bearing in.
Now that your bearings are in your new wheels you can mount them back on the trucks' axles. Slide the wheel on the axle with the correct side facing out. Some wheels have graphics or angled cuts that indicate which side belongs on the outside. But for others, it doesn't matter and you can choose to mount them however you like. Once that is decided, put the axle nut on by threading it until it is finger-tight. Using a skate tool or wrench, tighten the nut until the wheel has almost no wiggle room between the truck and the nut. Over tightening can damage your bearings.
From here, your board is ready to go and you can rip some fresh urethane!
At some point replacing skateboard wheels is necessary, but sometimes you can get a little extra life out of your used wheels. Here are some tips for maintaining your wheels.
Rotate Your Wheels
To prevent your wheels from coning, or wearing out unevenly, you can rotate them to different axles. You will want to crisscross the rear wheels to the front and crisscross the fronts to the rear. You can do this every 3 months or whenever you clean or replace your bearings.
Fix Flat Spots
After some use, harder skateboard wheels will tend to get flat spots. Flat spots create rough vibrations through your board, putting your smooth ride in jeopardy and slowing you down. To fix this, you can do powerslides on rough pavement to grind down the wheel to until it rolls smoothly again. If you cannot powerslide, you can do the same action while holding your board with your hands.
Clean Your Wheels
Although cleaning your skateboard wheels doesn't do much for them, it can help to prolong the life of your bearings. Any time that you have your bearings out of the wheels, take a paper towel and wipe any gunk out of the middle of them. Check out our guide to cleaning bearings for more information.
Still Have Questions?
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