How To Put Wheels on a Skateboard
Changing your skateboard wheels is a part of routine board maintenance and can be done with a few tools. If you have the right materials, swapping your wheels is a relatively easy task you can complete at home or at the skatepark. Whether you’re riding a longboard with soft wheels or a skateboard with hard wheels, the process is the same.
First things first – gather your materials. A couple of tools and a fresh set of wheels are all you need to get your board ready to ride.
Here’s what to grab:
- T-shaped skate tool or wrench
- Trucks or a skate tool with a bearing removal attachment
- New skateboard wheels
How To Loosen and Remove Skateboard Wheels
Loosening your wheels is the first step to changing them, but you can also loosen and tighten your wheels to adjust how your board rides. The wheel is held onto the truck's axle by an exterior axle nut, and the tighter the nut is, the harder it is for your wheels to turn. Too tight, and they won't spin, but too loose, and your ride will feel wobbly. The sweet spot for most riders allows the wheel to spin freely and generally gives it a little play on the truck.
How to loosen and remove skateboard wheels:
- Collect your skate tool or wrench
- If your wrench is adjustable, modify it to fit snugly around the axle nuts
- Secure the tool around the nut and turn it counterclockwise
- Continue to turn until the nut is free and the wheel can be removed from the axle. If the axle is worn the nut may be difficult to remove. To avoid stripping, repeat tightening and loosening the nut to ease the tension.
- Keep track of the wheel, the axle nut, and the speed washers
- Repeat on all four wheels
How To Remove Old Bearings
Most skate shops offer to transfer your bearings from your old wheels to your new ones when you buy replacement skateboard wheels, but you can also do it yourself using a skate tool with a bearing removal attachment.
To remove your bearings, do the following:
- Turn your skateboard on its side
- Take the removed wheel and feed it halfway onto the truck's axle
- Angle the wheel so the side of one bearing is pressing against the axle, the axle needs to catch onto the bearing to pull it out from the inside of the wheel
- Using slight pressure, slowly turn the wheel as you pull outwards – this should start to slide the bearing out of place
- Once the bearing comes free, turn the wheel over and repeat to remove the opposite bearing
How To Put Bearings In Skateboard Wheels
Putting bearings into new skateboard wheels is relatively straightforward. Your skateboard, trucks, bearings, and wheels are all you need to install your bearings if you use our easy-to-follow method.
Here’s how to do it:
- Turn your skateboard on its side
- Place one of your bearings on your truck's axle – shield side down if you have a single-shield bearing
- Align your new wheel over the bearing and push down firmly until the bearing slides into place – you may find it easier to turn the wheel or rock it as you push down
- Flip the wheel over and repeat with the second bearing
How To Mount Wheels Onto Trucks
With your bearings installed into your new wheels, you can now mount them onto your board. Before you start, gather all the materials and tools you've used so far.
How to mount your wheels onto trucks:
- Slide one washer onto your truck's axle
- Place your wheel, right side out, onto the axle
- Follow the wheel with the second washer
- Place the nut back onto the axle
- Use your skate tool to tighten the nut into place
- Repeat for each wheel
- Ride your board and adjust axle tightness as needed
How To Make Your Skateboard Wheels Last Longer
Regular maintenance minimizes how frequently you have to replace your skateboard wheels.
- Cleaning your wheels after long or particularly rocky sessions removes debris that will erode your wheels on your next ride.
- Rotating your wheels helps them to wear evenly, especially if you tend to slide on one side.
- Depending on how you ride, there are various patterns you can use to rearrange your wheels, but the most common is in an X-pattern – swapping the front right with the back left and the left front with the back right.
Changing your skateboard wheels is an easy way to adjust your ride and make your board feel new. Keep a skate tool in your pack and a fresh pair of wheels on you, and you can swap out your wheels whether you’re at the park or home.