How To Measure Skateboard Trucks
Knowing how to measure skateboard trucks is an important skill for navigating the various labels that manufacturers use to indicate truck sizing.
The following guide details which parts are important to measure, how those parts affect your skateboard setup as a whole, and which tools you’ll need for the measuring process.
Understanding Skateboard Trucks
Skateboard trucks are designed to allow you to cruise and carve smoothly and efficiently. They come in a wide variety of sizes and types, each suited to a specific type of board or riding style.
The two most common types of skateboard trucks are:
- Standard kingpin trucks
- Reverse kingpin trucks
What is a kingpin? A kingpin is the perpendicular nut inside the truck that keeps the axle in place and affects truck tightness and turning radius.
Along with the kingpin, the following parts are found on all skateboard trucks:
Skateboard trucks come in a variety of sizes and profiles (heights) allowing skaters to choose trucks based on their needs.
For a more detailed description of different types of trucks and their parts, check out our article on “How To Choose Skateboard Trucks”.
Tools Required for Measuring Skateboard Trucks
Measuring skateboard trucks requires the following tools:
- Skate tool
- Measuring tape or ruler
Do not use power tools as this can lead to over-tightening and breaking your hardware or causing pressure cracks in your board.
The skate tool is used to uninstall the wheels from your skateboard trucks before measuring.
It doesn’t matter whether you measure in metric or imperial as long as you use the same system of units to measure your trucks and your skateboard deck to ensure they are the same width.
Many people ask, “Can you measure skateboard trucks without specialized tools?” And the answer is, “Yes,” you can remove the wheels using a wrench or socket wrench if you don’t have a skate tool.
Measuring Skateboard Truck Hanger Width
Many skateboard truck manufacturers categorize and label their truck sizes by hanger width. Hanger width changes in correlation with axle width.
If you can’t remember which size trucks you installed on your skateboard, you can simply measure the hanger width to determine the size with the following steps:
- Place your ruler along the top of the hanger.
- Read the measurement to determine the length of the hanger.
This is your hanger width.
Measuring Skateboard Truck Height
Truck height is also known as “profile.” Skateboard trucks generally fall into one of three profile categories:
- Low – Accommodates smaller wheels and allows for a quick and easy pop.
- Mid – Delivers a good balance between low and high.
- High – Accommodates larger wheels and allows for a higher ollie with more leverage in the tail.
Your choice of profile depends on wheel size, bushing softness, and the strength of your legs. Children, having less leg strength, can benefit from low trucks.
Manufacturers sell trucks in sets of two with the same dimensions which are indicated on the packaging. The following table details the general height ranges of each profile:
|Truck Height||46mm - 49mm||50mm - 53mm||53.5mm - 58mm|
Because profiles aren’t standardized between manufacturers, installing trucks from different companies can make your board unbalanced.
For information on installing trucks, check out our dedicated article on “How To Set Up Skateboard Trucks”.
It’s important to make sure that both your trucks have the same profile by measuring their height with the following instructions:
- Flip your board over so the grip tape is facing downwards and the trucks are facing upwards. There is no need to remove the wheels to measure truck height.
- Place your ruler next to the baseplate in the vertical position so that it is flush with your skateboard deck.
- Read the measurement at the top of the hanger.
- Repeat the same process on the other side of the baseplate to see if there is any difference in the measurement.
- If it is the same, then that is the measurement of your truck height. If it is different, add the two measurements together and divide by two. This will find the average measurement between both sides and indicate your truck height.
Measuring Skateboard Truck Axle Width
Axle width is arguably the most important dimension to measure. As a general rule, the axle width of your trucks should match the width of your skateboard deck.
- Trucks that are too narrow will lead to less stability, strange pressure points, and make doing flip tricks more difficult.
- Trucks that are too wide increase your chances of kicking your wheel while pushing which could lead to a fall.
Measure your axle width with the following instructions:
- Flip your board over so the grip tape is facing downwards and the trucks are facing upwards.
- Uninstall the wheels by removing the axle nuts.
- Place the axle nuts and washers in a place where they won’t get lost.
- Place the end of your ruler on one end of the axle and measure the length to the other end. Your measurement should include the length of the hanger.
- Repeat the same process on the axle of the other truck to ensure that there is no difference between the two trucks.
Understanding the Impact of Truck Measurements
Truck measurements are important to understand in order to choose ones that support your performance and minimize risk of injury.
It’s important to ensure that you choose trucks with:
- A standard kingpin for street skateboarding
- A standard or reverse kingpin for cruising and carving
- An axle width that matches your skateboard deck width
- A profile that corresponds to your wheel size to minimize wheel bite
For more information on choosing trucks, check out our dedicated article on “How To Choose Skateboard Trucks”.
How frequently should skateboard trucks be measured?
Measure your skateboard trucks when you are installing a new or used:
- Skateboard deck
- Set of trucks
- Set of wheels
The dimensions of skateboard trucks don’t change very much during their lifetime other than:
- The hangers due to grinding
- The bushings and pivot cup due to turning
What are the potential consequences of using improperly sized skateboard trucks?
The risk of injury is the biggest consequence of installing improperly sized trucks on a skateboard.
Injury can result from:
- Wheel bite caused by not having enough space between the board and the wheels.
- Accidentally kicking your wheel while pushing, causing it to stop abruptly.
- Lessened stability due to small trucks on a bigger board.
Besides injury, your ability to perform tricks can be affected by improperly sized skateboard trucks.
Troubleshooting and Common Issues
Some of the most common issues that you can encounter with skateboard trucks are:
- Trucks that are smaller or larger than the board
- Trucks with parts that are worn down – hanger or bushings and pivot cup
- Axles with damaged threading
- Rusted trucks or bearings that are stuck in trucks
If your trucks are improperly sized by axle length, then the simplest option is to buy a new skateboard deck that fits the trucks. Alternatively, you can purchase a new set of trucks to fit your current deck.
If the profile is too low, then you can purchase riser pads to create a little more room between the deck and the wheels. Alternatively, you can purchase a new set of smaller wheels.
If the axle threading is damaged to the point of being unable to remove the wheels, the solution is to rethread the axles. This can be done with a die which can be found on some skate tools, or by visiting your local skateshop.
If your trucks are rusted or the bearings are stuck inside them, you will need to perform a deep-clean to restore them. Follow the instructions in our article on “How To Care For Skateboard Trucks”.
Measuring your trucks to ensure a good fit with your board and your riding style is a key step in building a skateboarding setup that’s tailored to your liking. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes to fine-tune your board and see what works best for you.