How to Change Skateboard Wheels: A Quick & Simple Guide

To change skateboard wheels, loosen the nuts on the wheel axles with a skate tool, and slide the old wheels off. Replace them with new wheels and secure the nuts back in place without overtightening.

How to Change Skateboard Wheels, Maintaining and upgrading your skateboard is crucial for optimal performance, especially when it comes to your wheels. Skateboard wheels can wear down or break, impacting your ride quality and safety. Changing skateboard wheels is a straightforward process that even beginners can master quickly.

With a few simple tools and the right technique, any skater can ensure their board stays in top condition. Whether you’re switching to a different wheel size for better speed and handling or simply replacing worn-out wheels, knowing how to change them correctly is essential for every skateboard enthusiast. This article will guide you through each step, ensuring a smooth and efficient wheel replacement.

Choosing The Right Skateboard Wheels

Embarking on the quest for new skateboard wheels can transform the way you ride. Choosing the appropriate wheels is crucial for enhancing performance and ensuring compatibility with your skateboarding style. Find out how to make an informed decision by understanding the basic characteristics of skateboard wheels, such as durometer, size, and shape.

How to Change Skateboard Wheels
How to Change Skateboard Wheels

Understanding Skateboard Wheel Basics

Skateboard wheels play a pivotal role in control and maneuverability. Made from polyurethane, wheels come in various sizes and hardness levels, each tailored to specific types of skating. Knowledge of these variables is key to a customized skateboarding experience.

Durometer And Its Impact On Performance

The durometer measures the hardness of the wheel, significantly affecting ride quality. A scale ranging from 75A to 101A+ indicates the level of hardness where a higher number denotes a harder wheel. Hard wheels are ideal for street skating, offering faster speeds on smooth surfaces. Softer wheels absorb shocks better, suitable for rough terrains.

Wheel Size And Terrain Compatibility

Selecting the right wheel size is essential for attaining the perfect balance between speed and stability. This choice should mirror the terrain you frequent:

  • Smaller wheels (50-53mm) are great for street skating, providing lower center of gravity for tricks.
  • Medium-sized wheels (54-59mm) offer versatility for beginners and all-around skaters.
  • Larger wheels (60mm+) are designed for cruising, and ideal for longboards and old-school boards.

Wheel Shape And Riding Style

The shape of the wheel determines the grip and slide behavior on surfaces. Take note of the following profiles:

  • Standard wheels feature a regular, balanced shape, suitable for most skaters.
  • Cruiser wheels are wider with more contact with the ground, perfect for smooth riding.
  • Conical wheels have a tapered edge, reducing friction for technical tricks and stunts.

It’s crucial to align wheel shape with your preferred riding style to maximize performance and enjoyment.

Necessary Tools For Changing Skateboard Wheels

Ready to give your skateboard a fresh lease on life with new wheels? Before you start, it’s crucial to have the right tools on hand to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Proper equipment minimizes the risk of damaging your skateboard components and can save valuable time. In this guide, let’s zero in on the essential toolkit for changing skateboard wheels, so your next ride is nothing short of epic.

Skate Tool

The core tool you’ll need is a skateboard-specific Skate Tool. This versatile piece of equipment combines various wrenches and a socket that match the nuts and bolts on your skateboard. A standard skate tool will have a 3/8 inch socket (truck bolts), 1/2 inch socket (wheels), and a 9/16 inch socket (kingpin). It ensures a perfect grip and saves time by providing all the sizes you need in one handy device.

Workbench Or Stable Surface

Having a Workbench or Stable Surface is non-negotiable when it comes to changing your wheels. This lets you lay out all your tools and components conveniently, and provides a solid base to work on. A good workbench is level, sturdy, and at an appropriate height to avoid back strain. A kitchen table can work in a pinch, but ensure you protect the surface from scratches or grease.

Cloth Or Rag

Don’t overlook the importance of a clean Cloth or Rag. This simple item plays a key role in keeping your hands and skate components free from grease and dirt. Use it to wipe down your wheels, bearings, and skateboard to prevent any gritty residue from getting in the way of a smooth ride. A rag also helps in maintaining a clean workspace. Opt for a microfiber cloth for best results, as it traps dirt effectively without leaving fibers behind.

Bearing Press (optional)

For those seeking a professional touch, consider using a Bearing Press. Although not a strict necessity, this tool offers a clear advantage by firmly seating your bearings within the wheel without causing damage. It’s particularly handy if you frequently change out wheels or maintain multiple skateboards. For the occasional wheel change, however, a manual method with your skate tool should suffice.

Removing Old Skateboard Wheels

When it’s time to upgrade your ride with fresh wheels, starting with the proper removal of your old skateboard wheels is essential. Whether you’re dealing with wear and tear or just eager for a change in performance or style, this guide will make sure you confidently glide through the process. Remember, bold precision and organization play a key role in this DIY skateboard maintenance task! Let’s roll through the steps for loosening nuts and bolts, removing bearings, and handling spacers and speed rings.

How to Change Skateboard Wheels

Loosening The Nuts And Bolts

Before diving into the bearing removal, the first step is to loosen and remove the axle nuts that secure the wheels to the trucks. Having the right tool is crucial; a skate tool or a wrench that matches the size of the nuts is your best bet.

  • Position the skate tool or wrench on the axle nut.
  • Turn the tool counterclockwise to loosen the nut. A bit of force may be necessary if the nut hasn’t been moved in some time.
  • Unscrew the nut completely and set it aside safely. Do not lose these nuts as you’ll need them to secure the new wheels.

Removing The Bearings

With the axle nuts removed, you can now slide the wheel away from the truck. Next, you’ll extract the bearings, which are tightly fitted into the wheel. They often require a gentle but firm pull. For best results:

  1. Insert the tip of the truck’s axle into the bearing on one side of the wheel.
  2. Pry the wheel outward while using the axle as a lever, causing the bearing to pop out.
  3. Repeat the process for the other side to free both bearings.

Remember, some wheels have bearings with built-in spacers, so you might not see individual spacers fall out during this process.

Retaining The Spacers And Speed Rings

Once the bearings are out, take a moment to focus on the small parts: the spacers and speed rings. These components ensure your wheels roll smoothly and stay aligned. Always check for:

SpacersSmall cylinders that fit between bearings inside the wheel.Inside the wheel hub
Speed RingsThin washers on the axle.Between the bearing and axle nut or truck hangar
  • Gather and set aside all spacers and speed rings as you remove each wheel.
  • Inspect them for damage or wear and consider replacing them if needed.
  • Clean them before inserting them into the new wheels for optimal performance.

With these steps completed, your skateboard is now ready for new wheels. Continue with the precise care you’ve taken so far, and your skateboard will be back on the pavement in no time, rolling smoother and faster than ever before!

Installing New Skateboard Wheels

Ready to glide on fresh wheels? Installing new skateboard wheels breathes new life into your skateboarding experience. The process is straightforward and rewarding, giving you the satisfaction of personalizing your ride to fit your style and needs. In this segment, we’ll breakdown the steps to efficiently install new wheels on your skateboard, ensuring a smooth ride. Make sure you have your skateboard, new wheels, bearings, and a skate tool or socket wrench handy before you begin.

How to Change Skateboard Wheels

Preparing The Bearings

Start with the bearings, the small round devices that enable your wheels to roll smoothly. First, remove any dirt and debris from the new wheels. If you’re using old bearings, make sure to clean them using a bearing cleaner or soapy water, drying them thoroughly afterwards. For new bearings, simply take them out of their packaging. Gently press the bearings into each wheel. If the fit is tight, use the axle of the trucks to press them in evenly. Ensure the bearings sit flush with the surface of the wheel.

Aligning The Wheels

Proper wheel alignment is crucial for an optimal skateboarding experience. Place each wheel on the axle of the trucks to start the alignment process. Ensure the bearings face inward, with the spacers, if you use them, nestled between the bearings. A good alignment means the wheels should spin freely without wobbling, ensuring a stable and balanced ride.

Securing With Nuts And Bolts

Once the wheels are aligned, secure them using the nut that fits over the truck’s axle. Turn the nut by hand until you can no longer do so, then use a skate tool or socket wrench to finish the job. Tighten the nuts until the wheels are securely in place but can still rotate freely. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this can damage the bearings or affect the wheels’ performance.

Reattaching The Bearings

The next step involves reattaching the bearings to the skateboard. Verify that all components – the wheels, bearings, and any spacers – are properly aligned and secured. Slide the axle of the trucks through the bearings on each wheel. Ensure that the wheels spin smoothly and that there’s no excess friction. A quick spin test can confirm if everything is in place. If the wheels don’t spin freely, loosen the nut slightly and adjust the tightness.

Adjusting And Testing The New Wheels

Sliding on fresh skateboard wheels can feel like a totally new riding experience. But before you hit the pavement, it’s crucial to ensure everything is dialed in perfectly. Properly securing the wheels and testing their rotation prevents any mishaps on your first ride with them. Adjusting your skateboard wheels correctly ensures maximum performance and durability. Let’s get those wheels ready to roll!

How to Change Skateboard Wheels

Properly Tightening The Nuts And Bolts

Once the new wheels are on the trucks, the next step is to fasten the nuts securely. However, over-tightening can damage the bearings or wheels, while too loose of a fit can lead to wobbly rides and potential wheel loss. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Pick a skate tool or the correct size wrench for your skateboard’s axle nuts.
  • Turn the nut clockwise until you experience resistance.
  • Adjust the tightness so that wheels spin freely with minimal lateral movement.

Be meticulous in this process to ensure the wheels are snug but not constricted. You want to be able to ride smoothly without any unwanted friction slowing you down.

Testing Wheel Rotation And Tightness

With the nuts properly tightened, it’s time to assess the wheels’ rotation. Lift your skateboard and give each wheel a good spin with your hand. Each one should rotate smoothly, without unusual noise or stuttering, indicating that the bearings are seated correctly and aren’t obstructed.

An optimal spin will have the wheel spinning for several seconds without stopping abruptly. Make sure all four wheels demonstrate consistent spinning behaviors to avoid any performance issues on your ride.

Adjusting As Necessary For Smooth Performance

  1. Spin each wheel and observe the rotation.
  2. If a wheel is not spinning freely or is too wobbly, slightly loosen the nut until the desired spin is achieved.
  3. Check the wheels for any lateral movement. A slight amount is normal, but if the wheel moves more than a couple of millimeters, retighten the nut moderately.
  4. Repeat the spin test.

Remember: regular maintenance ensures longevity and peak performance. A quick adjustment today can prevent future complications tomorrow. Always carry a skate tool with you for on-the-go fixes to keep those wheels rolling smoothly!

Maintenance Tips For Skateboard Wheels

Maintaining your skateboard wheels is critical not only to ensure a smooth ride but also to extend their lifespan. Proper care involves cleaning, lubricating, inspecting for wear and tear, and rotating your wheels periodically. Failure to regularly maintain your wheels can lead to performance issues and potentially dangerous situations. Follow these maintenance tips to keep your skateboard wheels in prime condition.

Regular Cleaning and Lubrication

Regular Cleaning And Lubrication

Maintaining a regular cleaning and lubrication schedule for your skateboard wheels can significantly impact your riding experience. Dirt, debris, and street grime can accumulate and compromise wheel performance. Here’s how to keep wheels rolling smoothly:

  • Remove the wheels from your skateboard using a skate tool.
  • Wipe down each wheel with a damp cloth to remove surface dirt.
  • Clean the bearings with a bearing cleaner or soapy water. Rinse and dry them thoroughly.
  • Apply a skateboard-specific lubricant to the bearings before reinserting them into the wheels.
  • Reattach the wheels, ensuring they spin freely without too much lateral movement.

Inspecting for Wear and Damage

Inspecting For Wear And Damage

Regular inspections can spot potential problems before they escalate. Here are steps to assess the condition of your skateboard wheels:

  1. Examine wheels for flat spots, which can occur when sliding or skidding frequently.
  2. Look for cracks or chunks missing from the wheel, indicators of impact damage.
  3. Check for uneven wear patterns, as they could hint at alignment issues with the trucks.
  4. Assess the hardness of the wheels, as they may degrade over time, affecting grip and slide.

Replace wheels that show significant wear or damage to avoid loss of traction or wheel bite during your ride.

Rotating Wheels for Even Wear

Rotating Wheels For Even Wear

Rotating your skateboard wheels regularly can promote even wear, thereby extending their usable life. Follow this rotation pattern:

Front LeftFront RightBack LeftBack Right
Back RightBack LeftFront RightFront Left
  • Swap front and back wheels diagonally to ensure balanced wear.
  • Perform this task every few months or after significant mileage.

Upgrading Skateboard Wheels For Performance

When it’s time to elevate your skateboarding experience, upgrading your skateboard wheels plays a pivotal role. Switching from standard to high-performance wheels can transform your ride, enhance your control, and allow you to execute tricks with more precision. Whether you’re an advanced skater looking for that competitive edge, tackling diverse terrains, or simply aiming to personalize your board, the right set of wheels will make all the difference. Let’s dive into the essentials of performance-focused wheel customization.

High-performance Wheels For Advanced Skaters

Advanced skaters understand the significance of wheel quality and design. High-performance wheels offer benefits like improved grip, speed retention, and resilience against wear. What should you consider when selecting these wheels?

  • Durometer rating: A measure of hardness that affects grip and shock absorption.
  • Diameter: Larger wheels boost speed while smaller ones improve maneuverability.
  • Shape and contact patch: Determine traction and slide characteristics.

Specialty Wheels For Specific Terrain

Skateboarding environments vary greatly, and wheels designed for specific terrains can enhance your performance exponentially. Are you tackling rough streets, smooth skate parks, or vert ramps? The right wheel type can make all the difference.

Terrain TypeRecommended Wheel Feature
Street SkatingHarder wheels with a higher durometer for slide tricks
Skate ParksMedium hardness for a balance of grip and flexibility
Vert RampsLarge, soft wheels for speed and traction on smooth surfaces

Customizing Wheels For Personal Preference

The final aspect of wheel customization comes down to personal preference. Skaters often select wheels that reflect their personality and skating style. Here’s how you can tailor your wheels to your preferences:

  1. Choose colors and graphics that match your skateboard or style.
  2. Experiment with different wheel materials, like polyurethane variations, for unique riding experiences.
  3. Consider signature wheels from professional skaters to emulate your idols’ setups.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Change Skateboard Wheels

What Tools Are Needed To Change Skateboard Wheels?

To change skateboard wheels, you’ll need a skateboard tool or wrench and a screwdriver or Allen key.

How Often Should Skateboard Wheels Be Replaced?

Replace skateboard wheels when they show significant wear, flat spots, or reduce your riding experience, typically every 1-2 years.

Can You Mix Wheels Of Different Sizes?

It’s not recommended to mix wheels of different sizes as it can affect the skateboard’s balance and performance.

What Affects Skateboard Wheel Lifespan?

Skateboard wheel lifespan is influenced by riding surface, frequency of use, skater’s weight, and wheel quality.

Hardness Important For Changing Wheels?

Wheel hardness, measured in durometer, affects grip and ride smoothness, and should be considered when selecting new skateboard wheels.


Swapping out skateboard wheels enhances your ride and keeps your board in top condition. This guide aimed to simplify the process, empowering you with the know-how to tackle this task confidently. Remember, regular maintenance promises smoother rides and better performance.

So, grab your skateboard and enjoy the upgraded glide on those fresh wheels!

Norman J. Wells
Norman J. Wells

Hello, my name is Norman J. Wells I am the founder of Get skater which is my blog.

I specialize in skateboarding and offer skateboarding services to businesses of all sizes around the world, ultimately improving their bottom line by teaching creative solutions to their problems. Shoot me a quick email to see how I can help you!

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