If your skateboard wheels have been knocked out of shape or have coning, flat spots, or other major flaws, it’s time for you to replace them.
It can make a big difference whether you land a trick or not by riding on wheels that are irregularly shaped.
It’s just the nature of things that everything needs to be replaced. Over time, the wheels’ diameter will decrease due to friction.
They’ll also lose rebound. Hard wheels can wear down, causing pitting and tears. The diameter of softer wheels tends to decrease faster and split or tear more easily.
How to Put Wheels on a Skateboard
First, take the old wheels off the skateboard. Then, take out all the bearings. After which, put new bearings into the replacement wheels before you fit the replacement wheels onto the board. Lastly, add riser pads if the clearance between wheels and board is too small.
Just a little tip: it is easier to remove and replace bearings from soft wheels than from hard wheels. Soft wheels are therefore easier to swap out.
Cruisers and longboards are better with soft wheels. Hard wheels work well for regular boards.
The procedure for replacing wheels is the same regardless of the type of board.
Take the Old Wheels Off the Skateboard
Start by unscrewing the axle nuts using your skate tool or wrench. Next, slide the wheels off your truck axle.
Keep track of any washers on either side. It is best to store the axle nuts, speed washers, and other hardware in a small tray.
Take Out All the Bearings
Next, remove the wheel bearings by using your truck’s axle to pry them out. Slide the wheel halfway on the axle so that only one bearing is visible.
As the bearing’s inside is secured to the axle, turn the wheel around and outwards as you remove it. Repeat the process on the other side.
Tip: Some setups use bearing spacers between the bearings when they are in the wheel. Other bearings have inbuilt spacers.
These spacers are found most often in the wheels and bearings of longboards. Make sure to remember where the spacers are placed in your hardware tray.
Put New Bearings into the Replacement Wheels
Start by sliding your bearings, shield-side down, onto the truck axle of your skateboard. Once the top bearing is fully in place, press your wheel on it.
It may be necessary to place your weight on the top bearing and turn the wheel until it is properly seated. To install the second bearing, flip the wheel and do the same.
Fit the Replacement Wheels onto the Board
Once your bearings have been installed in your new wheels, you can mount them on the trucks’ axles. Place the wheel on the axle facing the right direction.
Some wheels have graphics on the outside or angled cuts to indicate which side is inside. Others don’t care and can be mounted however you like.
After you have made your decision, screw the axle nut onto it by threading it until tight. Use a wrench or skate tool to tighten the nut so that there is almost no space between the wheel and the truck.
Over tightening can damage your bearings.
Skateboard Wheels and Clearance: A Big Issue
If your skateboard‘s wheels don’t have enough clearance between themselves and your deck, you’re going to have several issues turning and carving.
You will eventually have one of your wheels stop suddenly when you make a turn. Although wheel bite is often okay, it can be dangerous, so find a way to avoid it.
Since the issue is with lack of clearance, that is where the solution lies.
Add Riser Pads
If your wheels are too close to your deck, there isn’t much clearance. Lots of problems with turning and carving can occur if you don’t pay much attention to this aspect.
You will eventually have one of your wheels stop when you make a turn. To solve this issue, add riser pads to your trucks and see if the problem still persists.
The largest half-inch riser pads available should be sufficient. To attach them, you will need 8 one-and-a-half-inch bolts to create a safe distance between wheels and board.
Things to Remember When Adding New Wheels to your Skateboard
With new boards, previously unused trucks can be tight. Also, the board’s new bushings will offer increased resistance.
When bushings are still “fresh” and extremely stiff, they must be “worked” to become flexible. (Roll the board back-and-forth on the deck with your weight on it. Alternatively, just ride the board.)
After the bushings have broken in, tighten the nuts on both trucks. You stand a good chance of wrecking the bushings if you tighten the nuts on the trucks before you’ve broken in the bushings.
On older boards, be aware that weak bushings or loose trucks can cause problems, and you’ll need to tighten the trucks if you want to attach wheels to an older skateboard.
Regular boards can take virtually any skateboard wheels, but with some limitations. Such setups can be awkward to ride as the parts don’t always work harmoniously together.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Put Wheels on a Skateboard
Can any wheels go on any skateboard?
Short answer: “No.” However, a regular skateboard can take cruiser and longboard wheels. To avoid wheel bite, simply add risers. You’ll also need to tighten your trucks. Add cruiser wheels to your skateboard using half-inch riser pads and one-and-a-half-inch bolts.
What skateboard wheels are the hardest?
According to the Durometer A Scale for skateboarding, the wheel’s hardness can be measured in durometers. It ranges from 75A (softest) up to 101A (hardest). Super soft skateboard wheels provide fantastic grip, the highest comfort, and smooth riding. However, soft wheels wear quickly and slow down the skateboard quite a lot.
Afterword: How to Put Wheels on a Skateboard
Do not choose mediocre wheels. If you do, you will have to make many compromises that will probably destroy any pleasure you might have had from your skateboarding experience.
I advise doing everything you can to get the best skateboard wheels first.
Skateboarding ought to be fun, but worrying all the time about unreliable parts is so not fun. You can easily end up being paranoid and unable to really let yourself go on your board.
Everywhere you take your skateboard, you’re more than likely to find cracks, rocks, twigs, and goodness-alone-knows-what-else lying around all over the place.
Any of these could cause you to end up in the ER, so kit yourself out with the best wheels you can afford.
Oh, and a helmet!