If you’re a skateboarder, you know that keeping your wheels in good condition is key to having a good time on your board. One of the best ways to keep your wheels in good shape is to rotate them regularly. This article will show you how to rotate skateboard wheels correctly. Read on for more.
Skateboard wheels are typically made out of polyurethane and come in various shapes, sizes, and hardness ratings. You should always check your skateboard’s manual to understand the exact specifications for the wheels, which usually include width and diameter measurements.
A Detailed Guide on How to Rotate Skateboard Wheels
Step 1: Prepare
The first step is essential to keep in mind- how to rotate your skateboard wheels. You will need a skateboard wheel wrench to prepare the wheels for rotation. Sometimes, particular trucks come with a tool that does the job adequately. If not, one can buy an appropriate-sized socket from their hardware store and use that as a makeshift tool.
However, suppose you buy a new set of tools made explicitly for skateboards. They usually consist of two different sockets that fit perfectly on two separate axles on each wheel. One end will be exactly 14 millimeters, while the other has a size ranging from 9/16th of an inch to 3/4th of an inch. The axle outside diameter varies for different axles, and to find out what size you need, it is best to check the manual that came with your skateboard trucks.
Step 2: Know if Your Wheels Need Rotation
Experts recommend that you rotate your skateboard wheels every 20-50 hours of skating. This means if you have only been skating for a few months, then once in a while will be enough to keep your wheels spinning smoothly and fast when the wheel starts slowing down due to wear and tear on the surfaces of both sides. The usual wear patterns include dents, flat spots, dings, and scratches on the surface of both outer edges of a wheel.
After a few months of skating, scrutinize your wheels and see if they need to be rotated. If you see the surfaces show no signs of wear after 20 hours, you can avoid rotation until further notice. However, it is best to rotate the wheels before they show severe damage or performance impairment.
Step 3: Rotate Skateboard Wheels
Wrap Your Skateboard Near the Axles. After inspecting your skateboard wheels for dirt and dust on them, wrap them around near the axles with some old socks or rags where there are no bearings. Make sure that your wheels are wrapped up tightly not to spin while loosening the axle nuts. Again, it would be best to do this on a flat surface where your skateboard has enough space for movement.
With the axle nuts loosened, grab one wheel with both hands and try to slide off both bearings from either side of the wheel. How you do this will depend on the type of set-up initially used for your wheels when you first bought them. If it is not possible to pull them out without any trouble, do not force it because you might damage whatever mechanism keeps those bearings in place inside your wheels.
Once the bearings are removed, put each bearing back into each hub gently until they are seated firmly into their respective sides of the wheel. You can use some grease or oil to keep the bearings lubricated for a smooth ride.
After this is done, you should have one wheel sitting on your skateboard with no bearings or axles in place. You can now remove the axle nuts before placing them back onto the exact positions before you loosen them. How tight these bolts should depend solely on you and how hard you want your board to turn while riding it. The usual rule of thumb that most experts suggest is that if you are afraid of snapping off an axle nut when trying to loosen it, tighten it until there is no need for concern.
Step 4: Tighten Skateboard Wheels
Shift Your Axle Nuts Back into Place After screwing back all the bolts on the same axle where you removed them, go ahead and do the other side of your wheel. For most wheels, this means removing the bolts from one end and putting them back in place at the other end of each axle.
How much force you use to tighten your axles should be enough for it not to move around when riding but not too strong that you break off something. If, for example, you are using a socket wrench with Allen’s head, then it is best not to use too much pressure, or else you risk stripping out your axle nuts.
If possible, avoid overtightening your skateboard wheels so that they can still spin without any obstruction. Do this, especially if you plan on doing some tricks while riding down your local skate park.
Step 5: Remove Skateboard Wheels as Needed
Rotate Skateboard Wheels How often you should rotate your skateboard wheels when they need to be replaced is debatable. Some people claim that it is better not to bother and replace the wheel and bearings altogether in one go. However, some people say that keeping them in good condition is cheaper than buying new wheels.
How You Can See if Your Wheels Need Replacing There are some telltale signs of how worn out wheels are, such as:
- The wheel’s surfaces show a lot of wear due to friction with the ground
- The wheel’s edges have become rounded off because of its continuous contact with the surface
- The wheel has split or cracked but still kept rolling for an extended period
- The wheel’s raceway has become concave because it does not have enough width for bearings to stay in place properly. How you decide to change your skateboard wheels is entirely up to you. Just keep in mind that the sooner you do, the better off your board. You can find replacement sets at any sports or hardware store near you, and they are relatively easy to install. These steps will help in how to rotate skateboard wheels.
Skateboard Wheels Maintenance
1. Rotate Skateboard Wheels
Since a wheel’s forward motion is derived from the downstroke of a skateboarder’s push, only turning wheels in one direction will result in rapid wear on that wheel. When rotating your wheels, you switch which side of the wheel touches the ground every few rides. This prolongs the life of your bearing and saves you money since you won’t have to replace them as often. In addition, by making sure each wheel gets used equally, they’ll last longer because bearings typically tend to fail from the inside out.
2. Brush Skateboard Wheels
Many skateboarding enthusiasts ask how to brush skateboard wheels since it’s a mystery why companies make you buy a separate brush for more miniature-sized bearings. If you have more oversized bearings but want smaller ones, all you need to do is use a little thicker lubricant – AKA – gorilla snot – and it’ll work fine. Another method for this process would be using WD-40 or another similar oil sprayer. If you choose this route, try not to get any on your bearings, as this can ruin them.
3. Clean a Skateboard Bearing
Cleaning a skateboard bearing is not as hard as you might think. It’s simply a matter of using elbow grease and patience to scrub the gunk off until it looks shiny again. First, take apart the bearing by finding its “shield,” or outer metal casing that holds the actual components inside of it together.
This will be held by small metal bars known as “speed rings.” Use needle-nose pliers and carefully pull these speed rings off the shield one time. Then open up the security by prying it with a screwdriver or butter knife – whichever works best for you – and carefully taking out the individual components inside.
Once you have it open, clean off all of the old lubricant and dirt by scrubbing with a rag or paper towel. Next, pour a small amount of oil into it before reassembling everything back together.
4. Fix Flat Spots
A common problem when skating is flat spots on your wheels. These occur over time due to the constant friction from riding and will begin to hinder your performance. The easiest way would be to take a lighter, heating the rubber until it becomes pliable again. Once it’s heated up enough to bend it with your hands, roll the wheel back and forth between your palms for a minute or two before leaving it alone to cool off.
You Can Check It Out to Fix a Skateboard that Turns by Itself
Skateboard wheel maintenance is an essential component of skateboarding. You can’t just leave your wheels to wear out and get rusty; you have to take care of them! This article on how to rotate skateboard wheels provides some tips for rotating your skateboard wheels to last longer.
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