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Are you tired of your longboard wheels slowing you down or not providing the grip you need? It might be time for a change. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, knowing how to change your longboard wheels is an essential skill that can greatly enhance your riding experience.
In this article, I will guide you through the process of changing your longboard wheels, step by step. From gathering the necessary tools to removing the old wheels and installing the new ones, I’ll provide you with all the information you need to successfully swap out your wheels and get back on the road in no time.
So, if you’re ready to improve your ride and take your longboarding skills to the next level, let’s dive into the world of wheel swapping and learn how to change your longboard wheels like a pro.
When To Change Your Wheels
Skateboard wheels play a crucial role in the performance of the board, and it’s important to know when to replace them. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time for a wheel replacement and factors that affect their lifespan.
Irregular Shape or Coning:
Irregularly shaped, flat, or coned skateboard wheels indicate that they should be replaced. These problems can make riding uncomfortable and impact trick landings. As the diameter of the wheels decreases over time due to friction, the rebound is reduced. This can result in damage such as pitting and tears for hard wheels, while softer wheels may experience separation or tearing.
Factors Affecting Lifespan:
Several factors affect the lifespan of skateboard wheels. These factors include wheel quality, hardness, diameter, frequency of use, and rider type. Hardness is measured on the durometer scale. Higher numbers indicate harder wheels. The condition of the riding surface also affects wheel durability. Rough surfaces lead to faster wear. Riders who do power slides or downhill skateboarding may need to replace their wheels more often due to increased wear and tear.
Why Change Your Longboard Wheels?
Changing your longboard wheels is an essential part of regular maintenance for longboarding enthusiasts. Why is it necessary? Well, the performance and ride quality of your longboard are directly affected by the condition of its wheels.
Over time, longboard wheels can wear down, resulting in decreased speed and efficiency. As the wheels become smoother, they lose grip on the road, making it difficult to maintain control during turns or fast riding. This can be particularly troublesome if you enjoy freeride or downhill racing where speed and precision are crucial.
Changing your longboard wheels is an opportunity to upgrade to a higher-quality set that suits your riding style. Harder wheels generally provide a faster ride on smooth surfaces, while softer wheels offer a more comfortable ride on rougher surfaces. Additionally, different wheel shapes and sizes can impact performance, such as larger wheels for cruising or smaller, slide-oriented wheels for freestyle tricks.
Tools Needed for Changing Longboard Wheels
When it comes to changing longboard wheels, having the right tools is essential. Having the proper tools will not only make the process easier but also ensure that the job is done correctly. Here are the essential tools you will need to change your longboard wheels:
- Skate tool: A skate tool is a must-have tool for any skateboard or longboard enthusiast. It typically features a socket for removing and tightening axle nuts, a screwdriver for adjusting trucks, and a wrench for adjusting the kingpin. A skate tool is a versatile tool that makes changing longboard wheels a breeze.
- Axle nuts: Axle nuts are small nuts that hold the wheels in place on the trucks. They need to be removed before taking off the old wheels and tightened securely after installing the new ones. It’s always a good idea to have a spare set of axle nuts on hand in case you misplace or strip them.
- Bearing spacers: Bearing spacers are small metal tubes that fit between the bearings on the axle. They help ensure the bearings are properly aligned and prevent them from getting crushed when tightening the axle nuts. Bearing spacers are recommended for a smooth and comfortable ride.
- Paper towel: Having a paper towel handy is useful for wiping off any dirt or debris from the bearings or the inside of the wheels. It’s important to keep the bearings clean to ensure optimal performance.
With these essential tools at your disposal, changing longboard wheels will be a breeze.
Choosing the Right Longboard Wheels
Choosing the right longboard wheels is essential for optimizing your ride experience. There are several factors to consider when selecting wheels: diameter, width, durometer, contact patch size, contact patch surface, edge type, and core position.
The diameter of the wheel affects speed and stability. Larger-diameter wheels offer faster speeds, while smaller wheels offer more maneuverability. The width of the wheel influences stability and grip, with wider wheels providing more stability.
The durometer refers to the hardness of the wheel. Softer wheels (lower durometer rating) provide a smoother ride on rough surfaces, while harder wheels (higher durometer rating) offer more speed and durability on smooth surfaces.
Step-by-step How To Change Your Wheels
Changing your longboard wheels is a simple process that can greatly improve your riding experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, knowing how to change your wheels is an essential skill. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of changing your longboard wheels, from gathering the necessary tools to properly installing the new wheels. By following these instructions, you’ll be able to easily replace your old, worn-out wheels with a fresh set, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride. So let’s get started and learn how to change your longboard wheels!
Step 1. Remove Wheels
To start the process of changing your longboard wheels, the first step is to remove the old wheels from your skateboard. Here’s how you can do it:
- Use a skate tool or a wrench: Locate the axle nuts on the truck and use a skate tool or a wrench to loosen and remove them. Make sure to turn the nuts in a counter-clockwise direction to loosen them.
- Slide the wheels off: Once the axle nuts are removed, carefully slide the wheels off of the truck axle. You may need to apply some pressure or wiggle the wheels gently to loosen them.
- Keep track of washers: As you remove the wheels, pay attention to the washers that sit on either side of the wheel. These washers help to create a smooth ride and prevent any damage to your skateboard. Make sure to keep them organized and in a safe place.
- Store small hardware: To avoid losing any small pieces of hardware, such as axle nuts and speed washers, it’s a good idea to organize and store them in a small tray or container.
By following these steps, you will successfully remove the old wheels from your longboard skateboard, preparing it for the installation of new wheels.
Step 2. Remove Bearings
After removing the old wheels from your longboard, the next step is to take out the bearings from those wheels. Here’s how you can do it:
- Use the axle of your truck: The axle of your truck will act as a tool to pry out the bearings from the wheels. Start by sliding the wheel halfway onto the end of the axle so that only one bearing is on the axle.
- Twist and pry: To remove the bearing, rotate the wheel outward and around while gently prying it out, making sure the axle securely holds the inside of the bearing. Repeat this process on the other side of the wheel.
- Look out for bearing spacers: Some longboard setups use bearing spacers that sit between the two bearings in the wheel, while others have built-in spacers within the bearings. If your wheels have bearing spacers, it is important to keep them organized and store them in your hardware tray.
Step 3. Insert Bearings Into New Wheels
Now that you have successfully removed the bearings from your old longboard wheels, it’s time to insert them into your new wheels. Here’s how you can do it:
- Begin by sliding your two bearings onto the axle of your skateboard’s truck. Ensure that the shield side of the bearings is facing down.
- Place one of the new wheels onto the top bearing and firmly press it down until it is securely in place. If necessary, use some force and rotate the wheel to ensure that the bearing is evenly seated.
- To insert the second bearing, flip the wheel over and repeat the process. Ensure that both bearings are securely positioned within the wheel.
It is important to note that some longboard setups may have bearing spacers. These spacers sit between the two bearings in the wheel and help to provide proper spacing and alignment. If your wheels have bearing spacers, make sure to insert them into the wheel along with the bearings.
Step 4. Mount Wheels
With your bearings securely placed in the new wheels, it’s time to mount them back onto the axles of your skateboard’s trucks.
To begin, slide the wheel onto the axle, ensuring that the correct side is facing outwards. Some wheels have graphics or angled cuts that indicate which side should be on the outside. If your wheels don’t have any specific indicators, you can mount them however you like.
Once you’ve determined the correct orientation, it’s time to secure the wheel in place. Start by placing the axle nut onto the axle and thread it on until it is finger-tight. Using a skate tool or wrench, tighten the nut until the wheel has very little movement between the truck and the nut.
It is crucial to be cautious not to over-tighten the nut as it can potentially damage your bearings. A good rule of thumb is to tighten it until the wheel is securely in place but still allows for smooth rotation.
Other Maintenance Tips
In addition to rotating your skateboard wheels, fixing flat spots, and cleaning your wheels, there are a few other maintenance tips that can help keep your skateboard wheels in good shape and ensure a smooth ride.
Firstly, check your wheels regularly for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any cracking, chunking, or uneven wear, it may be time to replace your wheels. High-quality wheels tend to last longer and provide a smoother ride, so investing in a good pair of wheels can be beneficial in the long run.
Secondly, consider using riser pads. Riser pads are thin pieces of rubber or plastic that can be placed between the deck and the trucks. They help to elevate the skateboard, providing more clearance for the wheels and reducing the chances of wheel bite. This is especially useful if you ride larger wheels or have a skateboard with longboard wheels.
Additionally, consider using bearing spacers. Bearing spacers sit between the bearings inside the wheels and help to maintain proper alignment and spacing. They can improve the performance and lifespan of your bearings by reducing friction and evenly distributing weight and pressure.
Changing your longboard wheels might seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and a little bit of patience, it’s easier than you think. So go ahead, give your ride a fresh set of wheels, and get ready to experience a whole new level of speed and control.
Remember, the key to a smooth ride is regular maintenance, so don’t forget to check your wheels and replace them when necessary. Happy skating!
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