Your skateboard wheels should be tight enough that they spin freely. However, you don’t want the wheels so loose that they wiggle on the truck’s axle.
To see if you need to tighten your wheels, put the board on its side, and flick the wheel as fast and as hard as you can with one hand.
If the wheel stops spinning after a few seconds, you’ll want to loosen them.
It’s also possible to over-tighten skateboard wheels, and that will prevent you from getting the most speed out of your board.
How To Tighten Skateboard Wheels
If your skateboard wheels are too loose, you will need to tighten them with either a skate tool or an adjustable wrench.
Insert your cleaned bearings or a new set of bearings into each wheel. Put the wheel on the truck axle with the graphic facing out.
If you don’t know how to clean your bearings, check out this article.
Put a washer on the outside of the wheel and begin hand-tightening the nut, clockwise. Once the nut is threaded, use your skate tool or adjustable wrench to finish tightening.
A good rule of thumb is to be able to spin the wheel freely without being able to wiggle the wheel.
Now, finish tightening the other three wheels.
How Long Should Skateboard Wheels Spin For?
Your wheels do not need to spin freely for more than two seconds. That being said, you need to stand on your board and push around for a few minutes. If it’s difficult to push or the board stops on it’s own, loosen the wheels slightly.
If the wheels are rattling or you’re lacking balance, then tighten them each a little bit.
Keep testing until you find what feels perfect for you.
With that in mind, I always try to keep my wheels spinning freely from my hand for 10 to 20 seconds. If they’re not, I give my wheels and bearings a clean. And if the wheels are still spinning closer to that 10 second mark, I order myself a new set of Bones Reds Bearings.
Pro Tip: New bearings take a while to work in. If your bearings are new and only spinning for 10 seconds, don’t worry. Once they’re broken in you can get them spinning for 30 seconds to a minute depending on the brand and model.
How To Avoid Over-Tightening Skateboard Wheels
If your skateboard wheels feel too tight, loosen them slightly by turning them counter-clockwise. Loosen one wheel at a time until each is able to spin freely by spinning the wheel with your hand.
You can also use washers to help avoid pinching the wheel and bearing into place.
The way that I always tighten my wheels is by leaving them loose and taking my time on each one. After a few turns of the skate tool I test how much the wheel wiggles. Once the wiggling stops or is barely noticeable, I spin the wheel by hand.
When Should I Replace My Skateboard Wheels?
As with any other item, skateboard wheels need to be inspected and replaced when they start to wear out, become cracked, loose, or begin to expose metal or plastic. They should also be replaced when the original manufacturers specify that they’re in need of replacement.
If you’re in need of new skateboard wheels, I suggest checking out this article on soft vs hard skateboard wheels and the pros and cons of each.
Or if you know what you like, here are the soft and hard wheels that I recommend:
Soft Wheels (for cruising and filming)
Hard Wheels (for street)
Hard Wheels (for skateparks)
As I said at the beginning, your skateboard wheels should be tight enough that they spin freely. That being said, we don’t want the wheels wiggling on the axle of the truck.
If your wheels stop spinning abruptly, loosen them. If they’re stopping after a few seconds, try cleaning them, your trucks, and your bearings.
You can also add speed cream to lubricate and increase the speed of your bearings and wheels.
If that doesn’t work, it probably means that it’s time for new bearings. You can check out the ones that I recommend, Bones Reds.