How to Replace Skateboard Bearings

Replacing your skateboard bearings, installing new skateboard bearings and putting your cleaned skateboard bearings back on can be quick and easy, once you know the tricks. These simple instructions tell you how. 

If you are replacing your bearings, you might need to first remove your old bearings.

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Installing Bearings

Installing new bearings
Jamie O'Clock

First, simply place the new or cleaned bearing into the wheel. Most skateboard bearings have one side with a colored shield. Place this side facing out. The bearing won't fit all the way into the wheel—the fit will be too tight. So simply set the bearing into the wheel.

Next, press the bearing down into the hole, applying pressure on the outside metal rim of the bearing. Do not press on the shield, or the center of the bearing. You should be able to press the bearing down to where it is flat with the edge of the wheel.

Repeat this process with all eight bearings, putting one on each side of each wheel. If you are using ​spacers, put one in each wheel between the bearings.

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Replace the Washers

Replace Washers
Jamie O'Clock

Just like the optional spacers, some skateboarders like to use bearing washers to help reduce friction and let your wheels spin faster. If you don't use washers, then skip ahead to the next step. Washers are tiny metal rings that fit on either side of your bearings. Put one on your axle trucks before you put the wheel on and then one on after the wheel has been slid into place.

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Put the Wheels in Place

Skateboard wheel in place
Jamie O'Clock

With all the bearings set into the wheels, put your wheels on your trucks. It doesn't matter if you have the graphic side of your wheels facing out or not—that's up to you.

Next, fit a nylon inserted half-inch lock nut on the end of your trucks. These nuts usually come with your trucks, but if not, head to a hardware store and get a set of four. Each wheel should be set up as seen in the photo. 

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Tighten the Wheels Softly

Tightening the skateboard wheels using a socket wrench
Jamie O'Clock

Using your skate tool or a socket wrench, tighten each nut down slowly. This will push the bearings down into the wheels. Make sure you take your time and don't crank too hard or fast on the nuts or you can damage your bearings. Tighten each nut down until it feels snug and then stop. Don't crank on the nuts too hard—you want the nuts to fit on snuggly and to have stopped turning. That's it.

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Adjust the Tightness

Testing skateboard wheels to ensure they turn freely
Jamie O'Clock

Now here's the secret: Once the nut has been tightened up and the bearings are all sunk into place, you want to loosen the nut a little. Loosen it and then jiggle the wheel a little, back and forth on the trucks. You want a small amount of play, just enough so you can feel it. When you pull the wheel from side to side, you want it to make a little clack sound—just a little. This will help your wheels to spin faster and more freely.