After getting a new skateboard, the most common question people have is about the tightness of your wheels. This is because wheels are integral to your skateboard setup and determine many aspects of your riding experience.
So, one of the fundamental things of skateboard adjustment and maintenance is to know how to and when to loosen skateboard wheels. Below, I have discussed the whole procedure in detail, with and without tools.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Should I loosen my skateboard wheels
Only you can answer this question. But as a beginner, you might not have sufficient knowledge in this regard. So, I’ll discus over the wheel loosening, and you’ll be able to figure out the answer yourself.
Typically, a brand new skateboard can have weird handling and control, resulting in an unpleasant skating experience.
On top of that, every skater has different preferences and riding styles. According to that, they make necessary adjustments that suit their riding style.
One key aspect of this adjustment is adjusting the wheels and trucks. Changing these two parts can significantly change how you ride a skateboard.
Before you decide whether you want to loosen your skateboard wheels, make sure you take the decision considering your skill level, your riding style, and, most importantly, your comfort with loose wheels.
You should loosen your wheels if you think you can benefit in all these sectors from tightening. The best thing to do is try both tight and loose wheels and find your comfort zone.
Otherwise, the stock set can be a good choice for a beginner. In the next part, we’ll further discuss why skaters loosen wheels, and you might get a good idea of whether you want loose skateboard wheels.
Why you need to loosen wheels
You might have heard your fellow skaters talking about loosening their wheels as a beginner. However, if you plan to do that, you need to be fully aware of how to do it and, more importantly, what changes it’ll bring to your skating experience.
Below, I have discussed a few key reasons why skaters loosen their wheels; you need to do so too.
Wide turning radius
The first step of learning skateboarding is maintaining balance on the skateboard. Then, you next need to learn to turn the skateboard. Unfortunately, this is where it gets tricky for a lot of beginners.
When a sharp corner comes up, many newcomers mess up the turns as the stock wheel setting only offers a steep turning radius.
Because of that, beginners often have difficulty getting a grip on maneuverability and getting used to the board. So, if you are a beginner, you can try loosening your wheels slightly.
This way, you’ll have more space to make the turns and freedom of movement.
Great for performing tricks
This is the primary objective of loosening the skateboard wheels for most skaters. Skateboarding is all about doing tricks, and it’s the most fun part. So for most people, the goal of learning skateboarding is getting into tricks.
In case you don’t know, let me inform you that tricks are all about smoothness and fluidity.
It can become an issue for performing tricks if you have tighter wheels that don’t spin as freely as you need. You won’t have fluidity, and you must push the board harder even if you have managed to do tricks.
But on the other hand, loosening the wheels will turn to learn repetitive and boring tricks into a fun experience.
No matter which trick you want to learn, the landing is a step common in every trick. Landing is a crucial part of every trick you’ll know, and without proper board adjustment, you’ll land on your face instead of landing on your feet and finishing the trick successfully.
While the landing is entirely under your feet’s control, skaters don’t have the time to fix the landing with tight wheels. The tighter your wheels are, the more accurate your landing is, as you won’t have time to readjust.
Perfecting the landing often takes years of practice. In that scenario, if you have loose wheels.
You can easily afford some margin of error if you have loose wheels. Even if you mess up the landing, you can lean a bit and compensate for the landing.
That’s why keeping wheels loose is one of the fundamentals of skateboarding tricks.
Braking is an important part of skateboarding, learning to stop a skateboard at your will. As I mentioned, loose wheels offer a certain type of fluidity, which is absent in tighter wheels. When you put pressure on loose wheels, they come to a stop gradually.
On the other hand, tighter wheels suddenly stop and can catch you off guard. Eventually, you might end up falling off the bard and landing on your face.
What tricks you can do with loose wheels
Pretty much any trick you can think of involves swift braking and perfect landing. These conditions can only be fulfilled if you have loose wheels under your skateboard.
That being said, almost any skateboard tricks, including drop-in, flip, manual, ollie, or any related tricks, can be done more conveniently with loose skateboard trucks.
It makes landing so much easier, even with a little error, and prevents stress on feet and ankles.
What tools do you need to loosen your skate wheels?
Loosening your skateboard wheel is a simple task. So the tool required for the job is equally simple. All you’ll need is an adjustable wrench or a skate tool. In case you don’t know, let me tell you what a skate tool is.
It’s a T-shaped multipurpose tool with several pieces, and each piece serves a different purpose in tightening, assembling, or repairing your skateboard. There are a lot of skateboard models on the market these days that come with a skate tool.
But, even if it doesn’t, you can buy this handy tool for around $10 to $20.
Prerequisites for loosening wheels
If you are thin gig about making adjustments to your skateboard wheel, here are some prerequisites you must consider carefully before proceeding.
- Gather all the necessary tools
- Try the wheel tightness first on the skateboard.
- Proper research to find out how to lose you want the wheels
- Be informed about the outcome of loose wheels
How to loosen skateboard wheels (step by step)
Here we are at the main concentration of this discussion. Now that you know the prerequisites of loosening skate wheels and have gathered the necessary tools let’s move on to the loosening process.
The process is pretty easy, and you can do it within minutes by following the steps below.
- Step 1: You first must examine your skateboard setup, especially the wheels. Try to turn the wheels with your hands and see how it rotates. If you notice eth wheels are stooping suddenly instead of gradually stopping, then the wheels are too tight. Sometimes, the stiff rotation cab is the result of seized bearings too.
- Step 2: Now that you are certain the wheels are not loose enough, let’s grab a skate tool to deal with the axle nuts. The axle nuts hold the wheels in place on the axle tightly. Now keep loosening the nuts and see how the wheels roll. After loosening a bit, check whether the wheels are rolling freely. Keep adjusting the axle nuts until you reach the point of satisfaction.
- Step 3: In this step, you must ensure that all the skateboard wheels are loose equally. Otherwise, the skateboard will be imbalanced, and it’ll eventually crash land after a trick. Use the technique mentioned in step 1 to examine if the wheels are rotating equally. If it does, then you have successfully loosened up your skate wheels.
How to loosen wheels without tools
Loosening your skate wheels without any tool is almost the same as you do with tools. But, first, you must examine the wheel setup and see how tight the wheels are. One key difference is that you’ll use your hand to loosen the axle nuts instead of a skate tool.
The process is pretty straightforward, but at the same time, loosening a tight axle nut can be very stressful for your hand and finger. As a result, you might end up with bruises on your hand.
Therefore, this technique should only be used if you have no way to aces a skate tool.
That’s a wrap for today. I hope my guide was helpful enough to teach you how to loosen skateboard wheels.
However, as you have seen in my discussion, just knowing how to adjust the tightness is not enough. You must know exactly how loose or tight your wheels need to be for a particular purpose or type of skating.
Moreover, the tool less procedure will greatly help and encourage you to do the job more often. As a result, you’ll enjoy the benefits of loose wheels more often.
Hi, this is Jerry, a skateboarder, who loves to talk about micro-mobility and future of that industry. Coming from motion engineering background, I am very enthusiast about speed, motion, balance and technology. I have taken a mission to carry the fuel free, environment friendly micro-mobile industry forward by educating people about micro-mobile products especially skateboards and longboards. I love skating around very much and encourage people to do so. Its a fun believe me.