Tips & Tricks

How to use a Skate Tool to adjust your board!

Skate Tool 101

All skateboard and longboard trucks are designed to be adjustable. This allows the skater to dial in their board to match their preferred riding style. A skate tool has everything you need to make adjustments; this picture shows all of the features of a skate tool and what they're used for.

There are several adjustments or replacements you can make to your board. We will discuss the most popular adjustments and upgrades you can make using your skate tool below.

Skate Tool Parts

Trucks

As mentioned above, all skateboard and longboard trucks are designed to be adjustable. This allows the skater to dial in the trucks for their preferred riding style.

How Trucks Work

All trucks have 4 basic parts to make them work. The base, the hanger, the king pin, and the bushings. The base is what is attached to the deck to hold the trucks in place. It also holds the king pin in place at a specific angle. The king pin is the large bolt that keeps the hanger in place. The hanger contains the axle where the wheels are attached and there is a hole in the middle of the hanger that the kingpin inserts through. The bushings are small urethane parts that are installed onto the king pin above and below the hanger.

For a skateboard to turn, the hanger will rotate and compress the bushings to one side. The bushings provide resistance to this rotation which allows the skater to stay in control of the turn. When the skater wants to come out of a turn, the bushings provide assistance in returning the trucks to the neutral position.

Longboard Truck Parts

Adjusting the Trucks

Now that you know how trucks work, it's time to learn how to adjust them. To adjust your trucks, simply use the king pin socket on your skate tool to tighten or loosen the king pin nut on the truck. If you don't have a skate tool, a socket or crescent wrench will also work.

Tightening the king pin nut will compress the bushings and make them stiffer. This increases the truck's resistance to turning and makes the board more stable and less maneuverable. If your board feels like it turns too easily or seems wobbly and unstable, we'd suggest tightening the king pin nut. PLEASE NOTE: do not over tighten the trucks, this will cause damage to the bushings! If you find yourself wanting a stiffer ride after 3 full rotations, you're better off replacing the bushings with harder ones.

Loosening the king pin nut will release the compression on the bushings and make them softer. This decreases the truck's resistance to turning and makes the board easier to turn and more maneuverable. If you're having trouble turning or want to be able to make sharper turns, we'd suggest loosening the king pin nut. PLEASE NOTE: do not loosen the king pin nut so much that the king pin is no longer engaging all of the threads! This could cause the king pin nut to fall off while riding and could cause injury. The king pin should be at least flush with the top of the king pin nut.

Turning with tight trucks

Turning with loose trucks

Bearings

All skateboards and longboards have 2 ball bearings in each wheel making a total of 8 bearings for the entire board. Please note that all bearings will wear out over time and eventually need to be replaced. Here we'll discuss how to dial in the compression of the bearings as well as how to replace them.

Bearing Compression

Each wheel has a nut that holds it to the truck axle called the wheel nut. The wheel nut's job is to simply make sure the wheel doesn't fall off the trucks. However, the tightness of this nut can drastically affect the speed of the bearings. It has to be just right to maximize the performance of your bearings.

If the wheel nut is too tight on the wheel it will slow the bearings down and prevent them from spinning freely. If the wheel nut is too loose and the wheel can slide up and down on the axle, this will decrease the lifespan of the bearings. It is common for the wheel nuts to be slightly too tight from the manufacturer.

Luckily, the skate tool has a wheel nut socket which can easily be used to dial in the wheel nut to the correct tightness. Don't have a skate wrench? A socket or crescent wrench will work just fine. If your wheels are a little slow out of the box, simply loosen the wheel nuts by a quarter turn to free up the bearings and allow them to spin freely.

Replacing Bearings

As mentioned above, bearings will wear out over time and eventually need to be replaced. You might also want to upgrade your bearings to something faster which will require you to remove and replace the bearings as well.

Replacing your bearings is a simple process that can be done by hand using a skate tool and the truck axles. If you don't have a skate tool and socket or crescent wrench would work just fine.

This video shows how easy it is to remove and replace your bearings in the following steps.

  1. Remove the wheel nut from the truck axle
  2. Pry out the old bearings using the truck axle
  3. Slide the new bearings onto the truck axle and press fit them into the wheel
  4. Screw on the wheel nut to the proper tightness

Hardware

Every skateboard and longboard comes with 8 nuts and bolts that are designed to secure the trucks onto the deck. These nuts and bolts are commonly referred to as the hardware or skate hardware. The job of the hardware is quite simple...keep the trucks attached to the deck! You'll want to use the allen key and the hardware socket on your skate tool to make sure the hardware is nice and tight. Because our decks are made with natural materials, this hardware may loosen a little bit over time, but don't worry, simply tighten everything back up with your skate tool and you're all set.

Tighten Longboard Hardware