Bearing Replacement 101: When and How To Change Your Skateboard Bearings

bearing replacement 101 when and how to change your skateboard bearings

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, skateboard maintenance is the key to making sure that your skateboard performs as expected. More importantly, taking care of your skateboard will ensure that it is safe to ride.

When it comes to performance and rider safety, one of the most important parts on a skateboard is the bearings. The bearings allow each wheel to roll smoothly with the least amount of friction. If even one set of bearings fails unexpectedly, the results could be an embarrassing tumble or even worse.

Here’s what you need to know about recognizing when it’s time to change your skateboard bearings and doing the repairs yourself.

When Do You Need To Change Your Skateboard Bearings?

Knowing when to change your skateboard bearings will allow you to take action before a minor problem turns into a serious one. These are the telltale signs that your skateboard bearings need to be changed:

  • The wheels on your skateboard are louder than normal
  • There is an unusual screeching or crunching sound coming from your wheels
  • You are not getting a normal amount of roll on flat ground
  • Your skateboard feels sluggish or heavy
  • It is noticeably more difficult to push off
  • One or more of your wheels seize or freeze up while you’re skating
  • The bearings or wheels feet hot to the touch after a skate session
  • The bearings look worn or rusty

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it may be time to replace your skateboard bearings. Waiting too long can cause damage to your skateboard, or worse, possibly lead to a skating injury. Keep reading to learn how to change skateboard bearings yourself.

Changing Your Skateboard Bearings – XX Easy Steps

You do not need to be an expert to change skateboard bearings yourself. This is a DIY project that any skateboarder can take on. Best of all, knowing how to change your own skateboard bearings is a skill that will save you time and money, so let’s get started.

Step 1 – Gather your tools and parts

As any mechanic or do-it-yourselfer will tell you, the first step of any repair job is to gather your tools and parts. As far as parts are concerned, all you will need are new bearings. 

Tool-wise, the best option (and a good investment if you don’t already have one) is a skate tool. This multi-purpose tool has a built-in socket wrench for removing the axle nuts on the trucks and a bearing press, which is extremely handy for positioning the new bearings in place.

Step 2 – Remove the wheels

On your table or workbench, flip the skateboard on one side so that the axles (trucks) are pointing straight up and down. This will give you easy access to two wheels on the skateboard at a time.

Using your skate tool or a socket wrench, remove the nuts that hold each wheel to the axles. Keep track of the washers as you separate all the wheels from the axles (they like to hide behind the wheels when you take them off). When you’re done with this step, you should have in front of you:

  • 4 wheels
  • 4 nuts
  • 4 washers

Step 3 – Separate the old bearings from the wheels

With all four wheels off, the next step is to remove the old bearings. Keep in mind that there are two sets of bearings in each wheel. There is one on the truck side of the wheel and one on the nut side.

To remove the old bearings, follow these steps:

  1. Grab a wheel and place it partially back onto the axle so that the end of the axle is roughly halfway through the wheel.
  2. The idea here is to use the axle to pop the bearing out of the wheel.
  3. With the axle tip inside one of the bearings, firmly grasp the wheel in your hand and move the wheel in a prying motion.
  4. What you’re trying to achieve here is removing the bearing in the same way that you would use a bottle opener to remove the cap from a bottle.
  5. Once you remove the first bearing, flip the wheel over and repeat this process to remove the bearing on the other side.
  6. Repeat and remove the bearing from the other three wheels.
  7. Some skate multi-tools have a bearing puller which can be used to remove the bearings from the wheels.
  8. Important note – there is usually a spacer between the two bearings in each wheel – you do not want to lose these!

Step 4 – Install your new bearings

If you have a skate tool, it probably has a built-in bearing press, which is useful for inserting new bearings into your skateboard wheels. 

When installing your new bearings, take a moment to inspect them. Some bearings have a protective shield on one side to protect the bearing balls from the elements. Make sure that the shield side of each bearing faces out when installed into the wheel (as opposed to inward so that you can’t see them).

Follow these steps to install new skateboard bearings:

  1. Take one new bearing and place it on the bearing press tool, shield side first.
  2. Place your wheel on a hard, stable surface.
  3. Take the bearing press and firmly press the new bearing into the wheel. Make sure that it is fully inserted and level.
  4. Take another bearing (again, shield side first), flip the wheel over, and insert a spacer. Then, insert the second bearing into the same wheel.
  5. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can take the wheel in one hand and the bearing press in the other and press them together to insert your new bearings.
  6. Another way to install new bearings is to flip your skateboard on its side and use the axle to position each bearing inside its wheel. Slide a bearing onto an axle, take a wheel, and with both hands, firmly press down on the wheel until the bearing is fully inserted into the wheel.
  7. Remove the wheel and repeat for the second bearing. If your skateboard uses spacers between the bearings, be sure to slide a space on top of the second bearing.
  8. Repeat this process for the remaining three wheels.

Step 5 – Re-install your wheels

After all the bearings have been replaced, re-install the wheels onto your skateboard. Don’t forget those washers and take care not to over-tighten those nuts.


If you skateboard regularly, it’s a matter of time before your bearings will need replacement. Changing your skateboard bearings is easy to learn, and with a little experience and the right tools, you can do it in a matter of minutes.

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