Wheel Maintenance: How to Clean, Rotate, and Extend the Life of Your Wheels

portrait of a woman using a skateboard

Whether a skater is new or used to the sport of skateboarding, their riding experience is always improved if they keep up with cleaning rotating, and extending the life of their board’s wheels! What are the best ways to keep skateboard wheels safe, clean, and rolling for as long as possible? Here are the best ways to take care of a board’s wheels!

When skating feels wobbly or is accompanied by odd sounds, it’s time to clean and rotate the wheels or replace them. Remove the wheels and soak them in soapy water, remove grime with a wire brush, and wipe them dry. Rotate the wheels in an X pattern to even out their wear.

What are the specific steps to take when removing and cleaning skateboard wheels? What are the benefits of cleaning and rotating the board’s wheels? Let’s go over in depth what to know and do when it comes to maintaining healthy skateboard wheels!

1. Cleaning Skateboard Wheels

It’s easy to forget that skateboard wheels can get filthy during a day of exciting writing. Sand, dust, mud, puddles, and random spills can dirty up and cling to wheels within seconds. If the ride on the skateboard is wobbly or thudding, or if the wheels feel soft or oily, they need to be cleaned! If the ride on the board isn’t smooth, that’s a good indicator that it’s time for a cleaning. If wheels aren’t cleaned, riding can become dangerous since the wheels won’t be able to gain proper traction in skate parks or on cement!

So change into clothes that can get dirty and gather and prep a bucket of water or have a sink ready to use. From there, lay a towel down on a flat surface like a floor, counter, or table. Put the skateboard on this flat surface and use a skate tool or wrench to take off the wheels and bearings. Do this by taking off each bolt on the truck’s axle and positioning the axle of the truck inside the mouth of the bearing at a 45-degree angle to create a crowbar-like effect to pry the bearings out. Proceed to take off all the wheels and their bearings and clean them thoroughly. Make sure that the wooden deck of the skateboard and the bearings are kept as dry as possible.

Take the removed bearings and put them in a cup of isopropyl alcohol before moving on the cleaning the wheels. This step will clean the bearings and make for a smoother, faster riding experience! Take the bearings out of the wheels so that the soap can start dissolving the filth in the bearing beds. Use the aforementioned bucket of water or sink to soak the wheels in soapy water. Use a bit of average Dawn dishwashing soap to clean out the wheels with soapy water and run the wheels under hot water to rinse and loosen dirt. After the wheels soak for a bit. Use a wire brush, which can be bought from an online store, a local dollar store, or from a local hardware store to scrub away embedded gunk.

Use a rag, cloth, or paper towel to clean the wheels and their inner tracks thoroughly. Drying the wheels is so important since wet wheels will attract dirt and grime and will make for a rougher ride. It is very important to dry them completely before putting in the bearings and attaching the wheels to the skateboard. If the wheels are not dried, water can travel to the bearings, sit on the metal, and create rust. The moisture can even get to the board and make it soggy! A rag or a couple of paper towels are the perfect tools to use to dry each wheel separately and then leave them in the sun to dry.

kitchen sink closeup water running into the drain


Finally, reassemble the wheels on the board. Take this opportunity to rotate the wheels so that they wear evenly. Rotating them like this will heighten the smoothness and overall life of the wheels. Follow the above steps in reverse order to attach the wheels. Now it’s time to hit the skate park again!

Skateboard wheels are porous and thus extremely sensitive to water and grime, so this type of proper cleaning is crucial! The wheels are also situated right by the skateboard’s water-sensitive bearings, so the whole board shouldn’t just be hosed down with water!

To prevent wheels from getting too dirty in the first place, take some precautionary measures! Drag the skateboard’s wheels diagonally and crisscross against a brick to scrape off the waxy or gunky residue. Safely skate down a steep incline that’s a bit gravelly to build up speed and heat the wheels with friction so they can shed dirty debris! Going forward, try to skate carefully enough to avoid puddles, grease, pits, and gum on the roads! From there, just make sure to regularly update and rotate the wheels.

2. Rotating Skateboard Wheels

Rotating skateboard wheels is an important skill to develop since it will greatly prolong the life of the wheels. All skaters will need to rotate their wheels at some point to maintain their ride. Wheel rotation prolongs the life of the skateboard and helps the wheels wear evenly over time. After removing the wheels, make sure to rotate them in an X pattern. The left rear wheel should become the new right front wheel. The right rear wheel should then become the left front wheel.

3. Extending the Life of Skateboard Wheels

All skateboard wheels will wear down over time, their diameter decreasing with use. Flat spots can even form on the wheels due to riding on rougher surfaces. The rate at which a skateboarder wears down their wheels and then replace them depends on how hard and often they skate.

A great way to extend the life of skateboard wheels is by replacing them. As skateboards are ridden, their wheels will lose their rebound, which can cause loosened bearing grips. The life of skateboard wheels can be lengthened if they are checked and rotated regularly by the skateboard owner.



4. Making Skateboard Wheels Spin Faster

There are some great, easy ways to speed up a skateboard ride and make it more exciting! If it feels like the wheels are turning too slowly, try slightly loosening the axle nuts or try cleaning the contact surface of the wheels. It’s also a terrific idea to clean the skateboard bearings if they are dirty and making noises. Also, try swapping the skateboard wheels around to avoid size differences and buy some quality bearings to go on the board. Finally, research and buy wheels that will match your specific style of riding!

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