Troubleshooting Wheel Wobbles: Tips for a Smooth Ride

troubleshooting wheel wobbles tips for a smooth ride

A smooth ride is the most important part of enjoying some time on your board. Whether you’re cruising around your neighborhood or shredding at the local skatepark with some friends, nothing puts a damper on things like a bumpy ride.

One of the most annoying problems that skateboarders face is wobbly wheels. Not only does this make a skateboard difficult to control, but in some situations, it can be downright dangerous. Downhill skateboarders actually have a name for it– they call it the death wobble. Luckily, there are ways to combat it. 

If you’re dealing with wheel wobbles and need some advice, you’ve come to the right place! Follow these tips to troubleshoot your wobbly wheel problem and restore your smooth ride.

Check The Board’s Axle Nuts

The most common cause of wheel wobbles is – you guessed it – wobbly wheels: one or more wheels that are loosening on the axles. While it might feel like the end of the world, it’s actually pretty easy to solve.

All you have to do is tighten all the wheel nuts so that each wheel is firmly secured to its axle. Some skateboards have a built-in wrench for this, but you can use any socket wrench, too. As you tighten those loose wheel nuts on your skateboard, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Do not over-tighten the nut too much or the wheel won’t spin freely – also bad.
  • As you check each wheel, pay attention to any signs of unusual wear, rust, or visible debris – that can all affect how a wheel spins or if it wobbles. 
  • Make sure that all the wheel washers are in place – a missing washer could cause a wheel to be improperly tightened and wobbly.

Replace Worn Wheels

Depending on how you skate, worn wheels could be the source of your wobbly ride. Unless you ride in a perfectly straight line, it’s totally possible that your skateboard wheels are wearing out unevenly. And, if you like to shred hard and put your skateboard through its paces, your wheels are almost certainly taking a beating.

Inspect your wheels, and if need be, replace them. Keep in mind that wheel type matters. If you do mostly downhill skateboarding or cruising around the neighborhood, you should use larger, softer wheels. If shredding and doing tricks is your thing, opt for smaller, harder wheels. While the wheel type won’t cause wobbles itself, it will ruin your ride if you choose wrong. 

Tighten Loose Trucks

Another common cause of wheel wobbles is loose trucks. Over time, especially with aggressive riding, trucks will loosen up. Some riders loosen their trucks on purpose to increase agility and turning ability. But when trucks get too loose, it can result in a wobbly ride.

Tightening your trucks is easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  1. Flip your skateboard onto the deck to access the trucks.
  2. Depending on which truck is too loose, you may need to tighten one or both.
  3. Find the kingpin. It’s usually in the center of each hanger. It holds everything together in each truck, including the hanger, bushings, and baseplate.
  4. Most skate tools have a wrench specifically for tightening trucks. Otherwise, you can use an ordinary socket wrench.
  5. To tighten the truck, turn the kingpin nut clockwise as you’re looking down on it.

You may need to test-ride your skateboard to see if the adjustments are improving riding stability. Avoid over-tightening your trucks– that will limit your turning ability and possibly damage your trucks even more.

Change Out Bad Bushings

Bushings help you steer your skateboard and they provide stability between the deck and the trucks. There are two bushings on each truck: the top bushing lies between the kingpin nut and the hanger, and the bottom bushing sits between the hanger and the baseplate.

Most bushings are made from polyurethane, and when they go bad, they can result in a wobbly ride. Replacing your skateboard bushings is a straightforward process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Flip your skateboard over onto its deck so that you have clear access to the trucks.
  2. Work on one truck at a time.
  3. Loosen the kingpin nut and remove the top washer.
  4. Remove the top bushing.
  5. Next, remove the hanger.
  6. The bottom bushing can now be removed.
  7. Replace the bottom and top bushings and re-assemble the truck by performing Steps 3-6 in reverse order (i.e., replace the bottom bushing, then the hanger, and so on).

Just like skateboard wheels, there are different types of bushings for different riding styles. Softer bushings allow greater agility for turning but provide a less stable ride. Harder bushings restrict turning but provide more stability.

Another thing to keep in mind is the heavier the rider, the stiffer the bushings should be.

Check the Wheel Bearings

Another thing to consider is the condition of the bearings. Skateboard bearings allow the wheels to spin smoothly and freely. Over time and with hard riding, wheel bearings can wear out and break down. They can also become damaged by dirt and rust. Faulty bearings can cause a rough, or wobbly, ride.

Telltale signs that your bearings may need replacement include:

    • Uneven or sluggish wheel movement
  • Unusual noises
  • Visible signs of wear, damage, or rust
  • Wheels are hot to the touch after riding
  • Your skateboard is difficult to push off

Leverage Your Body Weight Properly

One last thing to consider when troubleshooting wheel wobbles is that it may not be your skateboard at all. It may, in fact, be you. More specifically, how you stand on your skateboard and where your weight is distributed, can directly affect the smoothness of the ride.

Here are a few tips for maintaining good body position on your skateboard:

  • Maintain a low center of gravity by bending your knees
  • Try to keep most of your weight on your front foot (over the leading truck on your skateboard)
  • Avoid sudden, jerky movements – try to stay relaxed with your body leaning slightly forward


No matter what you use your skateboard for, a smooth ride is vital for safety and enjoyment. Wheel wobbles not only reduce the fun of skateboarding but also pose a serious safety risk. Knowing what to look for is the key to fixing hardware issues so that you can get back to skateboarding safely and comfortably.

Weekend Notice: Orders placed over the weekend will be shipped the following Monday.