When to Replace Skateboard Wheels
When I started skateboarding, I used an old skateboard with worn-down wheels. I didn't have a problem with this, but my friend told me I needed to change my skateboard wheels. I was reluctant, but with some convincing, I decided to listen. After I replaced my wheels, I finally understood why he insisted.
It's time to change your wheels if they get an irregular shape, have big flat spots, show signs of flat spots, and if they are coming. Skating on worn-down wheels makes your ride uncomfortable; this can even be the factor that decides if you will land a trick or not.
No matter the quality or hardness of your wheels, they will eventually be worn out. If you don't do powerslides or similar moves, they will deteriorate slower, but just riding will slowly decrease the diameter of the wheels over time due to friction. Hard wheels will eventually show pitting and tears, while softer wheels start to tear, and the diameter decreases faster.
How Long do Skateboard Wheels Last
How long skateboard wheels last depends on many factors; the most important one is the durometer scale. The higher the number on the durometer scale, the longer your wheels will last. Other factors for how long they last are how often you skate, the quality of the wheels, and the type of skateboarder you are.
The surface you ride significantly impacts how fast your wheels wear down. Rough surfaces are the terrain that deteriorates your wheels the quickest. Smooth concrete not only feels good to ride on but doesn't affect your wheels much either. If you only skate on mini ramps made of wood, then your wheels can last up to a decade. You should also never buy low-quality trucks; if they lack quality, your wheels can begin to wobble because your truck's axle has become uneven.
If you do downhill skating or powerslides, you will need to replace your skateboard wheels more often. This especially applies to downhill skaters; in a good session, they can shave off as much as 10 mm of their wheels.
At some point, you are forced to change your wheels; if you think this sucks, you need to take good care of them to increase their lifespan. A nice trick that can make your wheels last longer is to swap the wheels. When you skate, you probably put more weight on some of the wheels, so if you swap them, you will be evening out the damage on all the wheels.
Why Skateboard Wheels Deteriorate
Skateboard wheels are made of urethane, a material with many properties. The important properties that skateboard wheels need are, most importantly, rebound, hardness, compression set, and tear strength.
As your wheel spins, the urethane compresses and expands. This causes resistance when you ride your skateboard; since this requires energy, your wheels slow down.
Friction is the main reason your wheel eventually wears down, but another cause could be that your axels are bent. If your axels are bent, it will result in an a-symmetrical pressure, This can happen with all kinds of truck axles, but most of the time, it results from cheap/low-quality trucks.
Things like low-quality bushings, bearings, or wheels can cause it. In addition, a misaligned baseplate, weather, or even weight can determine how fast your wheel deteriorated.
Another cause can be wheel bite. Wheel bite occurs when one of your wheels comes in contact with the bottom of your deck; this results in a sudden stop because there is high friction between your wheel and board. A way to prevent wheel bite is adding riser pads, which put distance between your wheel and board. Another solution is getting smaller wheels.
How to Make Your Skateboard Wheels Last Longer
When you have used your board for a while, your wheels will start to shape after the way you turn; they will almost look cone-shaped. Commonly, the wheels are shaped unevenly since you probably will favor one side more than the other.
A quick fix is swapping your wheels every 2 to 3 months. If you ride your board frequently, this can increase the lifespan by wearing them out more evenly.
Place your left rear wheel on your right front.
Your right front wheel should go to your left rear
Your left front wheel should go to your right rear
Your right rear wheel should go to your left front.
Something that is frowned upon but is easier to keep track of is just flipping your wheels. this will make them wear out evenly, but the downside is that the graphic on the wheel won't be visible anymore. This might not seem important, but I like showing my wheel graphic.
5 Easy Steps to Replace Your Skateboard Wheels
Use a skate tool or something that can remove the axle nut to make the wheel come off. after you take off the wheel; you can put the parts back on the axel so you don't lose any of them.
If your bearings are in good condition and you want to keep them, you can take them off using a skate tool or your axel. The bearings are fragile, so be careful in this process. Grab the edge of the bearing, and try not to touch the surface.
You need to place your skateboard bearings in the new wheels; you can push them in using your skate tool or axle. Don't forget your spacers and try to put them straight, aligned with the surface of your wheel.
Put the washer on your axle and place the wheel on it. After you have added the other axle then, it's time to screw the axle nut. If you screw it tight, your wheel will have difficulty spinning properly, but if it is too loose, it can fall off and cause accidents.
Step five is repeating the process for all four wheels.
The Science Behind Skateboard Wheels
Skateboard wheels are tested in controlled environments; here are a couple of things they do to test skateboard wheels.
A wheel urethane flat-spot machine is used to test flat spots. First, they measure how much pressure the surface can take. Then, they use a dial indicator and measure flat spots by 1⁄1000 of an inch.
The wheel abrasion machine simulates the long-time use of a skateboard wheel. It uses different tests to measure the wear and durability. after the machine is done, they weigh the wheel and compare it to before the test.
The wheel Concentricity tester is used to check whether the wheel has any wobbles and runs smoothly. They are tested to 1⁄1000 of an inch, and if they fail, they are recycled.
The wheel Dynamometer tests the speed of both the wheel and the bearings.
After all these tests, the wheels are tested by pro skaters and asked for their personal impressions.
Pick the Best Skateboard Wheels for You!
The durability of skateboard wheels will vastly increase if you choose the right wheels for the right purposes. Softer wheels wear down faster, but if you want to cruise, you still need them
If you want to skate a regular skateboard, you should pick hard wheels; this makes it easier to land tricks. If you're going to skate skateparks with ramps, bowls smooth concrete, choose harder skateboard wheels.
If you want to cruise around, you should generally pick softer wheels; if you want cruiserboard/longboard wheels, you need riser pads to avoid wheelbite.
If your wheels aren't spinning properly, it doesn't mean that you need to replace them. Your wheels might be going slow because of dirt buildup in your bearings. if you want to know how to clean your bearings properly, click here
If you want to make, your wheels last along as possible, get wheels suited for the area you are going to skate.
Replace your wheels if you notice signs of flatspots or tearing. If your wheels become cone-shaped, you can either flip them or do a rotation of the wheels.