Properly installing bearings into the skateboard is one of the most important tasks of the skateboard build. Without the bearings seated properly in the wheels and the axle nuts tightened down, the board cannot roll freely and quickly. It can also lead to pre-mature bearing failure and/or serious rider injury. Here is our step by step guide to professionally install your new skateboard bearings.
Step 1) Read All of These Instructions!
Seriously dudes, before getting started, please read all the install instructions. It will help you make sure you understand what you are doing and help avoid mistakes. Mistakes here could destroy your bearings.
You will need:
- Skateboard Truck
- Skate tool or 5/16" socket wrench
- Skateboard wheels
- Skateboard bearings
- Spacers and Speed Rings Optional, but strongly recommended
Step 2) Have a Truck Handy
Do not attempt to install bearings into wheels without a truck. The truck is going to act as your bearing press. Also, we strongly recommend bearing spacers and speed rings. These make sure the bearings are properly aligned and seated perfectly. If you don't have any, Amazon offers our Dragon Spacers and Speed Rings at a great price.
Step 3) Remove Old Bearings
Getting the old bearings can be very easy (soft durometer longboard wheels are cake) or very hard (hard durometer shortboard wheels can be a pain). However, if you use the truck hanger as a leveraging point, getting the bearings out is much easier. Wiggle the bearing back and forth while on the axle to pry the little buggers out of there. Don't give up!
- Remove wheel from axle.
- Slide the wheel off the axle so that only one bearing is on the axle.
- Rotate the wheel back and forth, using the axle to leverage the bearing out of the wheel.
Have patience and keep at it. Do not press down on the shields. Focus on prying out the bearing with the axle inside the inner race.
Step 4) Install New Bearings
Alright, the fun part! If you are installing on new trucks, take one of the two speed rings (small washers) off of the truck axle. If you do not have speed rings on the truck axle, place the following on the truck axle, in this order.
- Speed Ring
Once you have all the parts aligned on the axle, take the wheel in the palm of your hand with the graphic side facing outwards. Push it into the bearing on the axle, towards the kingpin of the truck.
The goal here is to get that first bearing pressed into the wheel. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get it mostly seated inside of the wheel. We will tighten everything down later to perfectly align the seating.
Step 5) Seat the Bearings
Seating the bearings is the most important part of the process if you want to go fast. Bearing spacers seriously help with this.
With the first bearing (mostly) seated, flip the wheel over and align the other bearing into the back of the wheel. Press down to seat the second bearing. Both bearings should now be on the skateboard truck axle.
Take the other speed ring and put it on the axle. Finger tighten on the axle nut. Using a ½” socket, tighten the axle nut. Some little clicks might be heard while doing this. This is the sound of the bearing seating into the wheel. It's good.
Once tight, take a bit less than a quarter turn off the axle nut. This should now allow the wheel to spin freely. Make sure the wheel does not have play along the axle as this means it is too loose.
Do this three more times on the other wheels.
Step 6) Check the Bearings
Before going out on the street, slowly ride around the garage or house (if mom lets you) to make sure everything is installed correctly. The last place you want to find a problem is when bombing a hill or blasting a trick, so be sure to double check your handy work.
Wheels should spin freely and quietly if the install was successful. Don't worry too much if your wheels don't spin for a long time. There is no load on the bearing, so this is not an accurate depiction of how fast the bearings are.
There you have it! Get out and shred.
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