How to Change Bearings on a Skateboard

Knowing how to remove your wheels to either clean or replace your bearings is essential when it comes to maintaining your skateboard.

Dirt and grime will build up in your bearings and inevitably slow down your skateboard if you don’t regularly clean your bearings.

There are a couple of things you need before you can go ahead and change your bearings. First, you will need a one-half inch (1/2”) socket wrench to unscrew the bolts holding your wheels onto your skateboard.

If you don’t have a one-half inch socket wrench, my recommendation would be to go to your local skate shop and purchase an ‘all-in-one’ skate tool (sometimes called a ‘t-tool’), which comes with three essential size socket wrenches (and other tools) you need to completely disassemble your skateboard.

If you do not have a local skate shop, you can easily head over to the local hardware store and buy the socket wrench you need as they are very cheap.

Next, you’ll need some bearings. The type of bearings you buy is based on preference, so it is completely up to you when it comes down to purchasing bearings.

Bones and Lucky have always been great bearings for me, though.

Removing your old bearings

Unscrew the bolts that are holding your wheels on and be sure to place the bolts and spacers and washers next to you so you don’t lose them.

This next part is a bit tricky – after you slide your wheels off, you will see your bearings inside of the wheel. So how do you get the bearings out?

Well, luckily the axle that you have just slid your wheels off of is the perfect tool for popping the bearings out of the wheel, so we can use that.

Apart from just changing bearings it is also a good idea to lube out your bearings for longer and smoother rides. You can check out this article on best lubricant for skate bearings.

If you are replacing your bearings and plan to throw out your old ones, you don’t have to worry about how gently you proceed with the next step – otherwise, be warned, using too much pressure will most likely damage your bearings.

We will use the axle to pop out each of the eight bearings one by one. Place your skateboard on its side, and use the top axles as your tool. Slide your wheel onto the axle so that the edge of the axle is in the middle of the bearing you are trying to pop out. It is important not to have the axel too far into the wheel or it will be impossible to pop the bearing out.

Once you are in position to pop the bearing out, simply grasp the wheel firmly and tilt your hand in whichever direction you prefer in order to force the bearing out. You will need to use a little bit of force to pop the bearing out. It is always best to do it in one motion to avoid damaging small parts of the bearing.

Repeat this step for the seven remaining bearings. You can now clean and grease your bearings, or begin to insert new bearings into your wheels.

Inserting new bearings

  1. To insert your new bearings, simply place your wheel flat on the ground, and set the bearing flat on the hole of the wheel.
  2. Next, simply press the bearing down into the wheel, but be sure not to push on the colored part because this could certainly damage the bearing and cause unnecessary friction. Make sure the bearings are in far enough – usually, check to see that the bearing is even with the edge of the wheel and that is fine.
  3. Do this for all eight bearings, and then place your four wheels on to the skateboard. If you use washers, you will want to place them on both before, and after you put your wheel on the board.
  4. Washers lessen the friction between the wheel and the axle, and the wheel and the bolt.
  5. Finally, screw the bolt on with your half-inch socket wrench. Make sure you don’t tighten the bolts too much or your wheels won’t spin correctly. To check, spin the wheels on your board.
  6. If everything is on correctly and you have a nice set of bearings, your wheels will spin anywhere from thirty seconds to more than a minute.
  7. Hopefully you have now replaced your skateboard bearings and you no longer have to exert as much effort to go places. Be sure to clean your bearings every so often, depending on how much you skateboard.

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