Skateboarding is one of the most interesting activities in the sense that in order to create this amazing catalog of tricks, skills, relationships, and abilities, etc., you have to essentially destroy your skateboard in the process.
Grinding, sliding, jumping down stairs sets, skating big ramps, and all the bails and falls in the process all chip away (literally and figuratively) at your skateboard. In fact, many pro skateboarders will break several skateboards just trying to land one trick and will hardly ever skate a skateboard deck more than a few days.
While you’re not a pro skateboarder who skates 15 hours a day, you’re still going to need a new skateboard every so often. While the trucks and wheels can last months, even years, your skateboard deck and bearings will need to be replaced much more frequently. Here are some proven ways to know when you need a new skateboard.
In this article we’re going to go over:
- Basics for How to Know When You Need a New Skateboard
- Different parts of the skateboard
- How to tell when they need to be replaced
- Solutions for when you need a new skateboard
Basics for How to Know When You Need a New Skateboard
What do we mean when we say there’s basics to know when you need a new skateboard? Well, there’s actually all kinds of reasons you might need a new skateboard other than the wear and tear of everyday skateboarding.
Here are a few reasons why you might need a new skateboard:
- You accidentally road your board through mud or water, causing rusting of the bearings and trucks or waterlogging the deck of your skateboard.
- The first skateboard you bought was the wrong type for a beginner skateboard. For instance a long board is not conducive to learning skateboard tricks.
- You left your skateboard out in the sun for several days (sometimes hours) and caused sun spots or warping on the skateboard deck.
- You or your loved one did not buy a complete skateboard from a reputable source in skateboarding and received a low quality skateboard not suitable for skateboard tricks.
- Your skateboard has been sitting in the garage and the worn out grip tape or crooked front wheels makes it hard to even skate flat ground or have proper feet positioning when learning tricks.
As you can see, there are several factors and reasons that go into learning how to know when you need a new skateboard than normal wear. This is also very important since many skaters receive their first skateboard as a hand-me-down.
While these boards might even get you on the right path to comfortably riding on flat ground, you will need a new skateboard to start learning skateboard tricks.
And once you do have your new complete skateboard, each part of the skateboard will have different lifespans for when you need a new skateboard. Which brings us to our next section.
Different Parts of the Skateboard and How To Tell When They Need to be Replaced
Knowing the different parts that make up a skateboard is one thing, but knowing when they need to be replaced is a whole different ball game. This is especially important because being unaware of the status of these individual parts can actually be dangerous. Boards can snap in half, trucks can break an axle, wheels can crack and bearings can fly out the wheel causing instant slams.
The last thing you want to happen right when you drop into a ramp is see your wheel shooting off the other side. To keep you safe and productive on your skateboard, GOSKATE is going to list every individual part and add some bullet points to look for so you can tell when they need to be replaced.
Grip Tape: The grip tape is the sandpaper topping of your skateboard that provides grip with your shoes and skateboard. The grip tape is especially important since it’s what allows your foot to travel up the board and produce tricks like the ollie and kickflip.
- Your grip tape is muddy or dirty and loses its stickiness
- You’ve spray painted too much of your grip tape and it’s no longer sticky
- Your grip tape is peeling at the edges and leaving the top of your board exposed
- Your grip has too many bubbles or sunspots from being left outside
Skateboard Deck: The skateboard deck might be the most enigmatic part of a skateboard when it comes to knowing when it should be replaced. However, when your board snaps in half it’s also the easiest. But there are other factors that go unnoticed especially to the beginner skateboarder.
- Cracked board, generally cracked through the top layer and makes the board flex much more than normal.
- Square tail or razor tail, when the popping of ollies have flattened the edge of the tail making it sharp like a razor and worn down so much the shape of the tail starts to flatten into a square.
- Warped board from being left in the sun or up against a wall for too long. The tail and nose of your board are made from delicate concaves that over time can go warped from weather damage.
- Waterlogged board from riding through a puddle or being left out in the rain. You can tell when a board is waterlogged when its pop is muffled and the board is extra heavy. Think a soggy, gloomy pop versus the bright pop of a fresh deck.
- Delamination of a skateboard deck can be even a board you bought from a skateshop. Always take a careful look at a skatepark and make sure its layers are not coming apart. That is when the glue didn’t do its job or something in the machine press caused a delamination. However, it can also happen over time due to weather or leaving your skateboard in the trunk on too many hot days.
- Personal preference should also be mentioned here. Some skaters like our GOSKATE instructors like to have a new skateboard deck every month or two, whereas some of our beginner students might have their skateboard deck for half a year.
Trucks: Skateboard trucks can also be either pretty ambiguous on when to replace or very obvious when they crack in half. However, cracking in half doesn’t happen very often, especially for the beginner skateboarder, and there are subtle but impactful changes in your trucks that indicate when is the proper time to replace them.
- The most common need for a truck replacement or a replacement of one of the parts of the truck are when the bushings are smashed beyond recognition. The bushing are the colorful plastic fixtures that sit on your kingpin above and below your axle. They are responsible for how your board turns, so when they are smashed they can be a real problem. Give your board a little push without you on it, if it veers to the left or right and not straight, you might need new bushings. Luckily this fix is one of the most affordable fixes so you won’t need to completely replace your trucks.
- Bent axles are one of those pesky truck problems that can fly under the radar for a few days before you notice. So make sure you pick up your board, flip it over and bring it to eye level to make sure none of the wheels look crooked. If you bend an axle (which is usually just one wheel’s axle) you virtually have to buy new trucks immediately. There is no real fix for this and it will cause you to ruin your wheels in the process.
- Your kingpin is the last big indicator when it comes to needing to replace your trucks. The kingpin is what the bushing and the main tightening bolt are connected to in order to hold the parts of your truck together. The kingpin fits into a plastic “cup” that often gets destroyed over time and should be replaced as such. However, kingpins are also known to snap and crack but luckily most skate shops sell them independently from trucks for an affordable replacement.
Wheels: The wheels of the skateboard everyone knows, after all they are what keep us rolling. But there are some indicators that you need new wheels that the average skater might not know about.
- Flat spots are the most common and most notable effect on your wheels. Suddenly you’ll be skating and an audible thumping and lumpiness in your ride will occur. While sometimes this is just a nail or rock or even a piece of gum stuck on your wheel, flat spots can happen suddenly and quite often, especially in old wheels. Nowadays manufacturers make flat spot resistant wheels but a harsh kick turn or revert can cause them.
- If you are someone who skates a lot of transitions or is learning how to kickturn and constantly is reverting your board on the ground, eventually your leading wheel, one of your two front wheels, will start to morph into a cone-like shape. While this isn’t so common for more experienced skaters who skate on both ends of their board doing nollies and ollies, the beginner skater can fall victim to the coned wheel much easier without noticing.
Bearings: Your bearings are easily the most fickle part of your skateboard and need replacing the most–besides perhaps a skate deck. That is because your bearings are the most vulnerable part of your skateboard to weather and skatepark debris.
- You’ll know when you need new bearings by spinning your wheel and noticing it’s making way too much noise before coming to a stop. Your wheels should spin easily over 20 seconds, and quite often closer to 45 seconds to 1 minute.
- The other way to tell if you need new bearings is if when you’re skating around you’ll notice your wheels and bearings sound like mice. They make a hissing sound when you skate. You can add some WD40 to help but your bearing’s days are numbered.
Hardware and Misc: The bolts, nuts, and screws of your skateboard are super important to skating. They keep everything intact and together but even so often are neglected or taken into account for replacement.
- You will notice a hardware bolt missing after it’s too late. This can even happen on the bolts that go on the outside of your wheels. Always check your hardware and bolts to see if they need replacing.
- Stripped bolts and screws are also one of the most common indicators you need to replace this part of your skateboard. That being said, it almost always happens too late. You just drove an hour to the skatepark and the next thing you know your board is falling apart. Always carry a skate tool and extra hardware on you or ask a friend at the skatepark.
- Your shoes are also a member of your skate equipment that frequently needs to be replaced. If your shoes are ripped exposing your socks, this is a clear sign you need new skate shoes.
Solutions for when you need a new skateboard
Knowing you need a new skateboard or new skateboard is only half the battle. We’re going to give you some pointers and tips on solutions for where and when you need a new skateboard.
- Head to your local skate shop and ask someone behind the skate counter to help you replace a piece or complete skateboard.
You can buy skateboards online such as Amazon and Target. We actually have a list of some of the best complete skateboards you can order online.
We encourage you to consider our GOSKATE Beginner Skateboard Package for replacing your skateboard. Honestly, most new skaters choose a beginner skateboard that isn’t right for them. Maybe they bought it at a Walmart or a non-skater owned company and received low grade parts.
Our beginner skateboard package provides skaters with a complete skateboard perfect for learning skateboard tricks and mastering the fundamentals of skateboarding. You also received a complete skateboard that you don’t have to piece together. That way, you can get completely comfortable with a complete skateboard and not have to readjust with every new piece of equipment.