How to Skateboard with New Trucks and New Wheels

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It’s that time of year where brand new full-complete skateboards have appeared under the Christmas Tree and our local skateparks are packed with new skaters learning how to skate for the first time. This can be a tricky time of year to navigate the skatepark or your new skateboard. But don’t worry, GOSKATE has you covered.

In addition to our skatepark guideline articles helping new skaters thrive at their local skatepark, we also want to help those skaters who might be breaking in new trucks and new wheels for the first time. Getting better at skateboarding is all about being comfortable on your skateboard, so sometimes when you get a new set of trucks and new wheels, you step on your new skateboard only to discover, “Woah this feels different.”

Additionally, if you are unaware you need new trucks or new wheels, you might not be skating as safely as you can. As trucks and wheels tend to break in action, leaving a skater to pick up the pieces… literally.

With decades of skate heritage and world-leading skate instruction under our belts, GOSKATE is here to provide you with proven tips on how to skateboard with new trucks and new wheels.

In this article we’ll be going over:

  • Signs of when you might need new trucks or new wheels
  • Reasons why your board feels different when you do
  • How to skateboard with new trucks and new wheels

Let’s get rolling, shall we?

Why New Trucks? Why New Wheels?

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Knowing when and why you should buy new trucks or new wheels can be hard to determine because your trucks and wheels are the two longest lasting parts of your skateboard. It’s true, some of our skate instructors have had their trucks for two or three years, with wheels lasting over a year in some cases.

So how can you tell when you need new trucks or new wheels?

Signs you need new trucks:

Your board when pushed veers in one direction. This is a sign your bushings are shot and while sometimes you can just replace the bushing and be fine, significant wear has been done on your trucks.

Bent axles are another common reason you will need new trucks. Take your board and hold it out or look downward at your wheels to see if any of them are crooked. There is no “easy fix” for a bent axle and requires new trucks.

Cracked kingpins are another sure way of needing new trucks. While many truck companies sell kingpins on their own, seldom is a kingpin not cracked without other significant damage to the truck. You may hear a rattling or experience misalignment when pedaling. 

Cracked trucks in base plate, axle, kingpin etc. Sometimes one part of your truck will have a crack in it which will eventually lead to a full breaking of the truck. Be vigilant as these crack are usually discovered when it is too late.

Stripped axles where the bolt attached to the truck. This is one of the most common mishaps with your trucks – you strip the axle where the bolt goes on. While this can be extremely frustrating in the streets, you can usually restrip your entire truck. However, many skaters find this is the first sign you’ve had your trucks for a really, really long time and might consider getting new ones.

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Signs you need new wheels: 

Wheels are a bit more ambiguous when it comes to knowing when to replace them. There is also a greater impact of general preference as some skaters like the feeling of new wheels whereas others like their wheels really broken in.

Flat Spots are the most common defect of any wheels. However, many companies provide flat spot proof wheels, like Bones Street Tech Formula and Spitfire F4s. Flat spot technology has come a long way but every skater will experience flat spots in their lifetime at some point. It is very unpleasant and will make you want new wheels as soon as possible.

If you don’t rotate your wheels, one of your wheels will become a cone shape. Just like having to rotate tires on a car, if you don’t rotate your wheels every once in a while, certain tricks like powerslide, reverts, and halfcabs will cause your leading wheel to go cone shaped. This only happens if you’ve been skating your wheels for months and months.

After many, many months of skating the same wheels, your wheels will shrink. Wheels like anything on a skateboard, vary by the millimeter. Just ask any skater, there is a huge difference between 52mm and 54mm wheels, so naturally over time, your 52mm wheels will go to 50mm, 48mm and so forth, affecting how you skate. 

Your wheels can become extremely dirty. This might be ambiguous, since after all you’re rolling around on the streets and muck and gunk is going to get on your wheels. But sometimes you get your wheels so dirty you’re going to prefer buying new ones. Olis, deep pocketed rocks or nails, dog poop, etc.These are some things that might prompt you to need new wheels.

Why Does My Board Feel Different?

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A ton of new skaters are piecing together boards in their first year or two of skateboarding, especially since they start to learn about the sizes and preferences of wheels, trucks, and board shapes. Naturally, some skateboards might feel different at first quite frequently.

But why would your board feel different if you get the exact same trucks and wheels as before?

That’s a good question.

When it comes to new trucks, breaking in new trucks is one of the hardest aspects of getting used to your skateboard since it has the most moving parts. With a base plate, kingpin, kingpin cup, washers, bushings, axle, and 4 bolts, all of these parts are worn out over a period of time. The bushings and the axles are the hardest to break in and many skaters will actually switch their old bushing onto their new trucks. We will have more advice and tips in the next section but just know you are not alone if you have been feeling awkward on your skateboard after having new trucks. Additionally, the grooves from grinds like 5-0 grind, crooked grind, and even 50-50 grinds have vanished with your new trucks. Thus, locking into once familiar tricks might seem like a struggle at first. These grooves will take time to replace themselves. It’s why skaters tend to only put on new trucks in dire situations. But we advise skating a mini ramp or a bowl with pool coping to get those grooves started.

When it comes to new wheels, one of the hardest aspects of new wheels is the slipperiness of the new wheel. Many times, the polyurethane is fresh out of a factory, and will almost feel like its coated in a thin layer of wax. While this also helps with the amazing feeling new wheels provide for a smooth ride, it can be hard at first for skaters to have their usual maneuvering skills. What makes new wheels unique as well, is the surface or environment they are interacting with. For instance, new wheels on heavy gravel, like street gravel, are going to feel different and interact differently than a wooden skate ramp. These are all factors to consider when you put on new wheels and are not largely any cause of concern. 

Why Does My Board Feel Different?

Learning how to skateboard with new trucks and new wheels can almost feel like learning how to skateboard all over again.
  • That’s why first and foremost we recommend you booking a one on one skateboarding lesson with one of our skate instructors. With us at your side, we can give you these proven tips and words of encouragement in real time, as well as teach you new skateboarding tricks and tools.
  • Like we spoke about earlier, sometimes the reason your board feels so different with new trucks is because of the brand new bushings now under your feet. Skaters have been swapping their old bushing out for new ones for decades, while we don’t recommend that per se, we do recommend not adjusting your kingpin bolt for the first couple of sessions. Instead, let the bolt and the bushings come out their natural tension first. This is similar to when you get a new pair of shoes. Instead of grabbing the laces and pulling them tight as soon as you get them, you enjoy the crisp new feeling and let it wear out a little naturally.
  • When it comes to wheels, we recommend skating on a smooth surface at first, like your trusted local skatepark or an indoor skatepark. This is for several reasons, including enjoying that new wheel feeling. But you also want to skate in an environment a bit more tailored to skating so there’s no debris or randomness that affects the comfort you have on your skateboard.
  • We also recommend our beginner skateboard package for anyone looking to have a complete skateboard made of high quality products that you’ll be comfortable with after your first day skating.
Zane Foley

Zane Foley has been writing professionally since 2014, since obtaining his BA in Philosophy from the California State University, Fullerton. Zane is an avid skateboarder and Los Angeles native. Follow him on Instagram for links to his other published works. @zaneyorkfly