How To Put Bearings In Skateboard Wheels – The Ultimate Guide

Knowing how to put bearings on a skateboard is useful since bearings are a crucial part of the skateboard. Luckily, you don't have to be a specialist to be able to do it. This article provides essential information so you can safely replace rusted bearings by yourself. 

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Each skateboard has a total of eight bearings, two for each wheel. Each precision bearing consists of the outer ring, the inner ring, the ball cage, and the balls.  

Some of you might have heard about the ABEC rating (ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineers Committee). It is the standard for the tolerances of the ball bearings. The higher the rating, the more precise and efficient the bearing will be. 

how to put bearings in skateboard wheels

However, the ABEC rating does not provide an accurate reflection of actual performance. 

The differences between ABEC-3 and ABEC-9 bearings are so subtle that they can only be measured in a controlled environment. High-quality bearings ABEC 9 are the priciest bearings. 

Therefore, rather than depending on this rating scale, what you should look for when buying new bearings are the materials that the bearing’s components are made from. 

The type of lubricant applied to the metal ring and the manufacturer’s reputation are also important factors that you should consider. 


How To Remove Old Bearings

Since bearings play a crucial part in keeping the wheels smoothly rolling,  it is advisable to remove them to clean, fix, or replace with the new ones.  

To do this, you are going to need a skate tool. If you don’t have one, a half-inch socket or socket wrench would also do the trick. 

how to put bearings in skateboard wheels

Skate Tool

In case you still want to keep the bearings of your skateboard, make sure you are gentle and careful in the removing process so as not to damage them. Remember to keep all the spacers and washers together in one place to avoid missing them. 


How To Install New Bearings

Some people, mostly skate shops, use a bearing press to insert the bearings into the wheel. It is a useful tool to have, saving time and easing the installation.  

how to put bearings on a skateboard

Bearing Press

However, having a bearing press is not necessary since you probably won’t use it very often. Besides, knowing how to install bearings on skateboard wheels by hand will be extremely helpful when you are outside on the street, without access to a bearing press. 

See also: Top 19 Best Skate Bearings in 2021

Steps to Install Bearings:

Step 1

Place the skateboard on its side with the truck axle pointing straight. 

Step 2

Slide the bearing in the axle. Most bearings have one colored side. Place this side with the shield facing out from the wheels. Otherwise, it won’t fit into the wheel. 

how to put bearing in skateboard wheels

Anatomy Of A Bearing

Step 3

Press the wheel down onto the axle with the palm of your hand until the bearing is in place. 

how to put bearings in skate wheels

Slowly Press Down The Wheel To Get The Bearing In Place

Step 4

Put the bearing spacer into the wheel from the other side. 

Step 5

Repeat the same process to put the second bearing into the wheel. 

Step 6

Place the washers and the wheel into the axle, each washer for each outer side of the wheel. 

Step 7

Fasten the axle nut. 

how to put skate bearings in wheels

Alignment On The Axle

Step 8

Repeat for the other wheels. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer some of the most common questions skaters have on installing skateboard bearings. Hope you find them helpful!

Are Spacers Necessary?

For some reason, people often neglect this tiny component that sits between the two bearings. While beginners can opt for no spacers, high-performance skaters should equip these parts for your skateboard.

The metal cylinder keeps the alignment in the wheel and reduces the weight distributed to each bearing. This in turn, helps to reduce noise, boost bearings’ durability, prevent bearing explosion, and guarantee high speed.  

Spacers are relatively cheap, so getting a set won’t hurt your budget. Alternatively, you can get yourself built-in bearings - bearings with half a spacer attached to it. This bearing type could save time changing wheels since you don’t have to deal with separate spacers. 

Are Washers Necessary? 

Washers are another overlooked component of the skateboard. This speed ring creates a buffer between the bearing and the axle nut or the bearing and the hanger.  

Washers are positioned to reduce friction, thus lengthening the bearing’s life and allowing for more steering precision and speed.  

Most bearing sets come with washers. If they don’t, or if you need to replace your old washers, look for them at any hardware store. It pays to take some time to match the diameters of the washers to the inner and outer diameters of the inner races.  

How Do You Know If The Axle Nut Is Tightened Enough? 

You’d better avoid fastening the nut so tight that you cannot spin the wheel.  

Skaters test this by hand. If the wheel is rolling to a sudden stop, then the washers need loosening. Otherwise, if it is wobbling side to side, then the nut asks for some tightening.  

You shouldn’t depend too much on that test, though. Just get on your skateboard and try it out yourself. Checking by hand doesn’t take into account the weight the skater applies to the board.  

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Conclusion

That’s everything you need to know on how to put bearings on a skateboard. Follow our step-by-step instructions and have fun skating!  

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