If you would like your skateboard wheels to spin faster so you can go faster, the issue is not always with the wheels. In fact, there are a few things you can do to make your skateboard wheels go faster:
- Slightly loosen the axle nuts
- Clean the contact surface of the wheels
- Clean the skateboard bearings if they are dirty and make noise.
- Swap the wheels around to avoid size difference
- Get quality bearings
- Buy wheels that match your style
The first, and easiest method of making skateboard wheels spin faster is to loosen the axle nuts. If they are too tight, they will keep your wheels from spinning freely. You can also clean the wheels and bearings or replace them if necessary.
It is not typically necessary to do all of the above in order to get your wheel spinning faster. You may, however, find that doing the right combination will work the best for you.
The options we have for you here are not a once-and-done deal. You will find that you are doing them on a regular basis as part of the routine maintenance. Keeping these things on a schedule, regardless of whether it is cleaning the wheels or lubricating the bearings will make a difference in how much you enjoy the sport.
1. Loosen The Axle Nuts
Loosening the axel nuts is always going to be the first option to consider when your skateboard wheels are not spinning as fast as you like. It is easy to do and you might find that you can fix things and get back on the board in a matter of minutes.
Before making any adjustments to the axle nuts, check the wheels and the tightness of the axle nuts by spinning the wheels by hand. When you spin them, they should spin freely and stop gradually.
You know you have a problem if the wheels spin and stop suddenly or perhaps even revert by going the other direction after stopping. If that is the case, the axle nuts are probably too tight.
Use a skate tool to loosen the axle nut slightly. Turn it counterclockwise, but don’t turn it too far. Typically, it will only take a slight turn to loosen things up. It is better to make several small adjustments than to chase the tightness by going too far with the first attempt.
After loosening the axle nut, spin the wheel by hand again. Continue to loosen it bit by bit until the wheel spins without stopping suddenly.
You can also tell that you’ve gone too far if the wheel begins sliding loosely on the axle. Tighten the axle nut slightly if that is the case.
There is always going to be a sweet spot and eventually, you will know just how far to make the adjustment. It is something you might do regularly, so be sure to have a skate tool in your pocket or backpack when you go out.
2. Clean Your Skateboard Wheels
You will probably find that you are cleaning the wheels on a regular basis. It’s easy to do, and it can make a difference in both the speed and the feel of the ride.
It doesn’t make a huge difference, but if the contact patch shows signs of gum or tar on the wheels, you can sometimes remove it by gently sliding the skateboard back and forth on the pavement. Be careful you don’t flatten the wheels in the process.
If the wheel itself needs to be cleaned because it has a lot of oil or grease on it, you can remove the wheels using a skateboard wrench. It’s best to clean all of the wheels at the same time.
After removing the wheels, you should remove the bearings. Do not clean the bearings and the wheels in the same solution.
The wheels should be cleaned in warm, soapy water. You can use Dawn dishwashing liquid or another type of dishwashing liquid as the soap.
You may need to scrub the wheels to clean them properly. A wire brush can be used carefully or you can use an old toothbrush. Be careful not to damage the wheel while you are scrubbing it.
Dry the wheels before putting them back on. Putting the bearings back before the wheels are dry is asking for trouble in the form of rust. In addition, wheels that are not properly dried will be more likely to get dirty quickly.
The best way to dry skateboard wheels is to use dry paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. After drying the wheels, dry them further by leaving them out in the sun for a few hours.
Although it is not necessary to do so, you might want to consider rotating the wheels since you already have them off. Doing so will prolong their life and limit uneven wear.
While you have the wheels off, you may also want to consider cleaning the bearings. Routine bearing maintenance can make a difference in the speed of your skateboard wheels.
3. Clean Your Wheel Bearings
Cleaning the skateboard bearings is probably going to make the biggest difference in the speed of your skateboard wheels. The only reason I didn’t include it at the top of the list was because it isn’t the easiest option.
Just like dirt and grease will build up on the wheels, they will also build up on the bearings. The bearings will eventually slow down and if too much time passes, they could even seize up, and then you are going nowhere.
Maintaining the bearings will help them last a long time. It will also keep your skateboard wheels running as fast as possible.
Remove the wheels using a skate tool or wrench. After removing the wheel, don’t lose track of the washers and axle nuts. You can keep them in a small pan until you’re ready to put things back together again.
After removing the bearings from the wheels you should remove the bearing shield. Be careful that you don’t bend or distort the shield. Doing so could cause it to rub against the bearings and slow the wheels down.
Cleaning the bearings is possible using a non-water-based solvent or cleaner. Some options include acetone, mineral spirits, or rubbing alcohol. You can let the bearings sit in the solvent or cleaner for a few minutes or scrub them with a toothbrush to speed things along.
After removing the bearings, tap them on a paper towel or rag to remove as much of the solvent or cleaner as possible. You can also use compressed air to help clean things out.
When lubricating the bearings, use a lubricant that is specifically made for that purpose. Don’t use WD-40 or a similar spray oil because it will wear off quickly and ruin the bearings.
You only need one or two drops in each bearing and then spin them to completely coat the bearing. Repeated for each individual bearing until they are all properly lubricated.
Inspect the bearings for any damage. If there are any problems beyond what a simple cleaning will handle, they should be changed. This is also a great time to upgrade the bearings because the right bearings will help the wheels turn faster.
Replace the bearing shields and put the bearings back on the wheels again.
4. Swap The Wheels Around
If you ride regularly, you may find that you are swapping your wheels out every few months. You can increase the length of time between replacing them by rotating them on the axles. Swap the right front with the left rear, and then swap out the other two.
You may notice some flat spots or signs that a flat spot exists. When wheels are not shaped properly, it makes the ride uncomfortable and impacts speed.
Swapping wheels around regulary will make them wear evenly so you don’t end up with 4 different wheel sizes.
5. Get Quality Bearings
If you maintain your bearings as we described above, you will find that they last for a very long time. There may be instances in which you need to replace them or you can replace them just to speed up the wheels.
Typically, you will notice that your wheels are not spinning freely for more than a few seconds or you will be pushing a lot when skating and that is the sign that new bearings are needed. Bad bearings can also make a lot of squeaking noises.
If you clean and re-lube your bearings and they still don’t spin properly, it’s time to replace them. Fortunately, all skateboard bearings are standard size so you don’t have to choose the size that is needed for your wheels.
You also don’t have to match the bearings with the wheel brand but you should choose quality skateboard bearings from a well-known brand.
Often, making little changes and replacing things when necessary will help to speed your wheels up. You can mix-and-match different wheels and bearings to get something that works well for you and matches your style.
Sometimes, a little change will make your skateboard wheels spin faster and, at other times, it is going take some work or even hit and miss to find the sweet spot. When you do find it, you will enjoy your time on the board even more.
6. Buy New Wheels That Match Your Style
As a last resort, you should consider new skateboard wheels. Skateboard wheel performance depends on the surface you ride. Harder wheels are faster on smooth concrete (like skate parks). Softer wheels work well on rough roads.
Bigger wheels will make you go faster but make it harder to perform tricks. Check our best skateboard wheels, I’m sure you will find a set that works well for you.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.