At some point you are going to need to perform some maintenance on your skateboard, whether you are changing parts, building a new set up, tightening/loosening your trucks, or tightening nuts and bolts. Let’s look at the tools you’ll need to be a Skateboard Mechanic.
Do You NEED a Skate Tool?
Yes and No.
You don’t necessarily need a skate tool, but at the very least you need 3 different sized wrenches, 1 screwdriver, and 1 size of Allen key. The nice thing about a skate tool is that it has all of these tools built into 1 convenient and easy to carry tool.
What Sized Nuts and Bolts are on a Skateboard
Axle Nuts- 1/2″ Nut
The Axle nuts hold your wheels on. They are 1/2″ size so you need a 1/2″ wrench to tighten and loosen them. You need either a socket or a flat wrench to remove these nuts to rotate your wheels and change your wheels and bearings.
Kingpin Nuts – 9/16″ Nut or 5.5 mm Allen Bolt
The nut that you see on the kingpin of your trucks is 9/16″ in size. You need another flat wrench or socket that is 9/16″ to work on your trucks. If you want to change your bushings, washers or pivot cups, or just tighten or loosen your trucks, you need this sized wrench. They can be worked on with a flat wrench but a socket wrench is much easier here.
Inverted kingpins do not have a 9/16″ nut but instead, have a 5.5 mm Allen bolt holding everything together. So you need a 5.5 mm Allen wrench to adjust that.
Mounting Hardware – 3/8″ Nut and 1/8″ Allen or Philips Screw
These are the hardware that holds the trucks to your skateboard deck. All truck/deck mounting hardware use a 3/8″ Nut. But depending on what you have, the screw could be a 1/8″ Allen screw or a Philips head screw. To work on mounting hardware you will need a 3/8″ socket or flat wrench, and either a 1/8″ Allen wrench or Philips head screwdriver.
Is A Skate Tool Worth it?
A skate tool is worth it because it saves you a lot of time assembling the different parts and maintaining components. They don’t take up much space and is an essential piece of gear any serious skater should carry.
Not all skate tools are equal though. A cheap tool can be frustrating in use while a quality tool like the Silver Skate Tool allows you to assemble or fix a board fast.
A List of Handy Tools
There are other tools that are handy to have when working on your skateboard, but none of them are 100% necessary, unless you are doing everything yourself.
This is a necessity for cutting grip tape. You need this to trim the edges of the griptape to your board when you apply new grip tape to a new board. You can also use a utility knife if you want to cut designs into your griptape.
You will want to use a utility knife with a 18mm or 25mm blade width. I don’t recommend using anything thinner, such as a 9mm or hobby knife, because they are flimsy and have a high potential to break and injure you.
A metal file is another useful tool for applying griptape. Rub the metal file along the edge of the board to wear off the “grit” of the griptape to make a nice line for you to cut on. It also makes cutting the grip tape way easier.
Its not completely necessary. You could use any piece of metal, like a wrench, or a screwdriver to achieve the same result, but a metal file does the job faster in my opinion. Some people don’t file the edge of their griptape before cutting, but it is much more difficult to get the knife to cut the griptape this way.
Dies are used to thread metal pipes or rods. What a skateboarder would use a 5/16″ Die for, is to rethread their axles. Sometimes the far outside threads of an axle get so beat up a that you cannot get the nuts back on. This is where a Die tool comes in handy. You basically screw the Die onto the axle and it cuts you new threads.
A Bearing press does what its name suggests. It helps press bearings into your wheels. Again, this isn’t totally necessary. You can line your bearings up on the axle with your board on its rail, place the wheel over the bearing, and use your body weight to press the bearing into the wheel.
A bearing remover will help you pull the bearings from your wheels. But another way to remove your bearings is pry them out on the axle, or use a screwdriver. You need to remove your bearings to clean them, or if you are changing them for new ones.
Why You Need a Skate Tool
You only need 10 tools to fix a skateboard so why buy a skate tool? Well obviously you don’t want to carry around all those tools and they are easy to get lost. Here are a couple of reasons why we recommend skate tools.
1. More Economical
A skate tool is about $20-$40. (I bought mine on sale for $13) If you could buy all the tools you need individually, it would probably cost you $50- over $100 to get all 10 tools. But, most wrenches, dies, and screwdrivers are sold in sets, and not individually, so you would have a wrench set, a die set, an Allen wrench set, and a screwdriver set.
If you don’t need all these extra tools, there is no sense in buying them. If you do need them for other things, chances are you already have most of them.
2. More Convenient
Skate tools have all the tools you need in one lightweight tool (Except the knife). It is easy to throw it in a backpack pocket, or the glove box of your car to take with you to the skatepark. The 10 tools are not easy to carry. They are heavy and clunky to skate within your backpack.
3. They are Good Quality
If you are buying a skate tool from a reputable company (Silver, Reflex, Independent, Rush, Etc) they are good quality and will last you for a long time. Just like purchasing components for your skateboard, with skate tools, you also get what you pay for. Avoid unknown brands; there is probably a reason they are the cheapest.
Skate Tool Recommendations
Here are some skate tools we recommend, we tested the Independent tool and the Silver tool. Both great choices though the Silver is our favorite. In general cheap tools are prone to break and won’t last very long. Just like regular tools, a better quality skate tool is recommended. You get what you pay for.
Independent Skate Tool
One tool to rule them all. This tool does everything you could possibly need. It is the only tool you will ever need. The only downside is that it’s rather bulky and sticks out a bit when you carry it in your bag. Just a minor inconvenience I noticed.
- 3/8″ socket for your bolts
- 9/16″ socket to easily tighten or loosen your trucks
- 1/2″ socket to tighten your wheels
- removable Allen wrench with 1/8″ and 7/32″ plus Philipps head screwdriver
- axle rethreader
- bearing press/remover
Silver Skate Tool
This is the one Ruben and I carry. It is inexpensive, lightweight, well made, has everything I need. It fits nicely in my backpack pocket. I love the griptape file and ratchet system makes tightening bolts a breeze. If I ever need a rethreader I’ll pick up the Independent tool.
Compared to a cheap tool, this will save you a lot of time. You’ll be able to replace parts much faster. It feels like a really solid tool and you’ll notice the quality as soon as you get it out of the package. It doesn’t come with a rethreader though.
- Metallic Silver Skateboard Tool Skate Tool from Silver Trucks.
- Two way ratchet system.
- 9/16, 3/8, and 1/2″ sockets.
- Top grip tape file.
- Removable screwdriver attachment.
- Kingpin and axle tool.
- Kingpin Allen attachment.
This is your bare-bones skate tool. They are available from many different manufacturers and will get the job done.
There are no ratchets, files, rethreaders or bearing presses, but they are compact and convenient to carry. They are the least expensive option so maybe the best option if you are the type of person that loses things like this. 😉