Trucks are probably the most important part of your skateboard setup. I owned several different skateboard setups and trucks of varying quality and brands. This article will help you to decide when would be a good time to change your trucks.
So when should you replace your skateboard trucks? You should replace your trucks when they are warped, have small cracks, bent axles or damaged baseplates. Sometimes you can replace parts like the kingpin, nuts, baseplate, washers, bushings, pivot cup or hangar without having to buy a completely new set.
Many pros, and amateurs alike, hate the feeling of new trucks and will ride them until there is nothing left. A new set of trucks can take a while to get used to and often need some time to break in. Trucks can be expensive to replace but fortunately, they last for a long time.
Hospital bills, missing work due to injury, and being unable to skate for 6 months because you broke your ankle kick flipping a 5 set with a broken kingpin, is, to some, a greater cost in the long run than $50 for a new set of trucks.
I personally like the feeling of a new setup, but new trucks are a pain unless you swap the stock bushings. So let’s see when it’s time to replace your trucks
Replace Your Trucks When They Are Visibly Broken
Do your trucks wobble like Daewon’s, but you haven’t removed the top bushings? Is the baseplate or truck hanger cracked? Are the bushings dried out damaged? Are the axles or kingpin warped? Do they make a lot of noise?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should change your trucks or replace parts. Warped and broken truck components not only make the trucks feel terrible, but your board won’t roll or turn as smoothly as it would if the trucks were still intact.
Sometimes you don’t have to buy new trucks, some websites offer repair kits which allows you to replace the kingping, hangar or baseplate.
Check out my huge guide about skateboard trucks to see what fits your style or go directly to the best skateboard trucks I personally recommend.
From a safety standpoint riding anything that isn’t in good shape is a risk. Not only your trucks but wheels, bearings, hardware, and your deck should be in reasonable condition. Skateboard trucks, as with other things, are not intended to be used broken, do not function how they were intended and will fail, likely to injure yourself or others.
Change Your Trucks When They No Longer Function as They Should
Do you have problems turning? Is your ride rougher, or more wobbly than it should be? Do you get wheel bite all the time? Problem balancing? If you haven’t made any adjustments, this could also be a sign that your trucks or components are damaged.
You can’t always see the damage that your trucks may have, but you should be able to feel when something is wrong. If you think something may be wrong, swallow your pride and ask at your local skate shop. They have probably been asked, and experienced, the same problem and will be able to help you.
I have been to many, and they never pressure you to buy anything, they want to help and love talking about skating, as we all do.
This past spring, when I dusted off my board from a long winter, I went to a new local skatepark. The first few times I tried to carve 1/4 of the way up the bowl, I got wheel bite. Same thing on the wedges, and quarterpipes. My wheels were small (52mm), so this shouldn’t have been happening.
The next day I was working on ollies. Every landing came with wheel bite and the inevitable slam on the ground. Not fun when you are 37. I tried to ride switch and fakie and that already made a difference. That night I adjusted my front truck to super tight. The next day, the same result.
I decided to see what was going on so I took them apart. The base plate had some cracks, the bushings died a long time ago, the pivot cup was gone and there was rust everywhere.
I had to buy new trucks, and it made a world of difference. Now I comfortably ride very loose trucks, and don’t get anywhere near the wheel bite I had with the old ones.
Change Them If You Have Non-branded Trucks
Generic or blank trucks are just that…Generic. They come from unknown factories that don’t put a brand name on the trucks or the base plate. It’s hard to say how good they are and often break sooner than quality trucks. Even the higher-end completes you buy may have Thunder or Destructo trucks, but these are likely more expensive.
Blank trucks are often cheaper and of lower quality and are often attached to inferior complete skateboards. They are likely to break after a few impacts.
If you are just cruising and never intend to ollie, skate transition, or hop curbs, they will probably last you a season, but you should probably get a cruiser or longboard.
Once you progress in skateboarding and are up for more technical tricks it’s time to get quality trucks. Get a decent set of trucks from your local skate shop, made by a reputable manufacturer such as Royal, Ace, Independent, Venture, Krux and Thunder.
I used to cruise around a lot hope a few curbs, did some manuals, boneless, or drop off ledges and low 2 sets of stairs, but never really committed to learning the art of transition or technical skating. Also, I never had much disposable money, so I just bought cheap completes with generic trucks thinking that would work for me.
The trucks would break often, and I would buy another one on sale for $60. Those would break and I would buy another, usually once a year.
I have probably spent 4 times the amount of money on crappy completes with generic trucks than I would have otherwise spent if I had simply replaced my trucks with a quality brand, and put them on the, otherwise fine, deck. As a rule, quality trucks will last you far longer than several decks.
Change Trucks If You Want to Try Something Different
When it comes to truck selection, the options are overwhelming. So many colors, styles, shapes, and sizes are available to the consumer. It is important to find a truck that fits your board, your style, and from a brand you know makes a quality product. You can’t go wrong with Independent, Independent, Thunder, or Venture.
Look at what your favorite pro rides. No sense in getting the same truck as Andy MacDonald if you skate like Ritchie Jackson. Technical street skaters prefer low to mid trucks, where transitions skaters might prefer high trucks. It all comes down to finding a truck you are comfortable with, in a color you like and that fits your style of skating.
If you can afford it, it wouldn’t hurt to try a bunch of different styles, and brands, until you find the perfect fit. Try different trucks from friends and see what you like best. Having a truck you feel comfortable with will make your skating experience much better!
I went with Indy trucks but I also like Venture and Thunder trucks, they all have their pros and cons. Independent trucks seem to work well for me and they hold up fine and can take a lot of abuse.
What are the best truck brands? Independent, Thunder, Royal, Venture, Ace, Krux, Grindking.
Can I replace truck components? Yes, you can replace hangars, bushings, pivot cups, baseplates, kingpins, and hardware. If you want looser trucks, you can get softer bushings, visa versa for tighter trucks.
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.