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Why do Skateboard Wheels Turn Yellow? Does it Even Matter?

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For many people, white wheels are the way to go. However, you might soon notice that your wheels begin to share an unappealing yellowish hue. But why?

Why do skateboard wheels turn yellow? The main reason why the skateboard wheels turn yellow is that the urethane breaks down and degrades from exposure to sunlight. You can also end up with yellow wheels over time as the wheels soak up dirt, oils, and other materials from the ground.

If you’re noticing an off shade of yellow beginning to appear on your skateboard wheels, there is no need to panic.

Unfortunately, this is a fairly common thing to happen- especially if you’re using cheaper wheels. Let’s see why your wheels are turning yellow and I’ll give a few tips and tricks for the desperate that want to clean them.

Reasons Skateboard Wheels Turn Yellow

yellow skateboard wheels vs white

Not many skaters care if they end up with yellow skateboard wheels.  But to some, it can put a real damper on the aesthetic of their skateboard.

If you are that person, you will be happy to know it doesn’t have any impact on the safety and reliability of your board.

But what is the reasoning behind your once bright white wheels turning this off shade? Let’s take a look:

The Urethane Has Degraded

The main reason why the skateboard wheels turn yellow is that the urethane of the wheel degrades over time. Urethane is sensitive to the sun’s UV rays and the material will begin to degrade aesthetically over time.

But why does the skateboard wheel turn yellow instead of some other degraded shade, like brown or black? Urethane actually starts off as a beige/yellow hue.

However, companies will bleach the urethane to create the bright white wheels you’re interested in. But as the bleach wears off and the urethane degrades, the ‘real’ color of the wheels begins to appear.

Oils, Dirt, Wax, and Other Materials

It’s not just sun exposure that can impact your skateboard wheels, although it is the most likely to cause the tint of yellow on your wheels.

The other thing that can cause yellowing is simply your wheels rolling across the ground.

Think about it this way: there are a lot of things that end up on the ground, some natural and some not.

But oils, dirt, wax, and other grime and buildup seem to have the most impact on the aesthetics of your skateboard wheels.

To put it simply, oils, dirt, and waxes are ‘soaked up’ by the skateboard wheels over time. This can leave an unsightly yellow residue.

Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the yellowing from grime buildup or sun exposure.

Are There Wheels That Won’t Turn Yellow?

ricta clouds skateboard wheels color over time


Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method of keeping yellow tints off your skateboard wheels.

This is because over time, the oils and dirt of the ground paired with the sun’s UV rays you are going to end up with a yellowish tint.

This is true even for those who clean their wheels religiously. Your best option if this really bothers you is to buy black wheels or anything but white.

Cheap wheels are known for turning a yellowish color more readily than more expensive, higher quality skateboard wheels.

That is why it’s important to make sure you don’t skimp on your wheels. This will not only ensure that they don’t end up yellowing too quickly, but that they remain reliable and durable over time.

I noticed Bones and Spitfire don’t turn yellow as quickly compared to my Ricta clouds you see in the image above. 

Before you buy I would advise you to check out my list of best skateboard wheels.

There are so many different wheels for different purposes and before you spend 30-40 bucks on new wheels, you better know what you’re going to use them for.


Yellowing skateboard wheels are inevitable, as they come into contact with oil, dirt, and other grime on the ground as well as the sun’s UV rays.

However, buying high-quality skateboard wheels and cleaning them regularly may help but cleaning is a bit pointless.

It won’t have any impact on performance and skateboards and wheels are for riding, not just looking at them.

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