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Causes & Fixes When A Skateboard Makes Loud Noises

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Squeaky trucks, rattling wheels and noisy decks. We’ve all been there at some point and it’s very distracting. Most of the time the noise comes from a skateboards’ bushings or bearings that need replacement or mainentance.

Skateboards are supposed make noise, hard wheels produce more sound than softer wheels which is normal. However there some sounds are very distracting and can be fixed:

  • Loose screws on your base plate that cause vibration.
  • Old crumbled bushings, or squashed causes a lot of noise.
  • Worn down pivot cups.
  • Dried up bearings that need cleaning and lubrication.
  • Washers that move because of deformation or the wrong size.
  • Loose or broken raiser pads that cause vibrations.
  • Flat spots or the hardness of your wheels.

So how do you fix it? First, go through the list and see what the probable cause can be. I’ll take you through every step to help you fix your noisy skateboard.

old skateboard bushing

Reasons Your Skateboard Makes Sounds

Before you start taking your skateboard apart, narrow down the cause of the sounds. There are a couple of different types of noises, here’s how to find out what your problem is.

Often you jump to conclusions but there are many factors that come into play causing the noise of your skateboard.

Here’s a short overview of the most common sounds and causes.

Type of soundCauseSolution
Creaky soundDeck, or hardwareTighten the baseplate
Rattling soundDirty bearings Clean or replace the bearings
Squeaky SoundPivot cup, bushings, bearingsreplace old bushings, wax pivot cups, clean bearings
Ticking soundflatspots on wheelsSwap wheel around. Ride it out untill it’s gone

Fortunately, the main reasons for the sounds are common and easily identified. I’ve summed up a couple of most common causes and some more obscure. Just remember, if you maintain your skateboard properly you save yourself some money in the longrun.

Bushings & Pivot Cups Are Often the Main Cause of Noise

Often squeaking sounds are caused by your bushings or pivot cups. Check if they are squashed or show signs of wear and tear.

Bushings can be overly weathered. A good way of spotting this problem is to check if the washers are cutting into them. Sometimes you just have to replace them but there are some fixes, here’s how to deal with it.

  1. Unscrew the nut from the kingpin and take out your bushings
  2. Check for cracks and make sure they aren’t squashed. If so, get new bushings.
  3. Wax the bushings or apply some oil or silicone-based lubricant.
  4. Re-assemble your truck and see if the noise is reduced.

If your bushings are brand new you just have to be patient. The noise will go away once you break them in.

squashed bushings and deformed washers

Your Bearings Make a Squeaky or Rattling Noise

This one is easy to fix, bearings don’t last forever but maintaining them can make all the difference. It’s best to get all your bearings out and lube them but you can also identify which bearings are loud.

Just spin your wheels and see which ones are making noise. Cleaning your bearings will mean you have to do it more often once you did it the first time.

Somehow dirt finds its way in more easily once cleaned. I used olive oil in my example but you really should get some silicone-based lubricant because oil gets sticky.

  1. Grab your tools, remove the nut from your truck’s axle and pop out the bearings.
  2. Remove the bearing shields.
  3. Clean them using either acetone or nail remover to get the dirt out. Just soak them.
  4. Wrap them in toilet paper and shake them a couple of times. Dry the bearings using toilet paper and make sure the dirt and dust or gone.
  5. Use some oil or silicone-based lube and the noise should go away. If not, get a couple of new bearings.
guide to cleaning skateboard bearings

Sounds When You Lean on Your Skateboard (Pivot Cup)

This can be because of loose screws/nuts, bushings or the pivot cup.

Easy fix here, tighten all of your screws and you should solve the annoying squeaky noises. If not check your pivot cup or replace the bushings.

It might be that there’s a little bit of space between your hanger and pivot cup. The noise is caused by the rotation in the rubber cup. No worries, here’s how you fix it!

  1. Get your tools and open the kingpin nut. Part of your truck will come off.
  2. Make sure you remove your hanger from the cup and put it aside.
  3. Take out your pivot cup and inspect it for wear and there, all good? next step. Cracks and tears, replace it.
  4. Clean the pivot hole it with a little bit of soap and lube or wax the pivot.
  5. If you use wax, use a grader to peel off a candle and fill the pivot hole. Not too much, though.
  6. Assemble your skateboard and check if the noise is still there.

Ticking Noise and a Bumpy Ride

Flat spots on your wheels will make your ride very uncomfortable. Inspect the surface of your wheels for flat spots. They are usually caused by power slides and can be quite annoying.

Not much you can do about it other than replacing your wheel or just ride untill the flatspot disappears. Swapping the wheel round might speed up the process.

Clicking and Creaking Sounds When You Lean on Your Board

Very common, don’t worry I got you. Often the washer between your kingpin and the nut is the cause. It could also be the other washer which is closer to your base plate (the second one from the top).

The reason for the clicking sound is that the washer overlaps the kingpin and bushings. It may happen to shift from side to side when you lean on your skateboard. I’d blame your local skateboard shop for selling you a washer with an oversized hole.

There’s a couple of things you can do but if it doesn’t fit on your kingpin properly you should get new washers. They’re really cheap so why the trouble.

Anyway if you want to fix it while awaiting your new washers do the following.

  1. Grab your tools and unscrew the kingpin nut.
  2. Wrap the threads of your kingpin with Teflon tape (the ones plumbers use). Or use duct tape or any other tape to make your kingpin thicker until it fits your washers. This will only work for a short while as the friction will cut your tape so be aware.
  3. Another option is to use some strong glue and stick it to the kingpin nut.
  4. Ignore it and wait until the washer bends around your kingpin and it will go away. If not get new washers or get used to being the loudest skateboarder.

A Low Pitched Sound Coming From Your Wheels

You guessed it right, your bearings cause the sound. Have you been taking care of them? I guess not because otherwise, you wouldn’t have come here. I admit I don’t pay much attention to my bearings until they start making noise, so don’t worry about that.

Anyway, here’s the problem. The noise comes from your wheel seats, it’s the space between the outer ring of your bearings and the inside of your wheels.

If you’ve been skateboarding for a while and haven’t replaced your wheels yet, the seating can develop gaps. If your bearings can move in their seating you just found your problem. The bearings shift a little when you ride but more so when you make a turn.

It’s really easy to fix, get the lube ready.

  1. clean your bearings (as mentioned earlier) and clean the inside of your wheels.
  2. Let ‘m dry and put some lube on your outer bearings and the core of your wheels. It won’t fix the shifting but the noise should be reduced.

Check Your Riser Pads

This is very uncommon but if you have riser pads installed (the plastic or rubber pads that between your trucks and skateboard deck) they might cause some noise. You only have to make sure that the screws are tight as this can cause vibration and noise.

It’s a long shot though and I don’t think this is the source of the noise coming from your skateboard. The trucks of your skateboard vibrate and cause friction against your deck.

Risers are supposed to dampen the vibrations and prevent cracks. If they don’t work properly they can cause tears and cracks to the wood. In the long run, this will break your board, so you should inspect your risers.

The Type Of Surface Can Cause More Noise

Skateboards make noise, there’s no way to install stealth pads or inertia dampeners as this hasn’t been invented yet. More so if you skate on asphalt or cracked pavements you’ll make some noise which is perfectly normal.

While this is obvious to many skateboarders, if you’re just starting out it may hit you by surprise. If this really annoys you just get softer wheels. I guess you’re probably more of a cruiser type so soft wheels are fine.

If you want to skate more aggressively, learn ollies, and flips you just need to get used to it.  It’s a bit of a trade-off. It’s hard to get wheels that are soft and silent, while still being able to pop kickflips and varials comfortably.

Some skaters ride soft wheels and still pop their tricks. Harder wheels just make aggressive street skating a lot easier.

Wax and Lube to Reduce the Noise

I mentioned a couple of times you can wax or lube skateboard parts to reduce the noise. It works like a charm but sometimes it’s only temporary. It can be a sign that you’ll need to replace the parts.

Cheap lube can attract dirt and dust, but who cares you can always clean it again. Get some quality silicon-based lubrication and don’t use WD-40!  When the lube or wax can’t fix the noise anymore it’s time to replace the component.

The cheapest option to use some candles. Candles contain paraffin and are fine to fix most of the noises. Not for your bearings though.

If Nothing Works

This is all I can think of. If no of the above steps fixes the noise coming from your skateboard check the following.

  • Inspect your skateboard deck, check for delaminations between the layers (ply’s). Delamination means the layers of wood have come loose which could cause a cracking noise. This is pretty rare for pro decks, more common when you skate a toy deck (trash it and get a real one). This can also happen when your deck has become moist.
  •  If there’s delamination, glue them and apply some clamps. Wait for about a day and see if it helps. Seriously though, if your board is in this condition you better start saving for a new deck.
  • It could be the hardness of your wheels. The harder they are the more noise they make. When you solely ride asphalt think of replacing your wheels that are a tad softer. It makes all the difference, not to mention a more comfortable ride.

No skateboard is completely silent. A skateboard has many moving parts and will always make some noise. Just make sure you get a professional skateboard with quality components. Quality is really important for safety, enjoyability, and durability.

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