When to Replace Skateboard Wheels

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After you’ve got some time under your belt, you start to notice how time and wear affect the condition of your skateboard and its components. You start to notice subtle differences in how the deck feels, how the board turns, and how the trucks absorb impact.

If skateboards aren’t properly maintained, you could start noticing these differences faster than you expected. As time goes on, these subtle differences will become more prevalent and eventually will substantially impact the performance quality of your skateboard.

Have you ever asked the question, “how long do skateboard wheels last?”

The length of time skateboard wheels last varies depending on the user. Skateboard wheels last for shorter periods when they are used heavier. The level of care is also a factor.

It’s hard to determine how long skateboard wheels last without knowing the maintenance routine a rider follows. You can increase the life of your skateboard wheels by performing a few simple preventative tasks on your trucks, axle, and wheel system.

Before we get into maintenance tips, we will examine the things that make skateboard wheels wear down. It’s beneficial to understand why wheels wear down before we try to prevent them from being damaged.

Table of Contents

What Causes Skateboard Wheel Wear?

The number one cause of skateboard wheel deterioration is the same cause that plagues any other type of wheel. Friction between the wheel and the corresponding surface is a natural cause of routine wear that can’t be avoided.

However, if the skateboard trucks are bent, the wheels may not grip the surface evenly. This will cause higher levels of damage to certain parts of the wheel. In contrast, others may experience minimal amounts of wear. This is similar to a car tire that wears unevenly due to the vehicle being out of alignment.

Faulty bearings and low-quality bushings and wheels could also be a reason wheels go bad quicker. Riding the skateboard during severe weather isn’t recommended, mostly because high moisture levels can hurt wheels.

If you have a longboard, wheel bite can also be an issue. When skateboards have large wheels, sometimes the deck can contact the wheels and cause premature wear. Although wheel bite is most common in longboards, it’s not limited to them exclusively. Any skateboard with large wheels can experience this issue.

What Type of Wheels Should I Choose for My Skateboard Deck?

Polyurethane is the most common material used to create skateboard wheels. The base material for these wheels is natural gas and oil. The creation process for these materials leads to a hardened finished product that is ideal for making polyurethane wheels.

These materials are also fairly inexpensive, making them cost-efficient options for creating wheels for a skateboard deck. There are several dynamics you should examine when searching for new skateboard wheels.

Wheel Diameter

The diameter of your wheels will directly impact your speed and the turning function of your skateboard. Normally millimeters are the unit of measurement used to determine wheel diameter.

Small Skateboard Wheel

Small wheels are somewhere between 40 and 60 millimeters. Small wheels are a better option for skaters who plan to move at slower speeds or highlight street skating and freestyle riding. Their small design keeps your deck lower to the ground, which gives a rider more control over the board.

Large Skateboard Wheel

Seventy-five-millimeter wheels are considered the perfect medium size for large wheels. A sizable wheel allows for higher speeds and more balance assistance. If you are a vert-ramp skater, downhill skateboarder, or do more cruising, you would benefit from larger wheels. If you’re considering longboarding, it might pay off to choose a selection bigger than 75 millimeters.

Contact Area

The contact area is also known as the contact patch. This is a term used for describing the amount of surface area of the wheel that touches the ground. The larger the contact area is, the more equally the board distributes a rider’s weight and.

This wheel attribute will have a substantial impact on the quality of your ride and the lifespan of your wheels. Wheels with a smaller contact patch will break down faster and ultimately lower the spin of your wheels over time.

What Is a Durometer Scale?

A durometer is used to grade a. The Durometer-A Scale is a 100-point rating system that determines how rough the surface of the wheel is. The higher the number, the harder the wheel.

Harder wheels provide a faster ride, while wheels with a softer score provide the rider with more grip. An extremely hard wheel would have a grade of 90A-100A, while softer wheels built for a cruising skateboard would be around 75A.

Bone Wheels are a type of wheel that provides an extra element of toughness and durability. Durometers use a “B” grading scale for these types of wheels. The only difference in the grading system is the B-scale is 20 points lower than the A-scale rating.

For example, a board rated at 95A would receive a rating of 75B. Boards with higher ratings allow more sliding when the board is used.

How Do I Extend the Life of My Skateboard Wheels?

Eventually, every rider will have to replace the wheels on their skateboard. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get extended life out of your current set. Use these tips to help you prolong the need for buying a new set of skateboard wheels.

Rotate Your Wheels

Skateboard wheels need rotation in the same manner as car wheels. This rotation assists the wheels in an even wearing pattern and reduces premature damage.

You should rotate your wheels if you engage in a lot of slide tricks. Sliding reduces the size of your wheels, and as a result, the weight on the deck is primarily spread to one side of the board.

The result of this weight is one side’s wheels bearing more weight and wearing down much quicker. This increased wear can be prevented by regular wheel rotation.

Inspect Your Wheels

This might seem simple, but taking a few minutes before or after each session to inspect your wheels can make a big difference. The overall visual characteristics of your wheels will indicate when it’s time for a replacement.

A wheel that is starting to wear down and meet its lifespan will have a couple of major indicators. Cracks and wrinkles throughout the wheel are a sign that it’s time to start searching for a replacement set of wheels.

The feel of your wheels can also alert you to the fact that they’re starting to wear down. When your board starts sliding when you hit corners and slowing down on the flat ground, it’s probably time for a new set.

Check out: How Long Do Skateboards Last?

Clean Your Wheels

After you’re done with each session, take a few minutes to clean your wheels. Small pieces of sand and other grainy elements that get stuck on wheels can have a significant impact on the amount of damage done to your wheel.

These tiny pieces of sand can scratch the wheel to a noticeable depth. If this continues, these scratches will wear the wheel down and cause you to lose surface area continuously.

Cleaning your wheels doesn’t have to be a chore or a long process. You have a few options when it comes to cleaning methods.

·         You can clean the wheels with a hand towel. A simple wipe down will do if the area you skated was fairly clean and free from natural debris.

·         If the wheels are dirtier than normal, soak one hand towel in soap and water, and leave another one that’s clean and dry. Wipe the wheels with the soapy hand towel, then dry them with the second one.

·         When the wheels become especially dirty, you might have to go the extra mile. Remove the bearings from the wheel first and prepare a bucket with warm water and soap.

·         Soak the wheels in the soapy mixture for 20 minutes.

·         Remove the wheels, wipe them with a clean dry cloth, and then allow an extra hour to dry before replacing the bearings.

·         Never use an abrasive material to clean your wheels. Toothbrushes, steel wool, coarse sponges, and wire brushes should never be used to clean the surface of your wheels. These items will do more harm than good.

·         When you plan on soaking the wheel in water, always remember to remove the bearings first.

·         Water can damage the bearings or lead to rust. This is why it’s never a good idea to ride your skateboard when heavy rain is in the area.

Buying new wheels for your skateboard is unavoidable if you plan on skating regularly. It’s an expense you need to prepare yourself for.

Just like a car, wheels need to be installed every so often for the best performance. However, in the same way, proper care and maintenance to the current wheels, combined with regular rotation, can increase the life expectancy of your current set.

Related: How Long Do Skateboard Bearings Last?

How Often Should I Replace Skateboard Wheels?

You should expect to have to replace your skateboard wheels every two-to-three months. However, this can be extended to every three-to-four months with proper care and preventative maintenance. 

If you use your skateboard for multiple disciplines, you might consider using two sets of wheels. Rotate the wheels based on the riding you plan to help in overusing one type of wheel for jobs out of its normal scope of use.