How to change your wheels
There are a number of reasons why you would want to change your wheels. You are going from skating inside to skating outside, you have worn out your current wheels, you got cool new light up wheels, you are going for a different color scheme, whatever it might be we are here to help! Doing anything to your skates can be intimidating! They are your babies, what if you mess them up!?! But I am here to tell you changing your wheels is so simple and honestly rewarding. When you can start “upgrading” your skates yourself you will feel like a boss baby and were here for that
**This article assumes that both sets of wheels currently have bearings in them. If you buy a new set of wheels you will need to add bearings**
What you need
- Roller skates
- Skate tool ( 3 way tool or crab tool)
- Set of wheels
- Cloth (optional)
Before you get started make sure you have everything you need! Changing wheels the first couple times is time consuming until you get the hang of it!
Grab a skate and take the wheels off! Let’s start with one skate at a time. So for the photos you will see I was changing my wheels from Sure Grip Fames (indoor wheels) to Moxi Gummy (outdoor wheels). What I like to do when changing my wheels is remove all the wheels at at once, wipe them off put them away and put new wheels on.
So to take a wheel off grab your skate tool (3 way tool or crab tool) and put the tool on your lock nut. If using a 3 way tool its the smaller of the two sides and a crab tool it is the middle
Once you have your tool on the lock beginning turning left (usually for me its up) as you turn the nut it will get looser until you can pull it off the axle
Once you have your lock nut off you can slide your wheel off! Please note that depending on your brand or current set up there may also be washers, one under the lock nut, and one under your wheel. The washers are there to protect your bearings, it is not weird to have them and it is not bad if you don’t have them, I believe it’s truly a preference.
Once you have your wheel off, you want to wipe it off. From rink skating I know my wheels get a little grimy and dusty, To wipe mine off I just you a strip of an old t shirt that I cut up but you can use any towel or paper towel even. Just know when wiping off your wheel there will be a black grease or oil so I would not use anything you care about to clean your wheels.
I think cleaning your wheels is essential for harder wheels (Indoor or some park wheels) because if you have dust or grime on your wheels it is going to change the way they slide on the floor of the rink. Keep this in mind if you feel your skates feel bumpy or are slipping out from under you, you may just need to wipe your wheel off.
Now do this for all four wheels of your skate. When you are done you skate should look like this.
It is time to put your other wheels on!
If your wheels had washers before don’t forget! You will want to put the washer on the axel, then your wheel then another washer and finally your lock nut. I like to do one wheel at a time and that way I can tighten them to perfection before moving on to a different wheel
Once you have your washers* wheel and locknut back on the axle we need to start tightening them! This is important! If your lock nut is too loose the wheel could fall off, if the lock nut is too tight the wheel will not spin freely.
When tightening my wheels I like to tighten 1.5 spins (don’t forget right to tight, left to loose) and then *jiggle* my wheel. I usually move the wheel up and down to see how much room is left on the axle.
I will tighten the nut until there is little to no jiggle but the wheel still spins freely. This will take practice, the more times you change your wheels the better you will get at knowing when it feels right.
These nuts can be tightened and loosened whenever you want as long as there is a tool available so don’t stress if you start skating and they feel weird adjust!
Once you have the wheels on all 4 axles of the skate let’s test them! We need to make sure one isn’t way more loose or tight than the others
What I like to do is sandwich the skate upside down in-between my thighs and spin the two wheels that are on the same truck. The goal, for me anyway, with wheels is that I want both wheels to spin freely for roughly the same amount of time (5 – 10 seconds). You also don’t want to be able to *jiggle* the wheel too much on the axel. Often times when I do the spin test I will find the one wheel is looser or tighter than the other and I will make quick quarter turn adjustments on the lock nuts.
Once you have tested all four wheels and are happy time to do skate two!
*Please let us know if this was helpful to you or if there is anything you think needs to be added to the article to make it more helpful*