How do you tighten skateboard trucks? You’re asking this question because you’re a beginner skateboarder or are looking to learn how to give your kid a safe, stable, easy-to-maneuver setup. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to do precisely that.
Related: Best Children’s Skateboards
How Tight or Loose Should Skateboard Trucks Be?
There aren’t clear rules as to how much you should loosen or tighten skateboard trucks. It’s purely down to personal preference. But here’s two simple ideas to guide you as you tweak your kid’s or your skateboard trucks. If the kingpin is almost falling out or you’re experiencing wheel bite, then those trucks are simply too lose. On the other hand, if the bushings are almost bursting or if you need to tic tac so as to skateboard around obstacles, those trucks are definitely too tight. The right amount of looseness or tightness lets you control your skateboard easily while keeping your safe on the deck.
What Do Tight Skateboard Trucks Do?
Are you always doing flip tricks and other tricks or skating at high speeds? You need to make your skateboard trucks tight enough. Tight skateboard trucks do one thing really well: they give stability to your ride. And stability is something you need while boarding at speed or when performing kick-flips.
Another reason some riders keep their trucks tight enough is to avoid wheel bite. Wheel bite happens when you’re riding your board and the deck comes into sudden contact with the wheels. This typically happens when you’re leaning into turns/while skating around corners. The skateboard stops moving, and you eat crap. Things can get really messy if you were skating really fast.
By the way, do you and your kid wear a certified skateboard helmet while out riding? What about pads, do you wear them as well? No matter how good a rider you are, I strongly suggest that you put on proper protective gear for skateboarding. Because you never know when the next wheel bite happens.
But if the trucks are too tight, carving or turning can become too much of a challenge. To turn on a skateboard when the trucks are too tight, you’ll have to get the front wheels off the ground (tic tac).
Also, if you go overboard and tighten those trucks like someone promised you a grand for doing so, it’s easy to damage the bushings.
4 Reasons to Keep Your Skateboard Trucks Tight
- To increase stability while traveling really fast
- To add stability and control while landing tricks such as kickflips
- To prevent wheel bite
- To keep speed wobbles at bay
3 Reasons You Don’t Want Tight Skateboard Trucks
- Extremely tight skateboard trucks are a surefire path to damaged bushings.
- Turning or carving can become too difficult if the trucks are too tight.
- If you’ve yet to learn how to tic tac on a skateboard, you’ll have trouble going around obstacles.
What Do Loose Skateboard Trucks Do?
Some skateboarders prefer keeping their trucks quite loose. Skaters who cruise a lot tend to like looser trucks compared to folks who’re all about performing tricks at a park or wherever.
When you loosen your trucks enough, one thing happens: your skateboard becomes a real champ at turning. And who doesn’t like a turney board? When skating around bends or obstacles, you won’t need to tic tac at all. All you have to do is lean into the turn, and your board will react per your expectation.
But there’s a little problem. If the trucks are too loose, the odds of experiencing wheel bites increase dramatically. Also, the ride looses a bit of balance and stability. That’s a loose setup ,and it may not be the ideal setup for a complete beginner or a young child.
But the trucks being too loose isn’t the only reason wheel bite happens. Sometimes, wheel bite occurs because the deck sags too much perhaps because the rider is a little too heavy. Or the deck material flexes excessively.
Another thing about keeping skateboard trucks loose is that performing tricks becomes a tad harder. If you’re a skate park or empty parking lot rat who’s always practicing tricks, this isn’t the setup you want.
Advantages of Loose Skateboard Trucks
- Turning on the skateboard becomes a really smooth, fun-filled experience.
- No need to get the the front wheels off the ground when negotiating tight bends or turning around obstacles.
- A board with loose enough trucks carves like a dream.
- A great setup for cruising.
Disadvantages of Loose Skateboard Trucks
- Wheel bite happens a lot if and when the trucks are too loose.
- With loose trucks, landing various skateboarding tricks such as ollies, kickflips, heelflips, and others become more difficult than they really are.
- The board looses a bit of stability and balance and becomes harder to ride/control for beginners and kids.
Loose or Tight Trucks for Vert Skating?
For transition skateboarding, you don’t want trucks that too tight. Nor do you want the trucks too loose. You want trucks that are moderately loose/tight. Again, you’ll have to experiment with different levels of tightness/looseness to determine what works perfectly for you or your kiddo.
How to Loosen Skateboard Trucks
- To loosen skateboard tricks:
- Flip the skateboard upside down.
- Grad a skate tool and place the right end of the tool on the head of the kingpin nut.
- Give the kingpin nut a quarter or half turn in the counterclockwise direction.
- Give the board a test ride and carry the skate tool just in case the setup needs any further tweaking.
How to Tighten Your Kid’s/Your Skateboard Trucks
The right tool for tightening skateboard trucks is a skate tool. Don’t have a skate tool? Don’t worry; they’re quite affordable. I really like this skate tool on Amazon: M Merkapa Ratchet Skateboard T Tool.
I recommend this tool because it not only helps you tighten or loosen the trucks but also helps you re-thread stripped wheel axles. Well, it costs twice as much as some of the most popular tools, but that’s because it enables you to do more. And it’s still very affordable at $15-ish.
Not everyone knows how to use a skate tool, though. And below is a video that clearly explains how to use this tool and what each part does.
Here’s how to tighten skateboard trucks:
- Turn your kid’s skateboard upside down so that the underside where the trucks are faces up.
- Grab each wheel of the front truck and give it a side-to-side push to get a sense of how much it tilts.
- Repeat the step above with the wheels on the rear truck. If there’s too much tilt in the wheels, the trucks need a little tightening.
- Grab your skate tool and get to work. Place the larger end of the skate tool on the nut on the kingpin and start tightening it. The tool looks like the letter T with three tubular ends, one with a smaller diameter than the other.
- Follow the righty tighty lefty loosey rule to do the job. That is, turn the tool in the clockwise direction to tighten it up. You’ll have to use your judgement to decide how much tightening is enough.
- Flip the board and give it a test ride. I suggest that the skate tool as you go out skating so you can make any adjustments that might be necessary to get the setup to the right place. If tweaking the board for your child, accompany them to the driveway or have them test the setup out in the garage. If they can skateboard, they should be able to tell you if the board feels right.
Tighten or Loosen Skateboard Trucks: FAQs
How Do You Tighten or Loosen Skateboard Trucks?
Use a skate tool to tighten skateboard trucks. You may want to watch one or two YT videos to learn how to use a skate tool correctly. Here’s a video that explains the right way to use a skate tool.
Is It Safe to Loosen Trucks on a Skateboard?
Definitely yes if the trucks are too tight that turning the skateboard becomes super difficult. Extremely tight trucks are also not very safe. It’s easy to fall while riding such a board.
Should I Loosen or Tighten My Trucks?
How loose or tight skateboard trucks should be is a matter of personal preference. A loose trucks setup makes for a more responsive, turney board while a tighter setup makes the board more stable. Getting the setup that works best for you or your kid is for the most part of trial and error thing.
What Tool Is Used to Tighten or Loosen the Trucks on a Skateboard?
A skate tool is the best tool for loosening and tightening the trucks on a skateboard. It’s a T-shaped tool designed to tighten the nuts on the wheels, the kingpin nut on the trucks, and the nuts on the bolts that attach the base plate onto the underside of the deck.
Final Thoughts on How to Tighten and Loosen Skateboard Trucks
It’s hard to say what’s better between a loose trucks setup or a tight setup. Each setup has advantages and disadvantages. And the best setup for a skate park skateboarder who does tricks all the time may not the ideal set up for someone who mostly cruises or skates vert.
A tight setup boosts balance and stability and is for the most part the right setup for beginner skateboarders and kids. In comparison, a loose setup makes cruising, carving, and turning on a skateboard easier and lots of fun. But there’s a greater possibility of wheel bite with loose trucks.
With skate tool, you can easily make your skateboard trucks tighter or looser to suit your specific riding needs. To tighten skateboard trucks, turn the nut on the kingpin clockwise. And to loosen the trucks, turn the nut counterclockwise.