How to change your wheels and bearings really fast
This is a super-fast way of swapping your skate wheels that keeps everything aligned and avoids any faff with bearing spacers. It never ceases to amaze us how few skaters know this little trick... when you're assembling longboards and skateboards all day you learn a few things about how to do it quickly!
This will work anywhere... on the start line, in a workshop, in your bedroom, wherever... no matter if you have one set of wheels to switch or fifty completes to build! Make sure you are somewhere well lit and dry (ish). Just switch out the skate tool for a power drill with a 1/2" socket driver to make it even faster. ;)
1. Take your axle nuts and speed washers off
Lay your board on the table/ground/floor/whatever on it's back. Using a skate tool or powerdrill, remove the axle nuts and speed washers - the little washers between the axle nut and the bearins - and put them to one side. They are really easy to loose so put them somewhere where you can see them!! Leave your wheels, bearings, spacers and everything else on.
2. Remove the inner bearings
Pull the wheels off enough so that the outer bearings clear the end of the axle, and twist the wheels off leaving the inner bearings and spacers on the axle. It's the same sort of movement as opening a bottle of beer.
3. Spin the wheels round
You'll be left holding a pair of wheels with the outer bearings still in them. Turn them round and put them back on the axles, so that the wheels are facing inwards.
4. Remove the outer bearings
Using the same opening-a-bottle-of-beer movement you did in step 2, remove the outser bearings.
5. Check everything is aligned
You should now be left with, in order, a bearing, a spacer, a bearing, and a speed washer on each side of the axle. If some stuff has fallen off, put it back on so that everything looks like this picture.
6. Put the outer bearings on
With your new wheels with the graphic facing inwards, push the wheels onto the outmost bearings. You might have to squeeze it on a bit, but because you're pushing both wheels on at the same time, you're making this process twice as fast as it would be!
7. Turn your wheels round
You should now be left holding a pair of wheels with one bearing in each wheel - the outer bearing. Turn the wheels round so that they're facing outwards again, and line them up with the inner bearings and spacers.
8. Put the inner bearings in
Squeeze the wheels onto the inner bearings. If it's a tight fit on the core you'll have to get your muscles out, but again by doing both wheels at once you're making this twice as fast. As you're also using the axles to keep everything in line, there's not faffing about with a bearing spacer rattling around in your wheels.
9. Tighten the axle nuts back up
Put the speed washer back on the axle, then thread the nut on and tighten it up with your skate tool or powerdrill. Give your wheels a quick spin and shake to make sure you have tightened them up enough but they still spin ok - and go skate!