Scooterlay is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more

Blogs

How to Change Roller Skate Wheels – 7 Easy Steps!

How to Change Roller Skate Wheels
Written by Kevin Gerard

At some point, roller skate wheels need to be changed. This is often due to normal wear and tear.

Wheels wear down over time and end up giving you a rough ride. Your skates may pull to one side or be bumpy. If the wheels look worn out, you will need to replace them.

Skate wheels are easy to change at home with some basic tools.

When Do Rollerskate Wheels Need Replacing?

When you can see deformity

When you can see deformity

Rollerblades typically require a replacement after six months to a year. If you see any visible deformity on rollerblades, it means the material is worn out and needs replacing. Rollerblades should be replaced if there is a visible deformity to the blade. The rollerblade should keep its integrity and not be deformed to the point where it would not function properly.

Using skates for different reasons

You will use different wheels for different things. If you are a professional jam skating, artistic skating, speed skating, and derby skating, you will use different wheels suitable for each.

It doesn’t matter much for beginners, but professionals will need a certain type of wheel for different skating.

Wheels don’t roll as smoothly

Roller skate wheels are consumable items, meaning they can wear down over time. This will decrease the performance of the skateboard and make it hard to control.

In addition, rolling resistance will increase as the wheel surface gets thinner, which causes more energy to be needed for propulsion.

If you notice your wheels don’t roll as smoothly as before then that’s one of the signs it’s time for a new set of skates.

Materials for Changing the Wheels

Bearing

Bearing

A roller skate bearing is located near the wheel hub, and it helps the wheel to move. Each wheel contains two bearings.

Spacer

Spacer

Bearing spaces are metal cylinders that sit in between the bearings in the wheel. These work to lower the weight that is distributed to the bearings, allowing for a smoother and stable skate.

Wheel

Wheel

The traditional wheel is made up of a wheel and axle. It can be made from metal or plastic, usually with spokes. The wheel is the part that rotates, while the axle is the rod that transmits power from one side of it to another.

They have many advantages over other types of wheels. For instance, they are cheaper to produce and easier to maintain.

They also have better surface contact with the ground because they have more contact points than other wheels, which makes them more stable when on a flat surface.

Tools Needed for Changing Over the Wheels

Socket wrench set

Socket wrench set

The socket wrench set is used to loosen your skate wheels. In most cases, a 1 1/16 inch wrench is used. Just put the wrench on the bolt and turn the handle until you get your desired tension.

Bearing puller tool

Bearing puller tool

The puller helps to remove the bearing. Start with the handle-up and the pin-down. Put the wheel onto the outer side and push the handle, which will allow you to pull the bearing out.

Easy Steps To Change Roller Skate Wheels

Step 1: Get the tool onto the nut

Get the tool onto the nut

You need to put the skate wheel tool onto the nut that’s located on the axel of the rollerskate. Unscrew the nut to the left.

Step 2: Take out the wheel

Take out the wheel

First, remove the nut from the skate wheel and pull the wheel off. While you are doing this put the nut somewhere safe to avoid it rolling away.

Step 3: Fit the new wheels onto the axle

Fit the new wheels onto the axle

Remove the old wheel. The skate bearings will remain in place. Remove any dirt and debris build-up from the axel and the truck. Your new wheel will already have bearings, so you can put it straight onto the axel.

If the wheels are different from the previous set, you might end up with more or less room when you fit the wheels.

Step 4: Attach the wheel

Attach the wheel

Now screw on your nut, ensuring you get the threading aligned by using your fingers. If you are not comfortable with the fit of the skate wheels, you can change the nut.

If you use wider wheels and struggle with room, put the nuts on the opposite way. This gives more hold and doesn’t take up as much room.

Step 5: Make sure the nut is tight

Using the roller skate wheel tool, you turn the tool on the nut until it’s tight. Now turn it slightly back so your wheel can freely spin.  The wheel needs to be tight enough it won’t come off but loose enough to spin.

Step 6: Check the wheel

Spin the wheels to ensure everything is good to go. Check over the nuts every now and again to make sure they have not come loose.

Is Wheel Rotation Possible as an Alternative to Replacement?

In some cases, yes. If the wheels are just worn slightly, then you can just rotate, but badly worn wheels will need to be replaced. In the picture below, the first wheel is quite new and doesn’t need rotating or replacing.

Is wheel rotation possible as an alternative to replacement

The second, however, show signs of uneven wear. These need rotating and flipping so the wear pattern can be evened out.

The third is showing signs of being rotated and flipped many times. You can tell by the sharp tip forming in the center. The last wheels are extremely worn and dangerous. Skating with these wheels will be difficult and can result in hub cracking. Replace before using.

How Often Should I Perform Maintenance on My Roller Skates?

How Often Should I Perform Maintenance on My Roller Skates

Removing the wheel

Using pliers remove the nut and turn it counterclockwise until you can pull it off. Remove the nut and the wheel. There is a metal disc in the center of the wheel and axle. Don’t lose this.

Remove the bearing

Place the wheel onto the axle but only touching the first bearing. Now twist the wheel onto the axle to remove the bearing. Repeat this for the other one.

Installing the new bearing

Place the new bearing onto the axle and ensure the cover is downwards. This is the cover that protects the steel. In most cases, it will be a different color. If your bearing has a cover on the two sides, you don’t need to worry about the sides they are facing.

Now you can position your wheel onto the axle and then push it onto the skate bearing. Repeat again for the other bearing.

Putting the wheel onto the axle

When putting the wheel on, the wheels’ decals need to be facing out to ensure the wheels are positioned correctly.

Tighten the wheel in place

Put the nut onto the skate axle and grip it with pliers. Turn clockwise until it’s fairly tight, with some space between the nut and wheel. Don’t tighten the nut too far.

If you find one wheel is not spinning, double-check that the bearing is safely inside the socket.

FAQs

1. Should I loosen roller skate wheels?

Ans. The skates won’t work properly if the nuts are too tight. Spin the skate wheels, and you should have free movement. If the wheel is jerky and doesn’t spin, you need to loosen the nuts.

2. How long do roller skate wheels last?

Ans. Roller skate wheels last between 12 to 18 months for the average user. Therefore, using every day for long periods will be less.

3. Can I put bigger wheels on my roller skates?

Ans. Bigger wheels can be added to your skates if you want a faster and smoother ride. However, accelerating from an idle position will take more effort.

About the author

Kevin Gerard

Kevin started off his career as a mechanical engineer at a scooter manufacturing company back in 2012. He’s been into kick scooters and swimming from the early years of his life. Over time, he quit the latter for the love of the former and soon started to be recognized as a kick scooter expert. He wanted to take kick scooter design professionally but his family forced him to study engineering. Luckily, he decided to study mechanical engineering. That made way for him to work in the field of kick scooter designing as a core researcher and developer. Kevin is also one of the founding members of Scooterlay and contributes to the website as the head of the kick scooter research team. He is currently working on his first book on the basics of kick scooter riding. This is a guide for beginner riders and will soon be published by Warner House Press, Arizona.

Leave a Comment