How to Loosen and Tighten Skateboard Trucks (And Why You Would Want To)

The trucks (the metal pieces on the bottom of a skateboard that connects the deck to the wheels) are the steering system of a skateboard.

How tightly or loosely those trucks are attached to the deck determines how rigid or how free that steering system is.

Skateboards with tight trucks don’t turn easily.

That’s by design.

A more rigid skateboard is easier to learn on, because the deck doesn’t dip as easily, making it easier to stay balanced and keep moving in a straight line.

Skateboards with loose trucks have a lot of play in their steering.

They turn very easily, which provides a less stable base, but lends to freestyle riding and tricks.

How tight or loose your trucks are basically determines how your skateboard handles, and the quarter turn of a nut on a kingpin can make a lot of difference.

This page contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

How tight should skateboard trucks be?

When it comes to how tight skateboard trucks should be, there is no right or wrong answer.

It all comes down to riding style and preference.

But there are some rules of thumb when it comes to tighter or looser trucks on a skateboard.

Here are a few:

Tight trucks make turning harder.

The biggest downside of tighter trucks is that they limit your skateboard’s ability to turn. (Trucks can actually be so tight, the board won’t turn at all.)

You have to keep a little bit of play in your trucks to allow for steering and correction.

Beginner skaters benefit from tighter trucks.

Since the first skill you need to learn on a skateboard is balance, tight trucks can help you by making it harder for the deck to dip to either side while riding.

As you advance, you can loosen the trucks little by little to add a little more play to your skateboard’s movement and help you get better at staying centered on a looser set-up.

Downhill skaters benefit from tight trucks.

Since tight trucks are more stable (and have less room to move), they provide a built-in safety mechanism for downhill skating.

Tight trucks can help prevent dreaded speed wobbles, when your body and board get out of sync, making it almost impossible to control the board.

Loose trucks make turning easier.

The more “give” there is to trucks, the more easily a skateboard turns.

If you want to be able to make deep carves and quicker turns, you’ll need looser trucks.

Longboarders can benefit from slightly loosened trucks.

Loosened trucks make carving on a longboard considerably easier.

The looser the trucks are, the more quickly and easily you can change direction while carving.

Longboard dancers typically keep trucks slightly loose because they need the extra maneuverability for slides and turns.

But! Longboarders can benefit from slightly tightened trucks too.

Again, tighter trucks provide more stability.

If you are longboarding at speed, keeping your trucks a little tighter/stiffer will make it easier to keep control of the board.

Lighter-weight people can benefit from slightly loosened trucks.

The lighter a skater is, the less force they can exert on a skateboard to turn.

Loosening the trucks just a smidge can increase the board’s responsiveness.

Freestyle skaters benefit from loosened trucks.

Loose trucks let skaters turn faster and are more forgiving when landing tricks. (You don’t have to get everything “just right.”)

This makes them ideal for certain types of freestyle riding.

Some skaters even make manual adjustments to bushings to loosen trucks up even more.

How to Tighten Skateboard Trucks

Loose trucks are desirable for many, but there is no denying they are harder to control.

The looser your trucks are, the harder your board is to manage, whether you’re riding downhill, doing a trick, or just cruising.

If your board keeps getting away from you, it’s time to tighten things up.

To tighten the trucks on your skateboard:

  1. Turn the board over so you can see both truck kingpins.
  2. Move a truck around, so you get a feel for its current level of tightness.
  3. Use a skate tool or socket wrench to turn the kingpin nut ¼ turn clockwise on the kingpin.
  4. Move the truck around again to see how it feels.
  5. Turn the kingpin nut another ¼ turn clockwise if you want it tighter.
  6. Test the feel of the truck again.
  7. Continue tightening ¼ turn at a time until you get the truck where you think you want it.
  8. Tighten the second truck the same way.
  9. Ride the board to see how it feels.
  10. Tighten or loosen further if it needs more adjustment.

How to Loosen Skateboard Trucks

If your board won’t turn (or turn the way you want it to), your trucks are too tight, and it might be time to sacrifice some stability for maneuverability.

Once you loosen your trucks, you’ll be in a whole new world of skating, where carving smooths out and riding feels more relaxed.

If you’ve grown a little stiff in your riding routine, it’s time to loosen things up.

To loosen the trucks on your skateboard:

  1. Turn the board over so you can see both truck kingpins.
  2. Move a truck around, so you get a feel for its current level of tightness.
  3. Use a skate tool or socket wrench to turn the kingpin nut ¼ turn counter-clockwise on the kingpin.
  4. Move the truck around again to see how it feels.
  5. Turn the kingpin nut another ¼ turn counter-clockwise if you want it looser.
  6. Test the feel of the truck again.
  7. Continue loosening ¼ turn at a time until you get the truck where you think you want it.
  8. Tighten the second truck the same way.
  9. Ride the board to see how it feels.
  10. Loosen or tighten further if it needs more adjustment.

Tip: When tightening or loosening your trucks, ¼ turn of the nut makes a lot of difference.

Often it only takes one turn to get the skateboard where you need it to be.

You can also loosen and tighten in even smaller increments to get your trucks to their sweet spot.

Loosening and Tightening Skateboard Wheels

Loosening or tightening your skateboard trucks effectively loosens or tightens your skateboard steering, but it won’t help the wheels turn on the axles.

If your wheels aren’t spinning properly, they may need to be loosened or tightened up.

How to Loosen Skateboard Wheels

Tight wheels on a skateboard usually result in a stilted ride. Your board will feel sluggish and hard to drag along.

It’s usually pretty easy to tell when your wheels are too tight.

To double-check if your skateboard’s wheels need loosened, give them a spin.

The wheels should turn freely on the axles and slow to a gradual stop.

If the wheels don’t spin freely, loosen them up.

To loosen a skateboard wheel:

  1. Use a skate tool or socket wrench to turn the nut on the axle counter-clockwise just a smidge.
  2. Spin the wheel again and see if it rolls freely.
  3. Turn the nut counter-clockwise again if it’s still stiff.
  4. Test the wheel again.
  5. Continue loosening the nut a smidge at a time until it rolls freely.
  6. Adjust the other three wheels.
  7. Give the board a ride to see how it rolls.

How to Tighten Skateboard Wheels

Loose wheels on a skateboard usually result in poor steering. Your board will feel “off” and hard to control.

It can be hard to tell while riding if it’s the wheels or the trucks that are too loose.

But it’s an easy thing to check.

To determine if your skateboard’s wheels need tightened, give them a tug.

The wheels should not move at all on the axle.

If you can shake a skateboard’s wheels, they’re too loose and should be tightened.

The only thing a skateboard wheel should do on the axle is spin.

To tighten a skateboard wheel:

  1. Use a skate tool or socket wrench to turn the nut on the axle clockwise just a smidge.
  2. Tug the wheel again and see if it moves.
  3. Turn the nut clockwise again if the wheel moves at all.
  4. Tug the wheel again.
  5. Continue tightening the nut a smidge at a time until it doesn’t move on the axle.
  6. Adjust the other three wheels.
  7. Give the board a ride to see how it steers.

How to Loosen Longboard Trucks Or Trucks on a Pennyboard

All skateboards, whether double-kick popsicles, cruisers, longboards, or penny boards, have the same basic design – deck attached to trucks attached to wheels.

So the loosening and tightening of trucks on a longboard or pennyboard is done the same way as on a standard skateboard.

Even drop-down and drop-through longboards, where part of the trucks rest atop the deck, can be loosened or tightened with the simple turn of the nut on the kingpin.

Best Skate Tools

You don’t need a dedicated skate tool to tighten the trucks or wheels on your skateboard, but we think a compact, dedicated skate tool is a must-have accessory for every skater.

Here are three of our favorites:

Andale Multipurpose Ratchet Skateboard Tool

Good ratchet action. Holds up.

Andale Multipurpose Ratchet Skateboard Tool
best price at The House

INDEPENDENT The Best Skate Tool

Compact. Sturdy. Trustworthy brand.

INDEPENDENT Genuine Part Skate Tool
buy at Amazon

Click Carabiner 3.0 Keychain Skate Tool

The most portable. Harder to use than a standard skate tool.

15 easy ways to get active now

SK8OLOGY CLICK CARABINER 3.0 KEYCHAIN SKATE TOOL
buy at Tactics

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top