Basically, turning on a skateboard simply involves steering the skateboard side to side by leaning. The degree to which you can turn your skateboard depends on how tight or loose you set your trucks. There are a few conflicting ideologies in skateboarding as to how tight or loose the trucks should be. Essentially, to achieve better turning on your skateboard, you’ve got to master some techniques and fine tune your skateboard trucks to your preference.
While some say that they cannot ride a skateboard if the kingpin nut is screwed in too tightly, others argue that they need the stability of crushed bushings. This could often cause one to wonder which of the parties is right. The answer to that question hasn’t changed. Everyone is right.
How tight or loose your trucks may be is simply a matter of personal choice. What may rock your boat could crash another’s ship. It all boils down to your skating preferences. Do you like loose trucks for making seamless turns or do you prefer tighter trucks for a more stable ride?
Perhaps you could be in the first category with a skateboard that doesn’t turn at your preferred degree. This article would provide you with all the useful information you would need on how to make your skateboard turn better, as well as some other freebies. So sit tight, let’s dig in.
Why Should You Adjust Your Skateboard Trucks?
Before we consider how to tighten or loosen your skateboard trucks to suit your preferences, why should you even need to adjust your skateboard trucks in the first place? Irrespective of the brand, price or quality of your skateboard, the trucks need to be adjusted regularly. This is done as a form of preventive maintenance.
Tightening and oiling from time to time, would ensure that the parts of your skateboard last longer by protecting them from wear as a result of continued usage. More importantly, it keeps you safe from falls and accidents.
This is why acquiring the necessary technical know-how needed for you to adjust the various parts of your skateboard is vital, as you would need to carry it out occasionally. Let’s now consider very briefly the benefits of tightening your skateboard trucks.
Why Tighter Trucks?
First of, tighter trucks allow for increased stability. While skateboarding, you tend to come across various forms of obstacles which could be in the form of holes or gaps. A tighter truck ensures better stability irrespective of the uneven surfaces you might skate on, or how fast you cruise.
Next up, tighter trucks help you avoid wheel bites. This usually occurs when the wheels of your skateboard come in contact with your deck. It is most commonly caused by skating on rough surfaces. Screwing your trucks a bit tighter would grant you better stability on uneven surfaces and ultimately, prevent wheel bites.
Tighter trucks also help prevent the much dreaded speed wobbles. Slopes generally increase the speed of your skate and if your trucks are not firmly screwed, the board could wobble uncontrollably.
Having such an experience particularly if you are a beginner would go a long way in affecting your confidence as a skater. On the other hand, if your trucks are tight enough, your board would be stable and this would boost your speed.
What About Loose Trucks?
We wouldn’t leave you in the lurch of course, loose trucks certainly have their pros too. They are usually preferred by technical street skaters.
In their words, loose trucks make your board more fun to ride and also helps in performing certain tricks like crooked grinds, smith and feeble. If you skate regularly in fast-paced cities for instance, loose trucks could also come in really handy when trying to dodge cars and pedestrians.
All that said and done, how can you go about tightening or loosening your skateboard trucks?
How to Tighten Skateboard Trucks
The following are the steps you can take when tightening your skateboard trucks and perhaps it could answer some of your queries on how to make your skateboard turn better.
1. Turn your skateboard to the other side
You can start by placing the skateboard on a hard surface and flipping it around. Also ensure that the board is positioned on a spot as it would allow you hold the wheels and truck firmly. The essence of flipping your board over is to inspect your wheels to know if the trucks attached to them need tightening or not.
2. Decide how tight you want your trucks to be
Once the board has been positioned appropriately, you have to decide how tight you want your trucks to be. Like earlier mentioned, there are no rules on how tight the truck should be. It all depends on your personal preference. Quit tightening the nuts at the pace that makes your skating comfortable.
3. Use the appropriate tools
During the procedure, it is necessary to use the proper tools and keep them close. A hex key or skid wrench would do an excellent job.
- Start off with the axle pin of your truck which is also known as the kingpin. It is located at the middle of the truck and has a large bolt attached to it. Remove its peg and take off the truck’s hanger.
- You will observe that the hanger of the truck holds the axle and wheels. Take off the bushings and observe the socket for any cracks or damages. If there are, you might need to replace the trucks entirely rather than tightening them.
- Go on to tighten the kingpin but ensure that its not too tight as it would limit your motion.
4. Finally, test run and make the necessary adjustments
Once all parts have been properly fitted, do a quick test run by taking a ride on it. Go slower than usual though, in case an accident results from the wheels being too tight or loose. When you are certain that everything is in place, you can increase your speed.
If the wheels are still wobbly during your test runs however, you should repeat the process again.
How to Loosen Trucks
Trucks that are extremely tight often require tons of effort to turn the boards. Here are some of the steps you can take to loosen your trucks that would ultimately help to make your skateboard turn better.
- Get an appropriate tool that would fit your kingpin perfectly. A tool made by the manufacturer would be recommended.
- Turn your pin anticlockwise to loosen it up.
- Test run the skateboard on a hard, flat surface until you attain a suitable speed. Move the skateboard from left to right. If it appears too tight or loose, you will need to readjust the kingpin.
- Repeat the test run and adjustments until you attain that perfect feel that you seek.
To achieve better turns on your skateboard, there has also been the question of whether or not the surfaces rode on have a role to play. Asides having a tight or loose truck, there are some other factors that could contribute to your skateboard not turning properly.
One of such speculations is: Can you skateboard in the rain? Let’s set the records straight. As much as you can, try to avoid getting your skateboard wet. Water is bad for your trucks, bolts as well as your deck and bearings.
Although skateboard trucks can withstand water for a while, if they get wet too often, they eventually start to rust and weaken. When this happens, the skateboard would not move as fast or smoothly as it should and ultimately, wouldn’t turn properly.
If you can stick to these guidelines, you should be able to achieve better turns on your skateboard going forward.