Adjusting Your Trucks
Tools You Need
- A T-Tool or a 9/16” Wrench
There is only one bolt that you will need to tighten on your skateboard if you want to adjust your trucks and that is your kingpin. the kingpin is a 9/16″ bolt that holds your bushings, hanger, and baseplate together.
If you want to nerd out a bit more about skateboard trucks and their different parts then check out my full-length guide.
How to Adjust Your Trucks
Essentially adjusting your trucks means tightening or loosening the bolt in the center of your trucks that holds the kingpin and your bushings. Tightening it squeezes the bushing more and makes it more difficult to turn the board. Loosening the trucks relieves pressure on the bushings and makes turning the board easier.
Use a T-tool or an 9/16” wrench to tighten or loosen this center bolt. Turn the bolt clockwise to tighten the bolt. Turn the bolt countr-clockwise to loosen the bolt. After you adjust your trucks, be sure to try standing on and riding your board to see if it is comfortable.
If you don’t test out your board after adjusting the trucks then you might not realize that the trucks are now too tight or too loose. Always make sure you use all of your weight to turn and make sure you don’t get wheel bite. Also make sure that both trucks are tightened equally.
You definitely want to notice a problem before you drive to a spot without a tool needed to fix it.
- Better board control
- Less wobble at higher speeds
- Easier to pop the board
- Easier to do manuals and manual variations
When Should Your Trucks Be Tighter
Your trucks should be tighter if you are struggling to control your board or want to focus on traditional street-style skateboarding tricks. If you are skating with speed such as bombing hills or cruising then tighter trucks are a necessity. Speed wobbles are phenomena that happen where loose trucks start shaking at higher speeds and it will cause you to crash.
Generally, I encourage beginners to start with tighter trucks and then try looser trucks once they get a bit more comfortable with their board.
- Easier to turn the board
- Better for carving bowls and park
- Better for certain freestyle tricks
When Should Your Trucks Be Looser
Trucks should be looser for people who want to carve and turn their board more easily. Loose trucks can also be more forgiving when it comes to landing tricks are you don’t need to land cleanly to still roll away. This can help you put together longer lines, but can also instill bad habits in your skating.
Some people also claim that looser trucks will change your style of skating. The idea is that looser trucks will make your skating appear to be more wavy and flowy. I agree with this somewhat, and personally, I prefer the cleaner style of skating such as Nyjah Hudson’s.
How Tight Should Your Trucks Be?
This is a question many people inevitably ask as they set-up their first board. The answer is often a simple “It’s whatever you like“. Unfortunately, this isn’t very helpful to beginners.
Your trucks should be loose enough that you can easily turn the board while skating around. Skateboard trucks can be tighter or looser depending on the rider’s preference. Tighter trucks are typically better for beginners as they give more control and don’t wobble with speed. Looser trucks are better for carving and certain tricks styles.
I personally like a bit tighter trucks because I like practicing flat ground tricks and also enjoy cruising around. with some speed. Others who enjoy carving might go for trucks that are a bit looser.
Are My Trucks Too Loose?
You might be wondering if your trucks are in fact too loose to skate with. Look for the following signs that might mean it is time to adjust those trucks and make them looser.
- You get wheel bite when you turn
- You struggle balancing on your board
- Popping your board for an Ollie is difficult
- Your board turns when you don’t intend it to
Having trucks that are too loose can seriously make it difficult to progress in skateboarding and especially if you are a beginner. If you even have the thought that your trucks might be too tight, why not loosen them and try that for a while?
Experimenting will help you find your sweet spot.
Are My Trucks Too Tight?
Similar to the question of are my trucks too loose, some of you might be wondering if your trucks are in fact too tight. Look for the following signs that your trucks need to be loosened.
- You find riding your board to feel stiff
- You cannot turn your board easily
- You have to kickturn just to change direction
- You can’t land tricks unless the landing is perfect
Having trucks that are too tight is less common of a problem because it’s usually pretty easy to tell that they are too tight. However, a beginner might not know that the trucks are too tight on the board they are riding. Again experimentation is key so don’t be afraid to adjust the tightness and test ride your board!
Should My Trucks Be Tight or Loose for Cruising?
This also depends on the type of cruising you’re doing. Hill bombing is very different from just cruising around your neighborhood.
Skateboard trucks should be tightened before you go cruise. On the off chance that you will be riding downhill at any point, loose trucks can be dangerous and lead to crashes and injury. Nothing kills the vibe like having to walk down a hill with your board because of speed wobbles. Typically, I always keep the trucks on my cruiser setup tighter than my normal street setup.
Don’t learn this one the hard way. The exception might be if you know exactly where you’ll be cruising and know there are no hills. Then carving and turn with loose trucks all you want.
Should a Skateboard Be Wobbly?
Beginners should start with tighter trucks. This is a so they can start with more stability and get a feel for their board. If you aren’t a beginner and are asking this question then clearly you are having trouble controlling your board and might benefit from tighter trucks.
A skateboard’s trucks can be loose, but it should not be wobbly. A good test to see if your trucks are too loose is to lean with your full weight on one side of the skateboard. If the wheel can touch your board, then your trucks are definitely too loose. Even if your wheel cannot touch your board, you might need to tighten your trucks to regain some stability.
Additionally, if you are skating downhill or with any real speed, then please tighten your trucks. This can easily become a safety issue as speed wobbles will cause you to fall and slam. At certain speeds this could be deadly.
If you’re a beginner and want to learn the absolute basics of riding your board with actionable steps, check out my visual guide here.
How to Tighten Skateboard Trucks Without a T-tool
Not all skaters have a T-tool, even though they should. T-tools are extremely cheap and useful to have around.
Skateboard trucks are adjusted by tightening or loosening the kingpin bolt. This bolt takes a 9/16″ wrench or a t-tool. If you do not have a T-tool, then you will need a 9/16″ wrench. Tighten your trucks by using this wrench to turn the bolt clockwise. Loosen your trucks by turning the bolt counter-clockwise.
Be sure to ride your board after any adjustments. It is easy to tighten or loosen the trucks too much and make the ride uncomfortable.
So that’s it.
It is true that how tight your trucks are is a preference and most skaters fall somewhere in the middle of not too tight and not too loose. Personally, I prefer the cleaner and more stable feel of tighter trucks, but plenty of other skaters prefer the opposite.
Beginners would probably start off with tighter trucks until you get a bit more comfortable with your boards. This is to prevent any extra difficulty in learning the basics of skateboarding. Skateboarding already has a steep learning curve so there’s no need to add to that in any way.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.