By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Trucks, the metallic pieces that connect the wheels and the deck, are the most durable and mechanical parts of a skateboard. It’s easier to break a deck than to damage your trucks, but that doesn’t mean that trucks have to be overlooked. They are the part of your skateboard that allows you to have control on the direction of your ride, and they suffer a lot. This guide will help you understand how trucks work and the best ways to maintain them as fresh as possible.
How Do Skateboard Trucks Work?
Photo: Independent Trucks
Trucks have four pieces. The axle is the large metallic pin that holds wheels. It is attached to the hanger, the triangular framework that holds everything together. In the center of the trucks there are two bushings, which are the rubber or polyurethane pieces that serve as a cushion for making smooth and soft turns without damaging the hanger. And finally, the kingpin is the bolt that holds the hanger and the bushings together.
If you want to go left or right on a skateboard, you have to balance your body onto the sides of the skateboard. At that moment, the hanger tilts to the desired side and allows the board to turn. Because of this, the length of the axle should never exceed the width of your deck. This is a great thing to check when buying a new skateboard.
Loose or Tight? How to Adjust Your Turns
Photo: Jason Lee (Unsplash)
There is not a rule that specifies how tight or lose your skateboard trucks should be. It all depends on your riding style and how comfortable you feel on your board. But beginners will feel more confident about tighter trucks because it will give them more stability and balance. On the other hand, looser trucks make the board easier to maneuver
To adjust your trucks, you will need a skate tool or a 3/8’’ wrench. You don’t need to get your trucks off your skateboard. With your wrench or tool, just tighten or loosen the kingpin nut and push the sides of the trucks to feel the change on them. It is recommended to constantly check how tight or lose your trucks are.
Keeping Your Skateboard Trucks in Good Shape
The parts of the truck that suffer the most are, typically, the axle and the bushings. Both of them get damaged over time. The threads on the tip of the axle, which allow wheels to be secured with a bolt, will wear away because of the friction with the bearings. To fix this, there are several skate tools in the market that have an accessory to carve and polish the threads again.
Bushings get worn because of the turns and the weight that you put over the board. Over time, bushings will also get squished and that will heavily affect your ride. If your trucks are old, a bushing replacement will be good. Most trucks and skateboard brands sell spare bushings. You just need to loosen the kingpin nut completely, and then pull out the hanger. The top bushing will come out, and you will have to pull the bottom bushing. Then, just put the new bushings into their place, put the hanger onto the kingpin, and secure it again with the nut.
If your bushings are new and you feel your trucks are too tight, even if you get them loose, you might want to use sandpaper to grind your bearings a little bit. This will help them fit better in their spot.
Remember: skateboarding is not just about riding! Knowing how to properly do some maintenance work to your board is something every great pro skater knows. Keep your trucks in great state, and you will notice an improvement in your ride.
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