3. Skateboard Trucks: Steering Adjustment, Problem Solving & Helpful Hints
3.1 Adjusting your steering
To make your board turn easier or harder, you can tighten or loosen the kingpin. The best way to do this is by using a skate tool. Make sure not to over-tighten the kingpin, otherwise you’ll destroy the bushings. You also shouldn’t skate with your trucks too loose, because the board will become unstable and increase your risk of wheel bites.
You can also experiment with bushings to alter the turning behaviour. Bushings are available in three different degrees of hardness, which can be categorized as hard, medium, and soft. Tapered or conical bushings (so-called Cone Bushings) make the trucks more responsive, where as flat bushings (so-called Barrel Bushings) make the trucks less responsive.
3.2 Skate Tools
Of course you could rummage through your parents’ tool chest in search of suitable tools to adjust your trucks, but why the stress, when you can have everything you need in a single skate tool?
A skate tool is part of the standard equipment every skater should have. It has everything you need, from the key for your kingpin nut, to a Phillips head screw driver and Allen wrench for the screws in your bolt pack.
In the event that the thread on your axles is worn down, you can find skateboard tools with an axle rethreader in the skatedeluxe online Skate Shop.
In the case that you prefer to rifle through the family tool box, here’s what you’ll need:
• 3/8 “Allen wrench for the nuts in your bolt pack
Skate Tools in our Shop
• 9/16 “Allen wrench for the kingpin nuts
• 1/2 “Allen wrench for the axle nuts
• 1/8 “Allen wrench and Phillips screwdriver
• Axle rethreader (optional)
3.3 Skate Wax
The great thing about skate wax is that with the right amount of wax, you can grind just about anything! Even the roughest street spots will be available for your grinding enjoyment! Skate wax is slightly oilier than conventional candle wax and is ideal for grinding because it makes surfaces perfectly slippery.
Skate Wax in the Shop
3.4 Wobbly skateboard / crooked trucks?
Problem: Your skateboard wobbles even when you’re on a flat surface because not all of your wheels touch the ground or your trucks are crooked?
There’s a good chance that the bushings are just not broken in. Adjust your steering so that it’s a little looser, cruise through your hood for a while and the problem should solve itself. Try to do as many turns as possible, so that the bushings get some pressure and settle properly into the trucks. Also, make sure to check whether the bushings are in constant contact with the base plate and washers.
It’s also possible that the pivot cup is the problem. When you ride very hard trucks it can happen that the pivot cup gets damaged. As a result the pivot of the truck’s hanger rubs on the baseplate and the hanger of the truck stays crooked. As a solution you should loose your trucks and in same cases get a new set of pivot cups.
3.5 Squeaky Trucks / Bushings?
Problem: Your trucks or bushings squeak and make strange noises when you skate?
Yes, the squeaking is annoying, but it’s in no way serious. Nevertheless, you can fix it. Normally it has nothing to do with the bushings, but rather the pivot cup bushings. This small piece of rubber sits in the pivot cups of some trucks, i.e. where the hanger sits in the base plate. You can simply lubricate the pivot cup bushings, which should eliminate the squeak. And just to be certain, you can go ahead and grease the regular bushings as well.
Silicon-based lubricants are best suited for plastics, but you can also try a chemical-free soap or Vaseline. Moistening the bushings with water is not particularly effective, and only lasts a short while. You should stay away from other things like normal lubricating oil or grease, and WD 40, because at some point, they can be damaging to plastic.