Your skateboard’s hardware – the nuts and bolts that hold your trucks to the deck – can easily work themselves loose over time as you ride and perform tricks. Loose hardware compromises the performance and safety of your board. Tightening your hardware is a crucial, yet simple, maintenance task that every skater should know.

Here’s a breakdown of how to do it effectively, plus some extra tips for getting the most out of your skateboard setup.

What You’ll Need

  • Skate Tool: The all-in-one tool designed for skateboard maintenance. You can find these at any skate shop or online.
  • Optional: Socket Wrench: This can provide stronger leverage for tightening, but a skate tool usually suffices.

The Process

  1. Flip Your Board: Place the skateboard upside down on a flat, stable surface. This lets you easily access the baseplates of your trucks.
  2. Tighten the Nuts: Locate the nuts on each of the eight bolts holding your trucks. Using your skate tool (or socket wrench), tighten each nut clockwise.
  3. How Tight? Aim to have the bolt heads sit flush with the top of your deck. Overtightening can damage your deck by sinking the bolts or tearing your grip tape.
  4. Cross Pattern: Tighten the nuts in a crisscross pattern (like tightening lug nuts on a car). This ensures even pressure on the baseplate and prevents warping.
  5. Check Regularly: Vibrations from riding naturally loosen skateboard hardware, so check your bolts before skating sessions. A few minutes of maintenance goes a long way.

Beyond the Basics: Fine-Tuning and Customizations

How do you adjust the alignment on a skateboard

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  • Grip Tape Management: Sometimes the bolt head wants to spin rather than sink into place. Hold the bolt head steady with a screwdriver while tightening the nut with the skate tool. This prevents the grip tape from bunching up.
  • Nylock Nuts: Hardware nuts often have a nylon insert (Nylock) to prevent loosening. If your hardware regularly loosens quickly, consider replacing the nuts with Nylock versions.
  • Lubrication: A tiny bit of light lubricant on the bolt threads can help prevent seizing or rust, particularly in wet climates. Don’t use it so much that the bolts aren’t held securely, though.
  • Kingpin Tension: The large nut on the center bolt of each truck influences turning. This is a complex adjustment; for now, stick to tightening it until it’s just snug, then experiment in small amounts later as you learn about truck tuning.

Related: Skateboard Deck Rails 101: Benefits, Types, and Installation

Why Tight Hardware Matters

Loose trucks and wobbly wheels can lead to several issues for skaters:

  • Loss of Control: Loose hardware makes your skateboard less stable and predictable, increasing the risk of unexpected wobbles and falls.
  • Damage to Your Deck: Repeated impact from loose bolts can damage the wood around the bolt holes, compromising the deck’s integrity over time.
  • Tricks Become Difficult: It’s nearly impossible to land tricks cleanly with loose trucks – your board simply won’t respond the way you want.
  • Reduced Safety: Any unexpected wobbles or instability while skating can increase your risk of injury.

When In Doubt – Ask!

If you’re unsure about any aspect of maintaining your skateboard, don’t hesitate to visit your local skate shop. The staff will be happy to help you, give advice on tools and upgrades, or even tighten your hardware for you.

The Right Tools, Simple Process

Tightening your skateboard hardware is essential for both the performance and longevity of your setup. Thankfully, it’s a quick and easy process that’ll help ensure you have fun and safe skating sessions. With a skate tool and a few minutes of your time, you can keep your board rolling smoothly.


Tightening your skateboard hardware is a simple task with a big payoff. By dedicating a few minutes to this maintenance, you’ll enhance your board’s performance, improve safety, and extend the lifespan of your deck. Make it a habit to check your hardware regularly, and remember that your local skate shop is always a great resource for help and advice. Now, get out there and skate with confidence!

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