You love to roller skate, and now you need to change those wheels! If you're outfitting your skates with outdoor wheels or adding a super speedy indoor set, you need to know how to change your wheels accurately to ensure your hardware stays in shape and you keep on rolling!
Unscrew axle nuts with your skate tool. Use the round part of your skate tool, which fits over any quad skate axle nut. This will allow you to take the wheels off the axles. Do this for all your wheels. Keep the axle nuts together. It shouldn't matter if you put an axle nut on a different axle than the one you took it off, because they're all the same size.
Take bearings out of your wheels. This is a tricky part. Bearings are the life's blood of your wheels, so you want to take care when taking them out. To do this, use the little metal nub on the other arm of your skate tool. Insert it into the centre of your bearing at a 45-degree angle, and when the tip of the nub passes the bottom edge of the bearing, angle your hand down and try to pry the bearing out of the centre. Don't pry too aggressively, or this could bend your bearings. If it doesn't come out the first time, just try again. Do this for all of your bearings. Just like your axle nuts, you don't need to keep them in any order.
Clean your bearings and axles. This is optional, but this is the perfect time to at least get a rag and wipe off the gunk from your axles and your bearings. This will extend the life of your skates and your hardware and ensure you have a smooth ride on the skating rink.
Insert bearings into your new wheels. This is much easier than taking them out! Simply use your hands to pop your bearings into place in the centre of your wheels. Remember, there are two bearings to a wheel: one on the inside, one on the outside. Make sure when you insert your bearings, the smooth side is facing out.
Put your wheels back on their axles. Make sure you put your new wheels on the right way. The side that is really flat goes on the inside. The side that has the big indentation in the middle and typically has the wheel brand and design in the centre faces out.
Tighten your axle nuts. You'll tighten your axle nuts the same way you took them off. Don't make them super tight or they won't roll. Tighten them just to the point your wheels can't move, then start to loosen them a quarter-inch turn until they spin freely but your wheels aren't loose and wobbly when they spin. Now, you're ready to roll!
If you do decide to clean your bearings make sure they are as dry as a bone before inserting them into your new wheels. To clean, soak them in a solution of one part water to three parts non-toxic citrus cleaner. Dry them off with a rag, then use a hair dryer to dry out the inner portion of the bearing. Leave to dry for another 24 hours just to make extra sure they are dry. Wet bearings will bend and lose their shape.