The trucks are the metal component of your skateboard which connect your deck with your wheels. For a starter set of trucks it usually costs between $20~40.
The trucks allow for you to lean either back or forth on your skateboard, allowing for hard turns or more subtle changes in direction. Trucks last well up to a year or more depending on how often you skate, but its important to have a good pair to begin with. Here’s some basic information about trucks and how to choose a set that suits you.
Components of Trucks
Trucks themselves consist of multiple parts.
Some of these parts you can customize or replace individually. They are;
Baseplate/ Pivot Bushing
The baseplate is the flat plate which connects with the underside of your deck. The rubber cushion which serves as the entry point for the trucks hanger is called the “Pivot Busing“. The pivot bushing’s give allows for the trucks to make flexible turns and you can replace it with a harder or softer one to promote either stiffer or looser turns. The next part to know about is the “Kingpin“, which is explained next.
*Pivot busing and kingpin are changeable but baseplate itself is not.
Kingpin/ Kingpin Nut
The kingpin is a large bolt and a central component of a truck. Every smaller component of a truck passes over the kingpin and is tightened with a “Kingpin Nut.”
The most basic and easy way to adjust your own trucks for flexibility is by adjusting the tightness of your kingpin nuts. Too much tension increases the likelihood of breakage, however, so don’t be too tight. If you want really stable trucks, it is better to adjust the bushings, which are explained next.
*If your Kingpin breaks at any point, it is removable and changeable.
You can use a hammer and thin metal stick rod to hammer it out, though sometimes it may be lodged in too tightly to remove. If that’s the case, it’s bad luck, and you’ll have to replace the truck itself.
Washer caps protect the underside of your bushings against wear and tear from the metal underneath and above. Generally washer-caps don’t require replacing.
Bushings are the rubber cushions which are placed on either side of the hanger. They are the key component affecting your truck’s flexibility and smoothness for turns. If you purchase and install denser bushings, then your board will not react as much to shifts in your body weight from one side to the other.
Hanger/ Washer / Axle Nut
The hanger is the largest component of a truck. A hard metal column called the “Axle Shaft” jets out from either side of the hanger and it is to the ends of this shaft that you will attach your wheels.
“Washers” are thin rings which prevent the wheels from getting stuck to the hanger.
The wheels are tightened into place with a nut called the “Axle Nut.” Make sure your wheels are securely fastened so that they cannot move very much at all from right to left or left to right along the axle shaft.
Next let’s discuss how to choose the best pair of trucks for you.
High or Low?
Many trucks have two types, either “High” or “Low.” Similar to the differing effects of a deck’s either high or low “kick,” high trucks provide more space between the tail/nose from the ground, facilitating more popping potential, whereas low trucks provide less.
Again, as with low kick, lower trucks on the other hand require less effort to effectively pop. Though the difference between high and low trucks is not great, it is advisable to start with a set of low trucks when you are just learning how to skate.
Width of Trucks
Trucks come in several different widths. The rule of thumb is that the edges of the hangers should never protrude beyond the edges of the deck. Further, too much of a gap between the edges of the hangers and the edges of the deck is not good either.
As a good pair of trucks will last you a long time, you should invest in a pair from a reputable maker. Here is a list of some of the trusted brands out there.
Venture Trucks. One of the most popular brands, and pre-configured to be great for beginners.
Independent / Indy
Usually called “Indy Trucks.” Popular brand for skaters especially interested in transition (bowls, ramps, pools) skateboarding, known for producing the widest hanger width in the industry.
More flexible than the first two and great for street skating requiting high levels of technical proficiency.
Hardwares secure your trucks to your deck. They are sold separately from trucks. They generally come with either phillips or hexagon shaped (alan key) holes for screws.
You should make a habit of tightening them up sometimes because they have a tendency to loosen as you ride. You will notice that skateboard hardwares often have one or two of the screws in a different color from the rest, and this is so that you can more easily identify the tail from the nose when looking at the board from overhead.
When to Exchange?
As a last note, be aware that sometimes your trucks may seem to be broken but it is merely one component or another that requires replacement.
Grind tricks will gradually eat into your hangers, eventually ruining them. Bushings can wear out, and broken screw threads are not uncommon. If any of your screws get mangled, just unscrew them and replace. Skateshops will often be willing to give you a few screws (just be nice and ask polite!).