How to Tighten Skateboard Trucks Without Tools?

Learning how to tighten your skateboard trucks properly is an essential skill for any skater. Keeping your trucks at the ideal tightness can maximize both stability and steering capability on your deck. But what if you need to tighten them and don’t have the proper skate tool handy? Don’t worry, you can still dial in your trucks even without tools using some simple methods.

What Are Skateboard Trucks and Why Tighten Them?

person Tightening Skateboard Trucks

Skateboard trucks are the metal T-shaped components that connect the wheels to the bottom of the skateboard deck. They consist of various parts:

  • Hanger – U-shaped metal piece that holds the wheels and axle
  • Baseplate – Flat platform that bolts to the deck
  • Bushings – Round shock absorbers inserted in the hanger to allow steering
  • Kingpin – Large bolt that holds the hangers and bushings together

Tightening your trucks serves several key functions:

  • Stability – Tighter trucks minimize wobbles at higher speeds
  • Steering – Loosen trucks provide more responsiveness when carving
  • Balance – An ideal middle ground helps balance stability and steering
  • Prevents damage – Stops hangers from rotating dangerously or falling off

Getting the right tightness dialed in through adjustment keeps you in control and prevents mechanical issues.

Tightening Skateboard Trucks Without Tools

While a skate tool is the proper way to tweak your trucks, you can still tighten them even without using some common household items. Here are five simple tool-free methods:

1. Use a Pliers

If you have an adjustable pliers handy, it can substitute for a skate tool fairly well. Simply clamp the jaws down onto each kingpin nut and turn like you would using a proper skate tool. Apply pressure slowly and gently to avoid stripping the nuts.

2. Tighten with Mugs or Glasses

Ordinary ceramic kitchenware like mugs and glasses can also work in a pinch. Turn them upside down and use the raised bottom ring to grip onto each truck nut. Twist slowly as if using a socket to tighten the kingpin. Be careful not to chip or crack the glassware.

3. Employ Coins as DIY Tools

The ridges around the edge of many coins allow them to grip the kingpin nuts enough to turn. Use a large coin that fits over the nut such as a Half Dollar or Susan B. Anthony Dollar. Apply gradual twisting pressure with your fingers until each truck tightens.

4. Wrap With Rubber Bands

Rubber bands stretched around the nuts can create friction allowing basic tightening. Choose medium to large #32 or #64 bands. Circle 2-3 bands tightly around each nut, overlapping them for grip. Twist the overlapped area slowly like a makeshift handle to tighten.

5. Use Bottcaps for Extra Leverage

For better leverage, bottlecap lids from plastic soda/water bottles can be substituted as mini-skate tools. Find caps with internal ridges that bite the nuts. Position a cap ridge-side down onto each nut. Press down firmly while rotating flat-side up to tighten trucks.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Follow these step-by-step to properly tighten your skateboard trucks using common household items:

With Pliers

  1. Locate the kingpin nut atop each truck baseplate. They connect the hangers and bushings.
  2. Adjust your pliers to clamp down on the flat sides of a nut securely without slipping.
  3. Slowly twist the handles clockwise while gripping the nut firmly but gently with the jaws.
  4. Tighten until snug but not overly tight, checking stability and steering.
  5. Repeat the process to tighten the other three kingpin nuts the same amount.

With a Mug or Glass

  1. Position your skateboard so the bottom of a truck nut points upward.
  2. Place the bottom ridge of an inverted mug or sturdy glass directly onto the nut.
  3. Apply gradual downward force while slowly rotating the mug clockwise using your fingers.
  4. Tighten the nut securely checking for excessive resistance during rotations.
  5. Change the angle and repeat the mug-tightening process on all four kingpin nuts.

With Coins

  1. Identify the largest coin size you have that can fit over the top ridge of each truck nut. Great options are a Half Dollar, Susan B. Anthony, or Sacagawea Dollar.
  2. Put the coin ridge-side down directly onto one nut to maximize surface contact.
  3. Firmly pinch the coin ridge against the nut ridge using your thumb and fingers.
  4. Keeping pressure, slowly twist the coin clockwise working against resistance to tighten the nut.
  5. Repeat using the ridge side of the coin on all four truck nuts until evenly snug.

With Rubber Bands

  1. Stretch 2-3 medium (#32) or larger (#64) rubber bands lengthwise.
  2. Circle the rubber bands very tightly together around the flat sides of one kingpin nut, overlapping the ends.
  3. Pinch the overlapped stretched rubber ends and slowly twist clockwise to tighten the nut.
  4. Take care not to snap the rubber bands – twist gently with gradual pressure.
  5. Repeat wrapping bands tightly around the remaining three truck nuts and twist to tighten.

With Bottcaps

  1. Find plastic bottlecaps with inner ridge teeth from soda bottles or similar bottles.
  2. Position a cap teeth-side (inside ridges) down directly onto each truck kingpin nut.
  3. Press the bottcap firmly down while ensuring teeth have full contact with nut ridges.
  4. With teeth gripped, slowly rotate the cap using the outer edges to turn the nut and tighten the trucks.
  5. Repeat positioning, pressing, and rotating caps on all four nuts until the trucks tighten.

Tips for Proper Tightness

When tightening your longboard or skateboard trucks without tools, keep these tips in mind:

  • Tighten all four kingpin nuts evenly the same amount to optimize balance and handling.
  • Check stability and steering after gradual tightening until satisfied.
  • Avoid over-tightening which restricts responsiveness – trucks should not be totally rigid.
  • Test ride after adjusting to fine-tune tightness and performance.
  • Always re-check kingpin nuts after sessions for any looseness from riding vibration.

The ultimate goal is evenly and adequately tightened but not overly stiff trucks supporting control at varying speeds. A smooth, responsive turn that avoids wheel bite delivers that ideal sweet spot.

Warning Signs Your Trucks Are Too Loose

While too tight of trucks hinders steering and carving, leaving your hangers too loose also creates problems including:

  • Stability issues at faster speeds – significant wobbles
  • Wheel bite while deeply carving – sudden stops
  • Truck components loosen further from vibration
  • Trucks rotating out of safe alignment

Watch for these warning signs of trucks that are too loose and require immediate tightening:

  • Excessive wobbles that are difficult to control
  • Sudden jarring stops from wheel bite amid carves
  • Noticeable slack, play, or rattling feeling in the trucks
  • Visible rotation of hangers beyond the intended angle

Address any of the above problems right away by tightening trucks before continuing riding. Loose trucks only grow more dangerous the longer they are left as is.


Learning how to tighten skateboard trucks without proper tools is a valuable skill for any skater to pick up. Whether your skate tool goes missing or you simply forget it, you can still dial in ideal tightness. With a few handy household items and the right techniques, keep your trucks secure at optimum tightness regardless of the situation. Just be sure to tighten slowly, test frequently, and avoid overdoing it. Properly tightened trucks deliver the perfect blend of stability, steering, and control.

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