How To: Fix Squeaky or Clicking Longboard Trucks
It’s inevitable for all riders. At some point, you’ll be cruising along on your longboard skateboard deck, usually doing some aggressive carving or pumping and all you hear is “squeak squeak” as you turn. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had people come into our shop thinking that it was something wrong with the longboard bushings on their trucks.
In actuality, it’s the pivot cup that’s causing the noise. The pivot cup is the place where the bottom of your truck hanger sits in the baseplate. There is usually a hard, black, plastic insert (here it's orange) that helps the hanger fit snugly. When you get friction in that spot from putting a lot of pressure on the baseplates by heavy turning, it can start to squeak.
The best way to eliminate this annoying noise is by taking a few shavings of bar soap or wax and dropping them into the empty pivot cup (make sure you take your hanger out first). Then just distribute the soap/wax around the pivot cup evenly with your pinky finger or the actual pivot of the hanger. The added bonus is that your trucks will sometimes turn more fluidly when you eliminate that friction.
Here's a step by step picture story to help you figure out the source of the squeaking. We couldn't find the correct bar soap in the shop, so we took some pics of liquid soap instead. The reason you want to use bar soap instead of liquid soap is because liquid soap turns into a sticky gel after it dries out, which would return the squeak with a vengeance. Bar soap on the other hand is meant to sit out in the air whilst still retaining it's lubricating properties, which makes it the best candidate for fixing that damn squeak. we repeat: DO NOT USE LIQUID SOAP.
When I was in a pinch without any soap or wax around, I used Bones Speed Cream to lubricate the cup and that worked like a charm too. Or if you don't have any bearing lube and really want to lessen the noise, olive oil can work to lessen the squeak a little until you're able to get some soap or other lubricant. And as long as you’re doing that routine maintenance on your deck, might as well clean your bearings too. Click here to find out how.
Clicking most often comes from one of the washers on the kingpin moving around when it's not supposed to. Most commonly, the problem comes from the roadside (top) washer sticking to and releasing from the kingpin nut (like tectonic plates). There are several ways to fix this, listed below:
- Buy Atlas Precision Top Hat Washers - hug the kingpin like they were made for each other, removing all sideways movement
- Make sure you have proper bushing allocation and they're not slipping out from beneath the washer when you turn.
- Have the right washers for your bushings. Cones get small cups, barrels get large flat washers. Wedges or eliminators usually come with larger washers, however an eliminator fits well with a large cupped washer. If you want a flat washer and don't have one, flipping a cupped washer around so it's 'upside down' works well.
- As a last resort because it changes how the components 'talk' to each other, scrape the bottom of your kingpin nut against your grip to create less surface area contacting the washer, removing the stickiness between them.