by Craig Blake
Rollerblading with a pair of inline skates can be great exercise that gets up your heart rate without straining your joints, but if the wheels aren't working correctly, using inline skates can be a pain. Don't try to schlep around rollerblading with a set of old or damaged wheels. Changing wheels on rollerblades is fairly easy and not very expensive. If you aren't exactly sure what to do, never fear. We'll walk you through it.
Pick a wheel, any wheel. Before you do anything, make sure to get the right size of wheel for your inline skates. The spacing between the wheels is pretty crucial on each rollerblade. Inline skating with wheels that are too large for the wheel frame will either be impossible or very frustrating because the wheels will rub against one another. Also, when you purchase new wheels for inline skates, be sure to factor in their hardness. Wheel hardness ranges between 78A and 93A, with the highest numbers being the hardest. The harder the wheel is, the faster and more durable it will be. Softer wheels will have more grip.
Loosen the wheel. Use an Allen wrench to release the axel of the wheel. It's easier to start with the front wheel of your rollerblades if you are planning to replace all of them. That way you can remember which wheels you have already replaced.
Remove the wheel. After the axel is loose, you should be able to pull the wheel out of the wheel frame of your inline skates without any trouble. Remove the wheel and pull out the bearings and spacer from the inside of the wheel.
Make the switch. Place the bearings and spacer inside the new wheel.
Spin the wheel. Use the Allen wrench to tighten the new wheel back into the wheel frame of your rollerblades. Spin it to see if it spins easily. If it is too loose or tight, you can adjust it before moving on to the next wheel.
Test your wheels. Take your inline skates out for a spin. Sometimes it's hard to tell if you've tightened them too tightly by just spinning them. If the wheels seem too tight, stop and adjust them.