How to Put Wheels on Pinewood Derby Car

Jan 11, 2024

The Importance of Proper Wheel Installation

When it comes to building a winning Pinewood Derby car, every detail matters. One crucial aspect that cannot be overlooked is the proper installation of the wheels. The way you attach and align the wheels can significantly impact your car's speed and performance on race day. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of putting wheels on your Pinewood Derby car, ensuring optimal performance and a competitive edge.

Gather the Required Materials

Before you begin the wheel installation process, make sure you have all the necessary materials at hand:

  • Pinewood Derby car kit
  • Four Pinewood Derby wheels
  • A fine-grit sandpaper
  • A small screwdriver
  • A wheel alignment tool
  • A lubricant

Step 1: Preparing the Wheels

The first step in putting wheels on your Pinewood Derby car is preparing them for installation. Start by sanding the wheel surface to remove any imperfections or mold marks. This will ensure a smooth and even contact patch, reducing friction and maximizing speed. Be careful not to over-sand the wheels, as this can lead to instability during the race.

Step 2: Axle Hole Preparation

Next, you need to prepare the axle holes in the Pinewood Derby car body. Use a small screwdriver to clean out any debris or excess wood from the holes. Ensure that the axle holes are smooth and free from any obstructions that could hinder the wheel's rotation.

Step 3: Attaching the Wheels

Now, it's time to attach the wheels to your Pinewood Derby car. Place each wheel on the respective axle and push them onto the car body until they fit snugly. Make sure the wheels are aligned properly and parallel to each other. This alignment is crucial for reducing unnecessary friction and maintaining stability throughout the race.

Step 4: Wheel Alignment

Achieving proper wheel alignment is essential for maximizing your car's performance. Use a reliable wheel alignment tool, ensuring the wheels are perpendicular to the car body and the axles are parallel. This alignment allows for minimal contact between the wheel and the car body, reducing drag and increasing speed.

Step 5: Lubrication

Lubrication plays a vital role in minimizing friction between the wheels and the axles. Apply a small amount of lubricant to each axle to ensure smooth and free-wheeling motion. Use a lubricant specifically designed for Pinewood Derby cars to avoid any adverse effects on your car's performance.

Additional Tips and Techniques

  • Consider using lightweight wheels to reduce rotational inertia and improve acceleration.
  • Experiment with different wheel alignment positions to find the sweet spot for your car's performance.
  • Avoid over-tightening the wheel screws, as this can lead to wheel binding and decreased speed.
  • Regularly clean and lubricate your car's wheels to maintain optimal performance.
  • Practice extensively before race day to fine-tune your car's performance and achieve the best results.


Properly installing the wheels on your Pinewood Derby car is a crucial step in optimizing its speed and competitiveness. By following the steps outlined in this guide, and implementing additional tips and techniques, you'll be well on your way to dominating the competition. Remember, attention to detail and thorough preparations are key to building a winning Pinewood Derby car.

how to put wheels on pinewood derby car