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Does your pinewood derby car have a raised wheel? We have the solution. It's as easy as ABC! 

Example of pinewood car


How to Lower a Raised Wheel on a Pinewood Derby Car

If your pinewood derby car has one wheel higher than the rest and your rules don't require that all four wheels touch the track then it is best to leave it that way. Your car will go faster with only three wheels touching.  If your rules do require that all four wheel touch the track then you can follow the steps on this page to lower the raised wheel.

You can check to see if you have a raised wheel by placing your car on a flat surface then push the car. You have a raised wheel if one of the wheels doesn't turn while the car is moving.

You will need:

  • One flat toothpick
  • Wood or paper glue
  • Credit card

If you don't have a flat toothpick, you can use a piece of string or a small wire. You can also use a round toothpick if you sand it down to 1/16" thick.

Our Axle Installer is recommended. Available at the bottom of this page.

Toothpick for raising a wheel

1. Cut off 1/2" from the small end of the toothpick. This is the part that you will use.

Check pinewood derby car for raised wheel

2. Place your car on a flat surface and slide the toothpick that you cut under the wheel.
3. Press down on both front corners of the car in turn. If they do not move down then the toothpick is the correct thickness. If the side opposite from the toothpick moves down then sand the toothpick to make it thinner. If the toothpick side moves down then you will need two toothpicks.

Glue toothpick in pinewood derby car slot

4. Remove the raised wheel and axle.
5.Glue the toothpick in the bottom of the slot. The end of the toothpick should not quite reach the side of the block.  Use the credit card to firmly press the toothpick into the slot.  Let dry.
6. Add another drop of glue in the slot about 1/4" from the block side.

Insert axle installer

7. Place the axle installer in the slot. Skip this step if you do not have an axle installer.

Insert wheel in pinewood derby car

8. Place the end of the axle 1/8" into the slot between the toothpick and axle installer. Press your thumb on the axle installer while inserting the axle to force the axle snug against the toothpick. The axle installer will raise up slightly. If you do not have an axle installer, push the axle straight into the slot just above the toothpick.

9. Place the wheel on the axle installer base then slowly press down on the car block while holding your thumb against the axle installer to insert the axle into the slot. You may need to wiggle the block a little when starting to make sure that the axle goes in straight. Push the axle all the way in. The axle installer will automatically set the proper gap.

10. Place some glue on the axle but keep the glue away from the wheel.

by Dave Murry
Pinewood Derby Axle Installer

Axle Installer

Axle Installers