How To Change The Wheel on a Bench Grinder

When it’s time for a new wheel on your bench grinder, you might be confused. How are you supposed to remove the wheels, let alone change them? Luckily, the process is easier than you might think.

In this guide, we’ll teach you how to change the wheel on a bench grinder. Our instructions will be detailed so you won’t get lost along the way.

Why Should You Change the Bench Grinder’s Wheel?

Before learning how to do the change, you should learn why you might change your grinding wheel. Let’s review some of the biggest reasons why.

Wheel is Chipped or Cracked

Whenever there are chips or cracks, your wheel can shatter. These mechanical damages can make the wheel too weak to operate. Once they’re spun and put in contact with a material, they’ll simply fail.

Wheel is Worn

The wheels will wear down over time. When the diameter is down to about 1.5 to 2 inches, then it’s time to change the wheel. Waiting too long will result in the metal at the center of the wheel coming in contact with the material you’re grinding, tearing it up.

It’s Not Grinding Like It Used To

When it feels like something’s wrong with your grinder, it could just be a wheel that needs to be replaced. As the wheel gets smaller, the speed of rotation becomes less effective. It’s the same reason why a 45 and a 33 record are spun at different speeds.

Replace the wheel and see if the machine works better.

How To Change The Wheel on a Bench Grinder

Let’s walk you through the complete project. These 8 steps will get you from the beginning to the very end of the grinder wheel replacement process.

Tools Needed

The tools that you’ll need are very minimal, but it depends on what type of grinder you have. In general, you can get away with just a:

  • Phillip’s head screwdriver
  • Two adjustable wrenches
  • Some WD-40
  • New grinding wheels

Step #1: Unplug the Grinder

First and foremost, you need to make sure you’re being safe. You don’t want this grinder accidentally turning on and ripping off your finger.

Simply turning off the machine isn’t enough — it should be fully unplugged from the wall.

Doing this also allows you to move the grinder to a table that has enough room to work on. No need to squeeze into a small area or bend over for this replacement process.

Step #2: Remove the Guards/ Covers

You’ll notice that you can’t get to the grinding wheel or wheels of your machine. There are a number of guards and covers in the way that you’ll need to remove.

We don’t know how your specific bench grinder looks, but our DeWalt grinder has two guards and two covers that need to all be removed.

Most grinders fasten these components using standard Phillip’s head screws so it shouldn’t require any fancy tools to get yours off.

The best part? There should only be a handful of screws holding these pieces on. The process should take a few minutes at most.

Step #3: Loosen One Nut, Oil It, and Put it Back On

With the guards and covers removed, you’re almost able to remove the wheels. You’ll notice that you can spin the wheels but can’t take them off, no matter how hard you pull.

Look at the center of the wheel and you’ll see a nut on either side, holding everything together.

That nut is on a shared rod that goes across the whole unit. In other words, when you spin one wheel, the other will also spin.

This makes it hard to remove both wheels.

The right way to do things is to start with one nut. It doesn’t matter which, but we’ll use the one on the right-hand side of the grinder.

Turn the wheel to see which direction it wants to rotate. Rotating the nut in this same direction will loosen the nut.

In our case, the right-hand wheel turns counterclockwise when we look at the wheel head-on. This means that we have to turn the nut counterclockwise to remove it.

Use two adjustable wrenches here. The one in your left hand will be holding the left-hand nut steady. The one in your right hand will be turning the right-hand nut in the same direction that the wheel spins.

Do this until the right-hand nut is completely free. Spray a generous amount of WD-40 onto the threaded rod and put the nut back on, tightening it by turning it the opposite direction.

Step #4: Loosen and Remove the Other Nut

Now it’s time to work on the other nut. In our case, it’s the one on the left-hand side. We’ll use an adjustable wrench in our right hand to keep that nut steady while we loosen with the left adjustable wrench.

Completely remove the nut.

Step #5: Wedge the Wheel and Remove the Oiled Nut

It’s nearly impossible to use just an adjustable wrench to remove the remaining nut. There’s nothing to grab onto on the left-hand side.

This is exactly why we used WD-40.

Use a wedge, like a triangular piece of wood. Push the wedge into the gap between the wheel and the framework of the grinder.

Secure the wedge and turn the oiled nut to loosen it with an adjustable wrench. Since it was oiled, it should come free with minimal force.

Step #6: Remove and Change the Wheels

This is the first time that both grinding wheels can be removed. Take both of them off and put on the new wheels that you have prepared.

If the new wheels don’t fit or you forgot them, that’s not a problem. The bench grinder can sit exactly how it is currently until you get replacement wheels. Make sure you keep those metal spacers around the wheel exactly how they were when you removed the old wheel.

In most cases, there will be one metal spacer on either side of each wheel. Sometimes there are more underneath the wheel to give it more distance from the collar of the motor.

Step #7: Put Back on Nuts and Tighten

Now it’s time to reverse the process. Tighten the nuts by driving them in the opposite direction that you used to loosen them.

You won’t need to wedge either wheel in this case because the wheel’s axle won’t want to rotate in this direction. It’s a lot easier to put the nuts back on than it is to loosen them.

Step #8: Put Back on the Guards/ Covers

Finally, replace the guards and covers in the same orientation that they were when you removed them. It’s really important to double-check that the guards are fully tightened so they don’t fall off while you’re using the grinder later.

Removing a Stuck Grinding Wheel

Some of our readers are on one of the steps right now, scratching their heads. Our instructions seemed pretty simple, but your grinder wheel isn’t going anywhere or the nut isn’t budging. Your grinding wheel is stuck.

It shouldn’t be too hard to get the wheel un-stuck. Here are some helpful tips:

  • You might need a second pair of hands to help you pull the wheel free.
  • If you can’t get it to budge by hand, you can use a screwdriver and light hammer to tap the nut or wheel loose.
  • WD-40 is your best friend here. Coat around the nuts, bolts, and washers before trying to remove them again.
  • Try using an impact wrench to get more torque than just a pair of adjustable wrenches. Just be careful that you don’t torque too hard and break the wheel or strip the nut.


Now you know how to change the wheel on a bench grinder. Follow our steps and you’ll have a new grinding wheel installed in no time. For more instructional guides for your tools, explore the rest of our blog. Reach out with any questions.

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