Help with front fork/axle

So I removed my front wheel like i have many times before.

I got my own tire change tools and am learning how to do that process. I got the front tire done (after alot longer than I expected) and now when im trying to install the front wheel/axle the axel doesnt fit.

Based on my diagonsis it appears that even though I loosened all the pinch bolts that the bottom part of the fork didnt actually release.

Has this happened to anyone? Is it safe to use a screwdriver and rubber mallet to slightly pry it open so the axle slides back in safely ?

you can use a smal screw driver to pry them apart. If im understanding what your having trouble with, the thick part at the end of the axle wont fit in the opening so ti fits flush. That opening in the fork leg is like the perfect size for the large end of the axle and can sometimes be a real paint o get in there. just make sure its lined up really well.

Yup a screwdriver and a hammer and some patience and I was able to get it right back in there. Was just concerned I might break something.

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