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8 Tool Maintenance Tips You Need to Follow

Just a few simple steps can help keep your tools in great working condition.

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Family Handyman

Proper Storage

Always store tools in a dry, climate-controlled environment. Moist and dirty environments can cause hand tools to rust and dull, and storing power tools in damp areas can degrade electrical components and cause parts to corrode over time. While fitting power tools back into their cases can be a pain, the case will go a long way towards protecting its tool from the environment. If your socket wrench case is always a mess, here’s a way to keep it orderly.

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Regular Cleaning

It might seem like overkill at first, but be sure you clean each of your power tools every time you finish using it. Cleaning methods will vary from tool to tool, but most of the time everyday cleaning can be as simple as wiping dirt and dust from the casing. A good wipe down will keep particles from building up and getting into your tool’s internal mechanisms. Tighter areas like filters can be kept dust free with a few blasts from a can of compressed air.

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Regular Inspection

If you use a certain power tool every day, it can be easy to overlook when that tool’s performance gradually drops over time. That’s why it is important to at least semi-regularly take a moment and inspect your most-used tools, paying close attention to signs of wear and performance issues.

Run a few basic operations with a tool, paying close attention to warning signs like weaker than normal power levels, any sort of burning smell, and strange buzzes and noises coming from inside the tool. Any of these is a strong indicator that there’s something off with your tool and it may require some extra attention.

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Battery Maintenance

Batteries for your power tools are expensive. The good news is that proper care can extend the life of your batteries and keep your tools operating at their highest levels. Batteries should be stored in controlled environments where the temperature remains consistent. Heat kills battery performance, so don’t leave them in direct sunlight. Always let them cool down after use and after charging. And try not to let your batteries drain completely before recharging, as this can degrade their lifespan.

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Tool Lubrication

Lubrication is an often neglected maintenance step. Failure to keep up can significantly drag down tool performance, causing issues like chafing that can make parts deteriorate quickly. Most likely each of your tools has a section in their owner’s manual explaining proper lubrication practices. Follow the recommended steps to ensure that your power tools remain the well-oiled machines they are meant to be.

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Regular Bit Sharpening

Eventually, the sharpened tips of your saw blades and drill bits become worn down and dulled. When you use a dull bit or blade, you’re essentially forcing that tool to work even harder. By regularly sharpening bits and blades, your power tools work through materials more efficiently, putting less stress on the tool’s motor and extending its life.

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Cool Down Periods

Quality power tools are tough, durable machines made to cut, drill and chew through some pretty tough materials. But even the most well-made tools have a breaking point, and it’s important to recognize when you’re pushing a tool up to or past its natural limit. If you’re performing a tough task like drilling into concrete and a tool overheats, give it a break. Simply letting a motor cool off can go a long way toward making sure that your tools last.

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Parts Replacement

A tool failing is not always a sign that it should be thrown out or replaced with a newer model. Sometimes, all it needs is the replacement of an essential part, like a drive belt or a carbon brush. Many manufacturers have sections on their website dedicated to selling replacement parts. If you’re not comfortable replacing the parts yourself, some home improvement stores like The Home Depot offer tool repair services.