8 Tool Maintenance Tips You Need to Follow

Updated: Oct. 27, 2023

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

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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.

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Clean Often

It might seem like overkill at first, but be sure that each of your power tools gets cleaned 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. Something as simple as 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.

Your tools aren’t the only thing you should keep clean. Here are 11 ways to keep your workshop neat and tidy.

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Remember to Regularly Inspect Your Tools

If you are in the habit of using a power tool every day, it can be easy to fail to notice 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 pretty 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 and always let them cool down after use and after charging. Also, try not to let your batteries drain completely before recharging, as this can degrade their lifespan.

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Keep Tools Lubricated

Lubrication is an often neglected maintenance step that can really drag down tool performance, causing issues like chafing that can cause parts to quickly deteriorate. Most likely, each of your tools will have 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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Sharpened Bits = Longer Tool Life

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

Here’s a video on how to sharpen router bits.

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Let Tools Cool Down

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 to or past its natural limit. If you’re performing a tough task like drilling into concrete and a tool has overheated, 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 that needs to happen to get a tool back in working condition 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;¬†and if you’re not comfortable replacing the parts yourself, some home improvement stores like The Home Depot offer tool repair services.

We have plenty of how-tos for tool repair, too. For example, here is how to repair a framing nailer.