We invest a lot in our power tools. Many of us really love them, but even with the best intentions, each of us could use a reminder about power tool maintenance. No matter how durable or high-performance our tools are, they require a certain level of up-keep to maintain their functionality. By remembering the following few maintenance practices, you’ll increase the life of your power tools and keep them performing better.
Better Power Tool Maintenance Rules:
Get ready; your first Better Power Tool Maintenance Rule is a multi-parter.
1. Keep your power tools clean, dry and temperate; this includes eliminating dust and debris.
A.) Don’t let your tools get wet and don’t expose them to extreme temperatures. To protect your tool from premature wear, corrosion and other damage, store and transport your tools cautiously (away from moisture, heat, cold and danger).
B.) Wipe down your tools after each use.
In its various forms, grease and gunk will bog down your tool. Wipe tools thoroughly after each use and periodically clean the inside of the tool, too. Breaking-down your tools to care for their individual components will ensure better performance and longevity. When wiping the tool, also check-on the fasteners that hold it together. Tighten anything that has come loose during operation.
C.) Eliminate dust and debris.
Using some form of compressed or canned air, blow-out your power tool’s vulnerable areas (i.e. the vents, the chuck, the trigger and etc). If unchecked, debris will collect and clog-up your tools; keeping them clear of this debris will keep the motor running smooth and allow your moving parts to keep moving freely.
2. Keep bits and blades clean and sharp.
Dull accessories deliver inferior performance and are much more likely to fudge a project than a clean, sharp accessory. Compensating for dull or gummy bits and blades can also overheat your tool’s motor. To ensure your safety, better results, and a healthier tool, keep your bits and blades wiped clean and sharpen or replace them when dull.
3. Oil your air tools.
Without lubricant in your air tools, components will break. Period. You must properly oil your air tools to ensure moving parts can move without excess friction. Over-oiling can also create a sludge within the tool that will slow it down. – Typically one drop of oil for every three-thousand shots is sufficient but please refer to your tool’s manual for precise oiling instructions.
4. Take care of your power cords and air hoses.
Improperly using, coiling and storing your power cords and air hoses makes them more susceptible to damage and much more prone to causing damage to you and others in your environment. Use your cords and hoses carefully and always store them properly. Inspect your power cords as you coil (and uncoil) them to ensure there are no breaks or other points of damage in the cord. Do not use a damaged power cord.
Specifically for your air compressors:
5. Keep your compressor properly oiled and drained.
You must refill the oil in your compressor. Check the oil level based on use and on manufacturer guidelines to ensure your machine remains smooth. It’s also crucial to drain your compressor’s tank after every use. If you don’t drain the tank, rust will severely damage the tool.
6. Replace parts when they need to be replaced.
There’s a lot going on on the inside of your power tools. Thanks to heat, friction and regular wear-and-tear, the components in your tools wear out. Check-in on your parts condition and replace them when they’ve become too worn/damaged to function properly. This will give you better performance and more overall life from your tools.
7. Keep and refer to your tool’s manual.
Your tool has a manual for a reason. Read it, keep it and let it be a resource for you throughout the life of the tool. When you need some direction while troubleshooting, diagnosing, maintaining or repairing your tools, the manual is always the best place to start.
The Big Sum-Up:
After long hours on the job, it can be easy to forget (or to not want) to take care of your power tools. The fact is, though, that these few practices take only moments of your time and add immeasurable value to your equipment. Keep up on your tools and they’ll do the same for you.