Good power tools can be quite an investment, so if you take good care of them, they will last longer. Proper caring and maintenance of your power tools can also make any home improvement or DIY projects more rewarding and successful. To get the most out of their value, power tools must be properly cleaned, stored and maintained.
Here are some tips for maintaining your power tools:
1. Use the tools only for their intended purposes
Use only your tools for the job they were intended. Misusing them to perform a task it is not intended to do is a sure way to break it. Also, a lot of performance issues on tools are caused by using it for something it wasn’t designed for. For instance, cutting tools should only be used to cut the materials they are designed to cut. Don’t use a mitre saw designed for wood in cutting metal. In other situations, misusing a power tool can not only lead to the deterioration of the tool, but can also put the operator in danger.
2. Keep the instruction manual and follow manufacturer guidelines
To get the proper level of reliability and durability expected from tools, follow instruction manuals and maintenance recommendations given by the manufacturer. Instruction manuals also have valuable information on how to properly operate the tool, how to care for the tool, how to store it best, where to find replacement parts and other important pieces of information. Store the manuals of your power tools together in one cabinet or shelf so you can easily find them whenever you need instructions. If a manual is lost or replaced, you can check out the manufacturer’s instructions online on their websites.
3. Store power tools properly
Keep your power tools protected from moisture, dust and other adverse conditions by storing them properly after every use. As much as possible, keep them in their original cases, like the hard plastic cases they usually come with, especially if you don’t have a climate-controlled garage. If you own a lot of power tools, it’s best to store them in a spacious cabinet that will prevent moisture and dust from entering. Make sure to place silica gel packs in drawers along with the tools to keep rust away. You may also buy rust inhibitors or even anti-rust liners for drawers before you store power tools in it.
The best way to keep your power tools in its optimum condition is to manage the temperature in your garage. It’s best to keep it air-conditioned because garages usually have humidity issues. But if that’s not practical for you, consider investing in a dehumidifier to keep the dampness down.
4. Clean them after every use
Cleaning your tools may be the last thing you want to do after a busy day working at your garage, but it’s important to prolong the life of your power tools. Doing a little cleaning is a little hassle compared to needing to repair the tool in the future due to lack of maintenance, or finding a replacement when it fails.
Every after use, wipe your power tools clean with a rag then store it into its proper place. Periodically do some deep cleaning using a damp cloth, and tackle hard-to-reach areas with lightly oiled cotton swabs or other slender tools. To remove all the dust, you can use an air compressor to blow air into vents and crevices of the tool.
5. Inspect and repair your power tools
Take time to inspect your tools every time you use them not only to keep your tools last longer but to also ensure your own safety when using them. Here are the things to look for and inspect:
- Cracked housing – If your power tool has anything more than a simple hairline crack on its housing, it can be unsafe to use. It needs to be repaired by a professional unless you have expertise in repairing it.
- Rust and corrosion – Depending on the level of rust or corrosion, the tool may be unsafe to use. Try removing it yourself when the damage isn’t that great. But if it’s really rusty or corroded, you might need to replace the tool (or just the damaged spare part).
- The tool doesn’t start easily – If your tool needs a little push or beating to get it running, or if your tool needs a couple of tries before it gets to start, don’t use it. Clean it and lubricate it first. If it doesn’t fix the problem, it needs to get repaired. Sometimes you can do the repairs yourself like fitting in a new power cord or switch or replacing a belt on a sander.
Power tools have accessories that are subject to wear, and they should be kept in good condition and replaced as needed with spare parts from the manufacturer. If a repair needs to be done by a pro, then it’s best to send it to an authorized center.
6. Check the cords
Don’t forget checking the power cords on your tools as well. This can ensure that your power tool can get the power it needs to work properly without accident. Keep an eye out for loose wires and any frayed insulation or exposed wires must be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Damaged cords can lead to electric shock or may cause a fire. Also check the cord’s prongs to see if they are loose or bent, and if they are, it needs repair or replacement. It’s also a good practice to unplug your tool when not in use.
7. Cool down heated tools
Once you put a lot of stress on the motor, like when you’re using the tool for extended periods of time, it can overheat. If you notice your tool getting hot in your hands, stop what you’re doing and give it time to cool down and take a break. Things can get tired, too. Cooling down for some time will save you from wearing out the motor or burning parts.
8. Lubricate moving parts
Any moving part in a power tool must be kept lubricated for premium performance. Not only does it keep the moving parts of a tool running smoothly, but it also decreases the chance of developing rust. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly lubricate your tool’s model and which lubricant to use. Common machine oil is great generally, but some tools are better lubricated with a specific type of oil.
9. Sharpen blades and bits
Tools with blades and drill bits need sharpening once in a while to keep them usable at an optimal level. If you notice that your saw blades and drill bits are worn out, you have to work your power tool even harder to get the job done. This causes extra stress on the motor and causes you to consume more energy as you need to use the tool for a longer time. If you own a belt sander, you can use it for sharpening knives and blades. Drill bits are sharpened through a grinder, or better yet, a drill-bit sharpener for accuracy.
10. Keep batteries in shape
Cordless, battery-powered tools are portable and convenient and are becoming a common choice when it comes to power tools. To keep them running efficiently, it’s important to maintain the batteries. Batteries remain at peak working levels when fully charged and then discharged once every couple of weeks. Try to use your batteries at least once every two weeks. If you’re not going to use your power tool for several months, remove the batteries from the tool to prevent possible damage from leaking.
Lithium-ion batteries are a standard for power tools, and you must manage heat to keep it well maintained. Extended use of a tool can cause a battery to overheat, and constant overheating can fry it beyond repair. Like mentioned earlier, you must take some time to let the batteries cool down. Also, batteries need to be stored in a climate-controlled area or room temperature. Avoid leaving it in places where temperature spikes, such as in the back of a truck or inside the glove compartment of your car during the summer. Clean your batteries by using cotton swabs and alcohol.