Power tools are indispensable to any DIY enthusiast and make life a whole lot easier when tackling projects in or around the home. These tools can cost a lot of money and you obviously want them to last as long as possible. The biggest factor in power tool failure and a shortened lifespan is neglect! Power tools need to be looked after and maintained properly to ensure that you get years of good service from them. Most power tools come with a warranty, however many of these companies won’t honor the warranty if serious neglect is evident. Keeping your power tools maintained is not a huge task and will only take a minute of your time after using it.
Cleaning your power tools:
Making sure that your tools are clean after use may sound like common sense but it’s very easy to overlook this important part of maintaining power tools. Dust and debris can dramatically shorten the lifespan of a power tool. Small particles that are not cleaned from the casing and air vents of the power tool will make their way to the inside of the tool and stick to the electrical and mechanical parts. These particles harden due to the heat generated by the tool, causing wear and deterioration.
Wipe your power tools with a micro fibre cloth after using. Clean the air vents with a small paint brush to ensure you remove all the dust and small particles that collect around those areas. Never use a cloth that is too wet, moisture should be kept away from power tools. Use alcohol to remove stubborn stains on the casing. If you do not have alcohol, use a cloth that is slightly damp.
Tools with external moving parts need maintenance to keep everything running smoothly. A drill press requires grease on some components to keep the table sliding smoothly. The chuck needs to be lubricated from time to time to ensure it opens and closes easily. Always check the manual of a power tool to see what lubricants are recommended for external moving parts.
A big part of the performance of a cordless tool is the battery. Looking after the battery will ensure a much longer lifespan. Here are a few points to remember;
- Keep the battery charged. Always put it back on charge after use.
- Never run the battery down completely. Cordless tool batteries last much longer when they are charged before they reach 50% of capacity.
- Charge the battery fully before use.
- Never leave the battery on charge for long periods after it is fully charged.
- Use battery regularly. The lifespan of a battery that is not used often is noticeably shorter than a battery that is frequently used.
- Make sure never to overheat the battery. When the battery feels too hot, stop working and let the battery cool down.
- Keep the battery dry.
Storing your tools in the right place is just as important as cleaning them. It is of no use to clean the tool, then store it in a place where it will gather a lot of dirt. Never store power tools on ground level as this is where it will collect the most dust.
“Store in a cool and dry place” is seen on a lot of products and is definitely the most important factor when storing your power tools. Moisture is a power tool killer! Moisture causes rust and will shorten the life of your tools dramatically. Excessive moisture can cause a short-circuit inside a power tool and end the life of it. Power tools should never be stored in sub zero temperatures. When you store your cordless drill and other battery operated tools in the winter, make sure that the tools will not be exposed to freezing conditions. During the winter months I store my cordless drills and power tools in the basement, where it is much warmer than the garage.
If you follow the maintenance tips in this article, your power tools will last for many years to come. Get out there and use those power tools!
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