Home Archive How to Take Care of Your Onsite Tools
Home Archive How to Take Care of Your Onsite Tools

How to Take Care of Your Onsite Tools

By Bill Kennedy, Service and Repair Manager, iQ Power Tools


Tools are designed to make jobs easier, but how do you ensure their long-lasting durability and efficiency? Following are some common questions I’m asked in my day-to-day as a service and repair manager, and why it’s so important to keep your tools in the best shape possible.

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What is the difference between cleaning and maintaining a tool?

Cleaning a tool is part of tool maintenance; the process removes any build-up collected from the jobsite, allowing for a better visual inspection of the tool itself. It’s advisable to inspect for cracks that may lead to a catastrophic failure of the tool. Examples of these include cracks in the support arm, pinches, and breaks in the power cord.


What are the top five benefits to proper maintenance?

These are, not necessarily in order: safety, uptime, efficiency, lifespan of the tool and overall value! Proper maintenance ensures the tool’s dependability and safety. Regular checking of the brushes and making sure the blade is dressed or conditioned, for example, adds to the dependable performance of the tool. Additionally, checking things that the naked eye cannot see, such as the current draw of a motor, is an item that one should check if the tool’s performance has become less effective. Proper routine maintenance will always positively impact any power tool’s safety, dependability, lifespan, and value.


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What is the importance of tool accessories (blades, filters, etc.)?

For all masonry and tile saws, the blade, filters, and louvres are all integral parts of the cutting system…and thus, are all equally important. The blade is the component that physically engages the tile or paver and performs the cutting. It is important that the blade be matched with the material and be dressed or conditioned. If the blade is not correct or conditioned for the material, it will have difficulty performing the cut.

The filter protects the vacuum motor from damage. It ensures the vacuum motor does not become clogged with particulates, in order to maintain the proper vacuum power needed to collect the dust.

The louvres direct the flow of the large particulates into the correct chamber. The centrifugal direction of the blade’s rotation channels the particulates into the louvres and on to the correct chamber.

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Maintaining motor brushes is one of the most important and simplest maintenance procedures. Regardless of the tool, motor brushes should be inspected at least once a year. As the machine gets used, carbon on the brushes gets worn down. When the carbon is worn completely, the motor cannot work because it no longer makes contact with the commutator. Replacing the brushes is a five-minute, $10 process that can save you hundreds of dollars in future motor repair.


Why is proper storage such an integral step?

Properly storing your tools should be the first and last step of proper maintenance. After using the tool at the end of the day, it should be thoroughly cleaned and inspected. Therefore, at the beginning of the next workday, that tool is ready to go. Storing tools in dry areas is key to preventing any electrical issues. No electric tool should be left outside, where it is at greater risk of moisture damage.


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What should one look for when inspecting their tools?

There are two types of inspection. Firstly, there is daily inspection prior to use. This step makes sure the tool is ready for use (tub is empty, power cord has no pinches or cracks, rolling table rolls smoothly etc.). Secondly, maintenance inspection should be performed routinely—normally between jobs. A routine maintenance inspection checks the quality of the tool to identify any component needing repair.

When it comes to construction tools…let’s not be fools. Anything that you invest in obviously should be kept in tiptop condition. Certainly, for the tools of your trade, treat them with respect. This will pay off in dividends to you down the line.


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Here are some of the effects of using the incorrect blade or forcing the cut with excessive pressure, not allowing the blade to perform the cutting.

Photos 1 & 2: Brushes could overheat and fail.

Photos 3 & 4: The commutator on the armature could overheat and short bars, leading to a failure.

Photo 5: The stator could overheat and fail.

Photo 6: The blade could bind and “kick back” damaging the support arm.


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