What could happen to you if you don’t service your tools?

WOULD you take your car on a long journey without an MOT? Probably not.

However, many tradespeople who actually rely on their power tools to earn a living don’t even think to have their tools regularly serviced. It’s important to have all of the minor wear and tear issues looked at and repaired before you incur any major costs when they eventually break down.

All power tools require regular maintenance to keep them in top condition and to keep them performing at high levels whilst on site. 

All power tool service companies will be looking for carbon brush wear and contamination, as well as checking for any electrical or mechanical faults. 

There is nothing like a little false sense of security, and some cheeky negligence to lead to the loss of a finger or two.

Like everything, regular maintenance and servicing will go a long way towards preventing any major issues down the line and therefore prolonging the life of your tool.

Power tools don’t have it easy. They are usually working in dusty environments, where dust is likely to be drawn inside the tool by the cooling fan.

Dust can build up very quickly and if it gets bad, can end up obstructing the airflow of your tool.

If you don’t regular maintain your power tools, your warranty may not be valid and therefore lead to unnecessary and very frustrating repair costs!

It’s definitely not a good idea to operate your tools with blunt chains or cutters or loose fittings as it can end up putting an unnecessary strain on it.

The manufacturer’s hand-guide should explain the regular maintenance requirements of each tool and how to maximise the productivity and profitability levels of your new machine!

What does a service centre pro have to say?

Terry Grist, the general manager at Tool Sales UK, explains why he thinks all tradesmen should seek professional repairs and servicing for their much-loved power tools.

“As an established business that has been servicing and repairing tools for many years, we understand the need to keep businesses running. Whether that be for an independent sole trader or a larger organisation, we maintain a consistent approach to servicing and repairs (measured through our ISO 9001 certification) to ensure that we turn around repairs as quickly as possible. 

“With both technologies rapidly changing along with material costs, investments in tooling can often be significant to the purchaser, so offering a quality service that ensures ongoing reliability is critical. With this in mind, we are seeing increased focus on preventative maintenance to ensure no surprises and prolong the life of the tool. We operate with a number of businesses where this practice is either already in place or we identify a need and recommend this. Taking such action can add significant life to a product that in some cases (just to avoid hassle) is simply thrown away.

“Equally, whilst people embrace new technology where possible, we do find many customers can remain loyal to that classic ‘work horse’ in their collection that has been running for many years. Those tools have more than a functional value and we will always endeavour to source spares to keep that vital tool up and running. Fortunately, our years of experience across many brands allows us to advise and assist.

“This level of experience covers industries ranging from individual trades such as woodworking, electricians, plumbing through to large scale automotive or renewable energy (off-shore wind). Whilst each presents different challenges, we are well placed to offer support across all areas.

“What is important to all customers is offering a transparent service that offers tangible value for money, simplicity and reliability in every sense. 

“Getting it right first time (we even have this as a measure) gives assurance to the customer, but also opens new avenues to further business for both the customer and us.“

What are the risks associated with inadequate maintenance of power tools?

Poorly maintained construction tools can pose a huge threat to healthy and safety and significant safety risks to workers using them. The problem gets worse with the tool and increase with time. It makes sense to look after your kit, then it will look after you. From a simple PAT (portable appliance testing) test to ensure electrical safety to enclosure dust out. Regular maintenance is designed to support a tool so you can continue to keep earning.

Risks of lack or inadequate maintenance includes:

Hand Tools

Mechanical Failure or loss of control when using a tool with broken parts. An example is a hammer with a loose head, blunt chisels, and blunt saws.

Power tools

  • Malfunctioning of safety devices, such as kill switches or safety button, protective covers and physical safety guards. If these devices are not functioning, they may lead the operator to feel that they are safe to take risks. There is nothing like a little false sense of security, and some cheeky negligence to lead to the loss of a finger or two.
  • Risk of electricity or as we call it a construction perm. Electric shocks or burns are unsavoury at the best of time and can lead to a really bad day or death. Again, if you are not PAT testing your kit regularly, then get into the habit of checking for torn cables, lack of insulation or earthing.
  • Cracked or broken grinding wheels. These really can be fun. We have all seen the image of the chap with the protective goggles and a huge shard of cutting disc embedded which would have sliced his eye in half. Not only would that smart for a while. It may have been prevented with an updated disc
  • Emissions of chemical substances such as toxic fumes or dust. Rule of thumb, if you can smell something other than dust or your Lynx Africa, then you have a problem.
  • Noise and vibration. These two affect your senses leading to symptoms ranging from deafness, headaches, repetitive strain injuries, tennis elbow, or jack hammer judder as we like to call it. To severe and complex conditions such as “white-finger” where there is extensive damage to your muscles and nerves.
  • Psychological effects to sensory overload. Yep, you can go even more nuts that you are now.

In closing we suggest a look through your tool kit and take a few minutes to make sure your kit is bob on. Leaving things until next week may be too late.

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