By Grainger Editorial Staff 2/23/23
Like most heavy-use equipment, power tools fall victim to wear and tear, malfunctions and electrical issues. Even when the best tool maintenance is carried out, tools can stop working and need immediate inspection and possibly repair. If you’ve experienced a belt sander smoking or a miter saw squealing, then you know tool malfunction is not something to take lightly.
However, with some careful examination, you can diagnose the cause of the issue and determine the next course of action. Check out these five red flags and how to properly inspect your tools for repair.
Remember, always make sure your power tool is disconnected from the power source before your try to diagnose any potential problems.
If your tools won’t start, it could hint at some larger electrical problems including a short or part malfunction.
Your tool starts but the power level is so weak that you’d probably be better off with a manual screwdriver. Or handsaw. Or bicycle pump. When your power tools lose their oomph (and it’s not a low battery), the most likely cause is old, worn carbon brushes that need replacing. The carbon brushes are the small carbon blocks that transfer the electrical current from your power source to the tool’s motor itself. These wear out through use. If your tool is losing power and doesn’t have the speed or strength it should, it could be an indicator that it is time to replace these parts. More cordless power tool manufacturers are using brushless motors in their products. This might be a good consideration if you're in the market to replace a cordless tool.
Malfunctioning motors tend to give off a very recognizable burning smell when something is wrong. Everything is still spinning but the tool is no longer working, and it just stinks.
Using power tools can be pretty loud. However, sometimes a power tool starts making a high-pitched screeching noise, or screaming; that goes above and beyond the loud hum of your electric hammer drill.
If your power tool begins to emit smoke or sparks, turn it off immediately. You should never continue using power tools that are smoking or sparking. Unplug the tool, set it aside, and allow it to cool down before attempting to diagnose or fix an issue.
The best way to avoid issues with your power tools is to take proper care of them with routine maintenance. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations for caring and keeping your tools. For optimum performance, make sure you're using all compatible accessories and power sources. Following a regular maintenance plan is usually the best way to head off potential problems before they start. Many common tool problems can be solved with simple checks and adjustments to determine if upgrades are available for your company’s needs.
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The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.