How To Look After Your Drills and Drill Bits 

By  Enda McLarnon

We are all probably guilty of not looking after our tools, and our drills and drill bits will be no exception. In many ways we take our tools for granted, and just expect them to work again and again, as and when we need them.

The reality is that, if we just did a little maintenance, a couple of times a year, then we could really extend the life of our drills, and the various accessories that we use on them. I have tried really hard to develop the habit of doing that.

I think more importantly, it just makes sure that when we do use them, then at least we will know they are in the safest condition possible.

The good news is that this does not take that long to do. All it really takes is a simple spot check, and then address anything that you may find. The timeĀ  taken will of course depend on the number of tools that you have. For most people though it will take no longer than 30 minutes a couple of times a year.

Below you will find my simple checklist that I use to make sure that I check all the important component parts of the drill.

Maintenance Drill Checklist

Electrical Leads

If you are using a corded drill then check that the plug itself is not cracked or damaged. If it is, then now is the time to get it changed. The point where the mains cord enters the drill is usually a weak point. This happens as there is naturally a lot of movement in and around this point.

This can also be weakened if the drill has ever been carried or lifted around by the lead. make sure that the fitting looks secure, that there is no fraying of the cable, and that no wires are showing. If they are then it really is time to repair or replace that lead.

When doing these checks at the plug end, and where it enters the drill, it is a really good idea to check the overall condition of the mains lead. Over the months this can get stood on, rubbed against various surfaces and may have become damaged. If in doubt, then always replace it as it is better to be safe than sorry.

Always refer to the actual owner’s manual before carrying out any repair work on your drill. Also check your warranty, as with many of the main manufacturers, warranties can become void if you tamper with the product.

The majority of problems with leads is at either end of the lead. It will either have pulled out from the plug by slipping under the small clamp, or likewise it may have pulled out of the drill. A quick check and a quick fix is an important thing to do.

Chucks and Chuck Keys

In almost all drills, the chuck and the chuck key will last for a very long time. In fact many of them will outlast the drill itself. It really does come down to the amount of use that it will be taking.

Once it starts to develop any form of chuck slipping, then that is the time to get it replaced. It is actually a pretty simple thing to do on most drills as you can see from the video below.

Switches and Buttons

Depending on the type of drill that you have, there will be a number of buttons and/or switches. Check these over and just make sure that they are not sticking or jamming. Also check them for any cracks.

It can be difficult to find replacement parts for these, especially if the drill is old. the best way to try and find them is by going to the manufacturer’s website and searching for the drill model number. More often than not, it can make more sense to buy a new drill.

Motor Bushes

Again, depending on the amount of use that your drill gets, over time the bushes on the motor inside the drill will eventually burn out. These will need to be replaced and it can be an awkward job to do yourself.

It can be done ok if you know what you are doing. If not get an electrician to do it for you. It is an easy task for them and it shouldn’t be too expensive. In these modern times, it is often just simpler to get a new drill. The cost of the part and the labour cost can quickly add up.

Those are the main things to check over, and it only takes a few minutes to give it a good looking over. Most of the newer 20 Volt drills now have brushless motors and those are one great invention.

Cordless Drill Batteries

When you buy a cordless drill, it will have a battery and perhaps a spare one, along with a battery charger.

A battery is usually attached to the base of the drill to provide power. When not in use the battery should be stored in a carrying case and not left attached to the drill.

They should also be fully charged when they are very low. There are two types of battery:

  1. NiCad
  2. Lithium-Ion

Li-Ion are always the better choice as they are faster to charge, and will also hold their charge for a great deal longer. They are of course slightly more expensive. All modern drills and drivers will usually come with this newer style battery.

Taking good care of the battery is of equal importance to taking care of the drill itself. Disconnect it when not in use and store it somewhere that is dry and absent of dust.

Maintaining Your Drill Bits

The most important thing to do is to make certain you always use the right bit when drilling a particular material. That alone will ensure that your work is more efficient, and that your bits don’t get damaged.

Other than that, just try to remember to give them a quick clean when you have finished using them, and then carefully store them away.

You can also easily keep these sharpened by using a drill bit sharpener. That will add many years to your drill bits, and also always have them ready for use.

Drill bits should also be stored somewhere that is moisture free. This will help prevent them from rusting. I have done a more detailed article on how to look after your drill bits.

As you can see, most of these tasks are simple to achieve, and just take a few minutes to keep your drill and your drill bits in tip top condition.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon is now retired and is now enjoying writing about his love of power tools. All types of these tools are now available and they make working on projects and DIY jobs around the home a great deal of fun

Enda McLarnon

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