Guide to Cordless Drill Maintenance

Guide To Cordless Drill Maintenance

Keep your power drills in good condition and they will continue to work efficiently for years to come. In this guide to cordless drill maintenance, we cover the top tips for taking proper care of this invaluable tool.

When it comes to equipment maintenance, seasoned workers have an unspoken rule: ‘take care of your tools and they will take care of you.’

Cordless drills are considered an indispensable tool in every worker’s arsenal. So, if you own one, or are planning to buy one soon, it’s important that you learn how to properly maintain it too.

After all, isn’t it annoying when you eagerly start working on a project only for your drill to give up halfway in between?

Perhaps the battery dies sooner than expected, or the drill unexpectedly stops working altogether. Poor maintenance of power tools can not only affect their operational efficiency, but also void warranties.

This can cause you considerable damages in terms of both time and money as it hinders work progress and forces you to spend extra dollars on repair or purchase of a new drill.

In this guide, we will help you learn all that you need to know about cordless drill maintenance by answering technical questions like:

  • Where should you store your drill?
  • How to clean your cordless drill?
  • What are the warning signs that your drill is failing?

…and lots of other useful information about keeping cordless drills in good condition.

Let’s begin by understanding the right way to store your drill when it is not in use.

Where Should You Store Your Drill?

diy wall mount for drills and batteries

Whether you are a dedicated tradesperson, a DIY-enthusiast, or someone who picks up a tool only once in a while, so long as you have a cordless drill in your ownership, it’s essential that you know how to store it properly.

You shouldn’t leave your cordless drill just lying around on the workbench or shove it in a corner in your tool shed when you are finished working. This can cause dust and debris to collect in the small crevices on the tool, especially near the drill bit.

Most cordless drills come with a storage case made from hard plastic or any other similar material. You should always place the drill back in its case once you are done for the day.

This keeps the tool free from dust particles and ensures that it is in optimal working condition whenever needed.

If your cordless drill didn’t include a storage case, you can easily buy one from a hardware store or simply order one online and have it delivered at your doorstep.

Here are some other things that you need to take into account for storing your drill safely:

Keep Your Drill In a Dry Place

It doesn’t take a genius to figure that water and electricity don’t go well together. And cordless drills run on battery-supplied electricity. So, putting two and two together, we know for sure that this power tool must be kept away from water.

You might come across some ‘hacks’ such as waterproofing your drill to make it suitable for use under rain and snow. But keep in mind that, in the end, these are just hacks, and they might not necessarily work.

Plus, if you temper with the tool in any way or use it in damp conditions, you will probably void the warranty.

However, when we say cordless drills don’t get along with water, we don’t just mean sources like rain and snow – you need to stay mindful of the moisture in the air too!

Not keeping the drill in a storage case exposes it to elements that can lead to rust formation. This, in turn, can jam the chuck and other moving parts including the motor itself.

Keep Your Drill Away From Heat

Even when kept in a thick weather-resistant storage case, cordless drills must not be stored in places where temperatures can reach to a significantly high level.

Failing to do so can cause damage to the battery and increase the risk of explosion as well.

Therefore, avoid leaving the drill outdoors and keeping it anywhere else where it receives direct sunlight. Similarly, you must pay attention to the heating system and plumbing lines when storing your tools in the basement.

Keep Your Drill Off the Ground

If you are drilling outdoors and need to put the drill down for a while, try to keep it at a slightly elevated surface. If you put it on the ground directly, dirt, debris, grass clippings, etc. might get stuck in the drill bit.

It might help to carry a sheet of plastic or a tarp with you. The plastic will keep dirt from getting into the drill when placed on the floor.

Plus, carrying a tarp with you for outdoor projects is absolutely necessary if there’s a chance of rain and you feel like you might not be able to gather all your tools in time.

How to Store Cordless Drill In a Cold Climate?

cordless drills storage

Low temperatures can decrease the battery life as it accelerates the rate of discharge even when the battery is lying idle.

Therefore, if the temperatures in your region go below the freezing point during the winter, we recommend storing your drill in a place where this problem can be avoided.

Please note that this doesn’t mean that you keep your cordless drill and battery next to the heater. Just keep it somewhere where it’s sufficiently warm.

How to Clean Your Cordless Drill?

Cordless drill maintenance is mostly all about keeping the tool clean.

To ensure that your cordless drill continues working smoothly, make it a habit to clean it at the end of every shift and before you put it away for the night.

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate procedure involving cleaning foam, brushes, and whatnot. A quick wipe down with a clean cloth is good enough.

This will remove dirt and material chippings, along with any other visible particles from the outer casing.

However, you will need to put in some extra effort for cleaning the drill once every few days to get the best performance despite continued usage.

Cleaning Ventilation Slots

Cordless drills typically have ventilation slots that can get clogged with the passage of time. This can cause damage to the internal machinery if not cleaned regularly.

Try not to use a brush to clean the drill’s exhaust vents because more often than not, that only pushes the dirt farther deep into the slot.

In the worst case, this can burn the motor installed inside as the blocked ventilation path causes heat buildup.

The best way to go about cleaning the ventilation slots of your cordless drill is to use a shot of compressed air. This helps remove any and all debris stuck in the slots.


cordless drill lubrication with wd40

Cordless drills require periodic lubrication to prevent chafing, corrosion, and overheating.

If you feel that the drill bit isn’t spinning freely, check for any small fragments that might be stuck at the base near the chuck. If it’s clean, there’s a chance that the chuck is jammed. This can be solved using a lubricant.

A common mistake most users make at this point is to reach out for a bottle of WD 40 and spray it onto the chuck. This impulsive action can cost you a handsome amount of money because contrary to popular belief, WD 40 is not a one-size-fits-all solution for lubrication.

Check the user’s manual for the type of lubricant that can be used with the particular drill. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to a T to get the jammed parts moving smoothly again without compromising on the performance of other parts.

Cordless Drill Maintenance Tips

Now that you know the right way to store your drill and the proper method to clean it from time to time, let’s take a look at other cordless drill maintenance tips.

The following tips will prolong the life of your tools so that you get the most out of your investment into cordless drills.

  • Make sure that you use the right drill bit for your project. Using a bit of the wrong size can not only ruin your work but can also damage the internal components of the drill
  • Always use sharp bits. Dull drill bits make the job harder as you need to put extra pressure on the tool. What’s worse, the excessive force can end up breaking certain parts of the cordless drill such as the joint where the bit is attached to the chuck
  • If your bits have become blunt with continued use and buying new ones is not a feasible option, consider sharpening them yourself. There are special tools and materials available in the market that allow you to turn chipped and dulled bits into ones that are sharp and pointy
  • When working on larger projects that require drilling for a considerable long time period, remember to take a break, even if you don’t feel the need – this is not just recommended for your health but also for your power drill.
  • Do not let your cordless drill become overheated. This tends to happen especially when drilling into extremely hard objects like concrete foundation, bricks, and masonry.
  • If you have multiple cordless drills, you can organize them by creating what DIY enthusiasts would call, a ‘cordless drill hangout.’ Install vinyl-covered hooks at a convenient height on your garage wall or any other similar surface near your workstation. Hang the drill on these hook upside down for safekeeping and easy access (note: this is a smart way to prevent your drills from toppling off the workbench but they should not be left exposed on the wall for several days)

Maintenance Tips for Cordless Drill Battery

drill batteries maintenance

A cordless drill is useless without a battery.

If you do an excellent job of keeping the drill in mint condition but fail to take proper care of the battery alongside, your ‘as-good-as-new’ cordless drill will still be good for nothing.

Here are the dos and don’ts for cordless drill battery care that every worker needs to know.

Rechargeable Battery Dos

  • Always let the battery charge completely before unplugging it from the socket
  • When not in use, remove the battery from the cordless drill and store it in a cool and dry place
  • Store the battery in a proper case (usually included in the product package)
  • Perform a deep discharge once in a while – the desired time interval between each deep discharge will depend on the type of battery used in the drill
  • Even if don’t intend to use the cordless drill for a considerably long period of time, charge the battery nonetheless. Do some test drilling on a spare piece of wood. Keeping power drills in action helps them increase their years of service

Rechargeable Battery Don’ts

  • Don’t charge the battery if the charging cable is damaged or torn
  • Keep the battery away from water and don’t expose them to moisture
  • If the battery gets really hot during charging, disconnect it from the mains supply for a few minutes. Allow it to cool before plugging it back again
  • Avoid deep draining more frequently than required

Warning Signs That Your Drill Is Failing

red cordless drill and drilling bit

Like most of the other power tools, cordless drills can fall victim to wear and tear, electrical issues and other similar problems that can affect their performance.

Knowing the warning signs that your drill might be failing will help you take the proper action in due time.

Here are some common problems that signify that your cordless drill needs immediate attention.

It Has Trouble Starting

A flip of a button is all it takes to power on a cordless drill.

If your drill doesn’t start in the first go, and if you have to do some weird stuff like shake it violently or give it a jerk to get the bit spinning, it’s a definite sign that something is stuck inside it.

Or it might be an electrical issue such as a loosened cord or plug.

Its Power Has Weakened

No matter what battery type your cordless drill uses, all rechargeable batteries have a certain lifespan.

At some point or another, you will notice that despite being fully charged, your drill is not working as effectively as it used to.

This denotes a weakened battery. You can solve this problem by buying a new battery pack. Just make sure that it is compatible with the model that you own.

It Gives Off a Burning Smell

Sometimes while drilling, you might smell the tell-tale burning smell. But since everything seems to be working just fine and you don’t see any smoke coming from the tool, you continue using it anyway.

If this has happened to you before, get your cordless drill serviced immediately. It is highly likely that there is some fault in the internal wiring. If might be a minor issue but if neglected, it can damage your drill beyond repair.

A burning smell might come from overheating too. In that case, you should stop drilling for a while and allow the tool to cool down before continuing.

It Produces a Screeching Sound When Operated

Cordless drills might not feature a silent operation per se. But they sure don’t produce a high-pitched screech either.

If your power drill has suddenly become louder than usual or produces a sound that it didn’t normally use to make, it’s a sign that it might soon be nearing its end.

Perform a thorough maintenance check to identify the source of the problem and deal with it on time.

It Creates Sparks When Drilling

metal drilling with cordless drill

If your drill emits smoke or sparks when switched on, check for burning debris. Accumulation of dust particles and other large chippings that get stuck in the exhaust are the primary cause of spark and smoke.

If there is no debris visible on the outside, consider taking off the casing to check for internal heat damage.

End Note

To sum up this guide to cordless drill maintenance, remember to keep your drill away from excessive heat and moisture, and always store it in a proper case when not in use.

More importantly, make sure that you read the operating manual carefully. It will give you a deeper insight into how to keep your specific model in good condition.

Follow the routine maintenance as specified by the manufacturer.

And if you encounter any difficulty in operating the drill or if it starts malfunctioning, get in touch with the vendor to solve the problem rather than trying to service the drill on your own.

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