How to Maintain Your Cordless Drill Easily

How to Maintain Your Cordless Drill Easily cover photo

Whether you are a general contractor building and a room addition or a do-it-yourselfer installing speaker wire for your new surround sound system, the cordless drill or driver is a vital part of your equipment. Furthermore, reliable cordless machines can be a significant investment, and great care should be taken of one of your most valuable assets. High-quality products are typically very resilient to long term use, but even the toughest of drivers can break down quickly if regular maintenance is not performed.

Cordless drills differ from electric (corded) ones in that there are more parts which require proper attention. For example, cordless product batteries need their care to preserve the service life of the batteries. These batteries can be expensive and need to be charged and stored properly to deliver enough power to the machine for the most rugged projects. The following information will help drill owners be better informed on how to preserve and even extend the life of their cordless models.

  • Oiling Your Machine: Like other mechanical tools, your cordless drill has lots of moving parts inside and out. One of the most important parts of routine product maintenance you can perform is regularly oiling the metal parts of the machine. More specifically, oiling the chuck, which is the part that holds the bits. Most modern products come with a keyless chuck, but some products, like hammer drills, come with keyed chucks. Keyed chucks provide a better grip on bits. Especially when using a vibrating or hammer function on your machine, keyed chucks prevent the pieces from loosening over time. The following steps should be considered when oiling your cordless drill:
  1. Using a standard metal lubricating oil, spread the oil on the inside of the chuck where the drill bits would go (make sure the chuck teeth are completely open).
  2. Tighten and loosen the chuck three to four times to evenly spread the oil throughout the inside of the chuck.
  3. Using a rag or shop cloth, apply the oil to the outer surface of the chuck. This will ensure oil is spread thoroughly between the chuck and the hand grip.
  4. If the chuck is keyed, follow the above steps with the addition of lubricating the vital teeth around the outside of the chuck. This will reduce wear on the teeth of the core and the chuck.
  • Cleaning Your Instrument: Penetrating through a surface is almost always a messy job as the drill bit grinds through the material. Going through wood, drywall, and concrete, for example, can leave your machine quite dusty. The dust particles from drywall gypsum, for instance, are excellent and can easily work their way into the motor events of the drill. Overtime, these vents can become clogged with particles and dust, causing the engine to overheat and eventually burnout.

    Only blowing the dust out of these vents will ensure the motor can breathe properly.

    You can use a blow tool if you have an air compressor, otherwise, an air duster or compressed air canister will also work adequately.
  • Keep Your Drills in a Dry Place: These are very powerful tools, but that power is based on a vast number of small intricate motor parts, gyros, gears, and even small chipsets which can control speed and torque ratios. Always make sure your drill is stored in a dry space. Humid conditions can cause water vapor to get into the product, rusting the motor parts and the chucks of the machine. The battery can also be adversely affected by moisture and cause corrosion around the metal contacts that connect the battery to the drill.
  • Temperature Requirements: Your product can also be affected by the temperature it is stored in, especially the battery. As best one can, the drill and batteries should be stored at room temperature (72F/22C) with a buffer of plus or minus 10 degrees. Freezing temperatures can cause icing of the motor and compression of the gears, effectively burning out the motor and gears. Excessively warm temperatures can significantly reduce the life of the batteries, especially lithium ion batteries. There are some machines which are now equipped with cold weather lithium ion batteries for outdoor winter use. However, these batteries also need to stay out of hotter temperatures.
  • Keep Your Drill Off of the Ground: This is another key to keeping your cordless drill clean. There is a high likelihood you will eventually use your project for an outdoor project. Grass and dirt can easily find their way into the casing when left on the ground. Moreover, wet grass and dirt can significantly damage your machine. Wet blades of grass can easily distribute water in through the motor vents, potentially causing a short in the drill or even electrocution. Leaving products on the ground can also be a safety hazard – especially on a job site where there is frequent foot traffic. Individuals may trip on the machine or even damage it.
  • Use Sharp Drill Bits: The machine's power is only as good as the bit’s ability to penetrate a surface. Using dull bits will not only fail to get the job done, but it can also burn out your machine's motor very quickly. Dull bits will cause longer work times while simultaneously increasing friction and ultimately resulting in undue stress on the motor. Ensure your bits are sharp before starting on a project and make sure they are the correct bits for the surface through which you intend on drilling. Do not use wood bits to go through concrete, for example.
  • Drill Bit Safety: Dull bits can also present safety issues. If the pieces are not sharp enough, they can become jammed into the surface. The resulting torque can cause the drill to spin; injuring our hands and wrists. The machine may even fall out of your hand and onto the ground below. This can be especially dangerous if anyone is below you or if you are on a ladder, it may cause you to lose your balance.