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Signs Your Tools May Need Some TLC
Replacing worn or damaged power tool parts as opposed to the tools themselves is often the most budget-friendly way to get these must-have DIY accessories back on track.

A do-it-yourselfer is only as good as his or her tools. Without the proper tools, even the handiest men and women may struggle to complete jobs well within their abilities.

It doesn’t take a seasoned do-it-yourselfer to recognize when hammers and screwdrivers need to be replaced. And such tools are generally so affordable that replacing them, even when they still have some utility, won’t affect too many DIYers’ budgets. However, power tools are considerable investments that do not necessarily need to be discarded when the first signs of trouble pop up. In fact, sometimes power tools just need some TLC to become useful once again. The following are some common symptoms of power tool problems, and what may be behind those problems.

Difficulty starting

A power tool that won’t start can delay a project. But a tool that won’t start should not be immediately written off, especially not before DIYers employ a multimeter. The cost of digital multimeters varies widely, with some retailing for less than $20 while others sell for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Serious DIYers who spend every weekend working on one project or another may find the more expensive multimeters more to their liking, but many weekend warriors can get by with less expensive alternatives. Multimeters are useful because they can measure voltage on a power tool to determine if power is effectively moving through the tool.

Dust and dirt also can compromise power tools. This may be especially likely in spring, a time synonymous with home renovations, when many homeowners pick up their tools for the first time in months. Inspect a power tool that’s not starting to see if dust or dirt is the culprit. If so, clean the tool and then try to start it again.

Loss of power

Some power tools may start but still lack the extra muscle that make power tools more beneficial than manual tools. In such instances, the carbon brushes might need to be replaced. The online resource notes that heat damage to brushes can reduce the overall conductivity of the brush, resulting in less power reaching the tool’s motor. In such instances, replace the carbon brushes. In addition, chipped or damaged brushes can result in inconsistent power output. Replacing the brushes in such instances may be all that’s necessary to restore a tool to its powerful self.

Burning smell

Many a DIYer has dealt with a power tool that emits an odor of burning. The power tool experts at Grainger notes that tools like sanders contain drive belts, and these belts should be the first place to look when tools produce a burning smell. When the drive belt is to blame, the tool will typically stop working even when the motor is running. Capacitors may be behind the burning smell when using tools without drive belts. Sometimes tools have simply overheated. Whenever DIYers get a whiff of that burning smell, turn off the tool immediately and let it sit for 30 minutes before trying to diagnose the problem. Replacing these parts can restore them to full usefulness and get rid of that unwelcome aroma.