How to Maintain Your Air Tools


Daily maintenance goes a long way to ensuring the power and life span of your air tools.

The leading cause of air tool failure is moisture, more specifically water vapor. When air is compressed, the moisture in the air is heated, causing the moisture to turn to vapor. Once the compressed air reaches the tool, it cools rapidly. Due to the cooling, the vapor begins to condense into water. This sudden temperature change, along with the high moisture content present in the air, causes freeze-ups at the exhaust ports of the tool.

One way to prevent freeze-ups and tool deterioration is daily tool oiling. With moisture present in the air, it mixes with the oil inside the tool, creating a messy, watered down lubricant. Without proper lubrication, this mixture can lead to premature wear and tear, grinding and even rust. Place a couple drops of pneumatic tool oil into the tool at the end of use to lubricate and massage the inner metal components. This will help eliminate any residual moisture that may have accumulated during use and prevent rusting over time. Without it, your tools will not function properly, costing you both time and money.

Another way to protect your air tools is the run them at their recommended air pressure. The recommended pressure for most pneumatics is between 90 and 100 psi. Pushing an impact wrench to the highest psi setting is surefire way to break a tool. Running air tools higher causes deterioration of the internal components and, in some cases, can lead to bodily harm for the operator or others nearby.

Debris can get into tools even when not in use. We often store our tools in outdoor sheds or dusty shops, where airborne foreign bodies can get into airlines and tool fittings. Between uses, be sure to cap the male air inlet to fight against dust or moisture. This can be done with a vacuum cap if not supplied by the air tool manufacturer.