When to Repair and When to Replace Your Tools

What do you do if a tool isn’t working effectively anymore? How do you know when it’s time to repair or replace your tools?

Using functioning tools is the key to any successful project. A dull or rusty blade can instantly botch a piece of wood. Dying battery-powered tools can be a safety hazard. Worn out sanding belts can start throwing wood chips around.

You want fresh, functioning tools for optimal performance.

So when should you update your toolbox? And how do you know if you need to repair or replace any of your tools?




When it’s time to repair or replace

How do you know if your tools are wearing out and need repair or replacement?

1. If you see anything visibly wrong with your tools, it’s time to repair or replace. This could be anything from faulty wires to rusted blades to broken teeth to shattered handles. Never use a tool if it’s showing significant signs of wear, as it can be a safety hazard and it can damage the project at hand.

2. You may not always see visible signs, but you might notice a decline in performance. If it’s taking longer to complete jobs or projects aren’t turning out as successful, you might want to see if faulty tools are to blame. Lowered efficiency is often a sign of a broken tool.

3. You should implement a tracking system for your tools. When your tools reach a certain number of usage hours, you’ll take them in for a check-up and tune-up. This can help you catch problems before they become serious problems, so you can make small repairs as opposed to large replacements.

4. It’s time to replace if your tools are outdated by at least five years. This doesn’t mean they’re five years old necessarily, but it means that newer and more advanced models have been out for at least five years. You want the most advanced tools your budget allows for, as this improves the efficiency of your labor and the value of the project.

Train your employees to keep an eye on the tools they’re using every day. Then, give them a method to formally report any deficiencies with their tools. This helps protect from safety concerns, legal issues, and financial losses.


Repair or replace

How do you know if you should repair or replace broken tools?

In most instances, you can follow the repair “50% rule.” If the repair cost is more than 50% of the replacement costs, it’s not worth it to repair. As a basic example, if a replacement saw blade costs $100, you shouldn’t repair your old saw blade if the repair would be more than $50.

This is a general rule of thumb, but there are other factors to consider as well. The 50% rule looks at the replacement cost of an identical machine—not how much you originally paid for it. With depreciation and usage costs, there might be different valuations on your machine.

It also doesn’t consider the current value of your tool. Even if the tool is broken, it still retains some sort of value. Disposing of it instantly removes that value while repairing it adds value back to the tool.

So, you want to consider how much value you would get from a new tool compared to the value you’d be throwing out. If your tool only has a few small repairs, the life left in it might be worth the cost to replace. But if there are new tools out there with better technological advancements, the value of your old tool might not be worth it even if the repair costs are low.

Contact Ryker Hardware if you want a free consultation about your reparation and replacement costs.


How to repair

Typical tool problems that can easily be repaired include:

  • Re-sharpening blades
  • Removing rust (with a rust remover)
  • Replacing drive belt or chain
  • Attaching new brushes
  • Putting in new batteries or power switch
  • Replacing frayed or broken power cords

Here are some of our Ryker tips and tricks for repairing and extending the life of your saw blades:

  1. Keep your blades aligned.

Your saw blade track needs to be properly aligned in order for your tool to perform. If the wheels aren’t in alignment, it can damage the blades and belt. This kind of damage can be hard to repair or fix, so you may have to replace it. You may need to realign your blades every few weeks or months, depending on usage.

  1. Clear area of metal chips.

Metal chips on your workspace can ruin and dull your saw blade. Keep your workspace clean, so stray chips don’t run through the kerf during the cut. This keeps the “kiss” between the material and the blade clean without anything in the way. The cleaner your workspace, the better your tools can perform.

  1. Maintain fluid levels.

Keep your fluids fresh and at the right level, which helps make sure your saw blade has enough “juice” to work. Change your gearbox and hydraulic oils regularly for a smooth cut, so it won’t overheat or wear out the power tool.

  1. Create a mandatory check-up list.

Every time one of your workers puts away a tool, have them fill out a quick form about the tool. This makes sure they’re looking for any potential damages or broken parts before and after using the tool. This can help you catch problems while they’re still fixable.

Catch problems early, and you’ll save a lot of money in the long run!



How to discard

How do you safely and appropriately discard old saw blades and tools?

Saw blades are typically made out of steel with durable carbide tips. Steel can be recycled, again and again, so you don’t have to waste it. But you don’t want to just throw your saw blades in the recycling bin, because they can cause a serious safety hazard for municipal workers.

Instead, bring your old saw blades to scrap metal dealers. They’ll usually pay you a small price for your blades, so you can have another stream of income for your business that can go towards buying new tools.

You can also try to donate your old saw blades. You can even contact local schools with shop classes to see if they could use some donated blades. Some organizations, like Habitat for Humanity, will also accept donations of used saw blades. You might even be able to take these donations as a tax deduction.

The handle of your saw usually can’t be recycled, though. Treated wood or plastic isn’t recyclable, so you’d typically have to throw it out. However, if the handle is made of untreated wood, you might be able to recycle it at a local center.



Be aware of the lifespan of your tools, so you’re not using worn out or unsafe products. Train your employees to spot and report potential damage, so you and your managers can effectively handle it. If there’s value left in the tool, repair it as necessary. If not, recycle it at an appropriate dispensary.

If you’re not sure the lifespan of your tools, or you want a “toolbox consultation,” contact Ryker Hardware now.

We’ll be happy to give you advice on repairing or replacing your tools to make sure your projects are always effective, efficient, and top-notch.

Contact us now for a free consult.

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