Tech Tips

Caring for your Tools

Written by  January 31, 2007

During the busy, hectic riding season, we seldom take the time to properly clean our tools after we use them, but I try to condition myself to at least wipe my tools off with a shop towel before putting them back into my toolbox. When the weather is not perfect and you don’t have much going on, take some time to clean and inspect the tools that help you service your bike.

For professional mechanics, the cost of a set of tools can really be a set-back, so it makes sense to keep those tools in good condition as long as possible. With that said, take your tools out of your tool box and lay them out to inspect for damage and cracks. Screwdrivers can be broken or bent from the amount of abuse they get. Most of the tool suppliers warranty the tools they sell, which is great insurance for us on a limited budget. Warranties can be from the truck, but some must be taken back to the store where they were purchased. Either way, this can be an incentive to purchase more tools for your collection.

When it comes to cleaning your wrenches or screwdrivers I recommend using low flash solvent or mineral spirits. Many people use gasoline, but this is a definite NO! Mineral spirits solvent is very inexpensive and does an outstanding job removing grease and grime, and you can buy this solvent anywhere. When you clean ratchets or any tool with a gear-type mechanism, do not submerge the wrench in solvent or mineral spirits because this will remove any grease in the ratchet head and cause failure or rust in the internal components.

If you don’t have grease, mineral spirits or parts washer fluid, a cheap alternative that does a great job and doesn’t harm the finishes on today’s chrome tools is Dawn dishwashing liquid. When it comes to getting that grease out of the tight spots, nylon bristle brushes work great and are perfect for cleaning small sockets and wrenches. There are cleaning solutions for just about any budget and many places to buy these items so you can shop around to help keep the cost down.

A simple tip, but a good reminder!

B-safe out there!

Dave Miller