Nail Gun Maintenance 101: Tips for Cleaning and Lubrication

Nail Gun Maintenance 101: Tips for Cleaning and LubricationA nail gun is a smart investment for any DIYer or contractor, but just like any other tool, a nail gun requires regular maintenance to keep it running in tip top shape.

Making time for maintenance may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s worth the time and effort to extend the lifespan of the nail gun.

The type of maintenance required will vary, depending on the type of nail gun. Pneumatic tools require a little extra maintenance than cordless or electric models.

Maintenance for Pneumatic Nail Guns

Because pneumatic nail guns are powered by an air compressor, they require a little more maintenance than their battery- and electric-powered counterparts.

Some maintenance tasks that are unique to air-powered nail guns include:

Clean the Feed System

To keep a pneumatic nail gun running at its best, the feed system needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.

Cleaning the feed system is simple and should be done daily if the tool is used every day. A simple can of compressed air will do the trick to clean the system. Use the compressed air to blow out debris and dust that may be stuck in the feed system.

A rag can also be used to wipe down the system before using the tool. Just be sure to use a rag that won’t leave fabric pieces behind, which may clog the feed system.

Apply Air Tool Oil

Most experts recommend adding a few drops of air tool oil to nail guns before using them. Oil should be added to the gun’s moving parts and the fitting at the bottom of the tool.

Proper lubrication will keep the tool running smoothly. If the nail gun will be used all day long, oil may need to be reapplied throughout the day.

Be sure to also apply oil to the air fitting each day (about 4-5 drops). Inside of the air fitting are O-rings, which should be lubricated using a finger.

Some pneumatic nail guns don’t require oil, so be sure to read the user manual before applying any type of oil.

Check the Hosing

Hosing is what supplies the nail gun with the power it needs to run smoothly. The quality and state of the hose will affect the amount of pressure exerted.

Before each use, check the hose for cracks and any other type of damage. Cracks and holes will interrupt the flow of air to the gun. If the hose is damaged, replace it or make necessary repairs.

Check the Seals

A pneumatic nail gun’s seals need to be changed from time to time. A bad seal can cause the tool to lose power and may damage the nail gun if left in disrepair.

Check the seals before each use and replace as necessary.

General Nail Gun Maintenance

Pneumatic nail guns have unique maintenance tasks that need to be performed, but there are also some general maintenance tasks that apply to all nail guns – corded, cordless and pneumatic.

Screw and Bolt Inspection

Over time, a nail gun’s bolts and screws can come loose due to vibrations and heavy use. Loose parts can jeopardize the tool’s integrity.

All screws and bolts should be checked monthly and tightened as needed.

Do not put off tightening screws and bolts. A missing screw or bolt can make it difficult to maintain control of the gun, which can be dangerous.

Battery Inspection (Cordless)

If using a cordless nail gun, the battery needs to be inspected every few months to ensure that it’s working properly.

Also, check the battery for an expiration date and replace as necessary. Once a battery passes its expiration date, it starts to lose its charging capacity.

Battery inspections should be performed regularly, particularly if the nail gun isn’t holding a charge as well as it used to.


Regular cleaning can prevent dust, debris and other material from damaging or clogging the nail gun.

After each use, wipe down the tool with a clean, soft rag. The air filter should also be removed and cleaned every few days if using the tool on a daily basis. If used occasionally, the filter should be cleaned after each use to keep out dust and debris.

Be sure to consult with the user manual for more information on cleaning filters. Most can be cleaned with a simple soap and water solution.

Each nail gun brand will have its own recommendations for cleaning, which will be included in the user manual.

Nail guns, just like any other power tool, require regular maintenance to keep them running just as they did the day they were purchased. Some nail guns will require more maintenance than others, so it’s important to check with the user manual before using the gun. Most brands also provide videos that demonstrate what a proper cleaning and care routine looks like.

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