How to Maintain a Tape Measure

For every tool, there is guidance on how best to maintain it to ensure it serves you for years. And a measuring tape is no different. The best way to ensure your measuring tape provides accurate measurements is to take care of it properly. 

The Blade

When you use your tape measure, you should always control the speed with which the blade returns to the sheath. Letting it whip back may seem convenient, but it’s dangerous, and it can also damage the blade, its markings, the hook, and even the tool’s inner workings. An accidental whip once or twice won’t cause serious damage to the measuring tape, but doing this regularly certainly will. Control the return to prolong your measuring tape’s life.

Routine Maintenance 

You can regularly complete several checks to ensure your tape measure remains in good working order. 

  • After each use, check the markings and numbers for wear. If you can’t read it clearly, you need to replace it because an estimate is not a sufficient measurement. 
  • Check the hook to ensure it has the right amount of play. If it’s too fixed or loose, your measurements will not be accurate. 
  • You should check the blade for any kinks, bends or tears. Any type of defect in the blade will lead to inaccurate measurements. You can’t fix these; you must simply replace the tape measure. 
  • The blade’s edge should be straight. If it has damage or isn’t straight it will provide you with inaccurate measurements. Replace it. 
  • If your blade is worn, torn or difficult to read, it’s time to let go and invest in a new one. Even a slight kink or bend is a sign you need a new measuring tape. 
  • Nobody is purposely dropping their measuring tape, but you must take care during use. Repeatedly dropping the tape will cause damage to the inner workings and dramatically shorten its lifespan. Even the most durable measuring tape can withstand so many bumps and scrapes.

Invest In Quality

While many people are happy to pick up a cheap measuring tape at the local superstore, people who want accurate and reliable measurements know to invest in a high-quality one. The need for proper care comes with the ownership of a high-quality measuring tape. 

As with any metal tool, you must keep your measuring tape dry. If water or liquid gets on the blade, wipe it down with a lint-free cloth. It’s the easiest way to prevent rust from the inner mechanisms. Make wiping the tape down a regular occurrence after each use. Even if the blade isn’t wet, debris can get into the mechanism and cause damage. You might overlook the speck of sand or fluff, but it will still cause problems. 

Store your tape measure in a dry place away from direct sunlight and heat because these can cause stretching and expansion that damage the tape.

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