Most people I know never do maintenance on their router. It’s a recipe for disaster. Your router needs to be tuned-up on a regular interval. You just need to spend five minutes every few months to make sure your router will be running well for years.
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How to clean the body of a Router
You need to keep the inside of your router clean.
Separate the motor unit from the base and clean both. Start with the motor housing. Don’t forget about cleaning the height adjusting mechanism.
To keep the body in good condition, you should lubricate the sliding parts lightly. Use your favorite lubricant which contains either silicon, Teflon, or Wax.
My favorite internal lubricant for tools has always been silicon spray. It’s the most efficient and leaves a very light layer behind.
Do not forget about cleaning the base plate. Dirt in the plate creates tension that will cause the router to work unevenly. I usually sand it lightly with a 200 grit sandpaper, then polish it with a fine pad and wax.
How to clean the head of a Router
Most of your router problems come from unstable bits. After some time the collet will start pushing them out or it will difficult to install them.
Start with cleaning your collet. Any dust, or wood particles that are building up inside the collet need to be removed. Unscrew the collet from the arbor, open it up and give it a good wipe with a brush. Use a fine brush to prevent damage.
Do not, I repeat, do not, lubricate the collet, as it is designed to run fully-dry.
If you’ve heavily used your collet for years it might need replacing eventually.
Don’t forget to clean your bits once in a while, as this will extend the life of your router significantly.
Brushes and bearings
If you’ve been using your router a lot, the brushes and bearings might need replacing. In general, they will not require any cleaning or lubricating, because they are self-contained.
If you listen to your router and the sound changes, that might be a sign of bearings going bad. Old bearings emit a rusty noise. If you’re concerned about your bearings, you will have to take your router to a specialist.
If you can see excessive sparking at the top of your motor, your brushes might be getting old. You can buy replacement brushes for your router in many hardware stores or online.
A word of advice
A few minutes now and then it takes to tune-up and diagnose your router are the best investment you can make. This time will result with your router running more smoothly with a smaller chance of failure.