How to keep your tools safe

If you’re a tradie, you’ll know that a good set of tools is your most important possession. They are not only a big investment, they’re your right hand, and your left. Unfortunately, no matter how fancy your tools are, they won’t look after themselves. It’s important to treat them like anything else you love - with care and attention. So here’s a handy guide of how to protect your tools.

It starts with storing them the right way.

Rust is public enemy number one. So wherever you store your tools, make sure it’s somewhere nice and dry. You’ll want to keep garden tools hanging so they can’t rest on any floors likely to hold moisture, while power tools are best kept in their original hard cases - it’s what they’re made for after all.

Dry tip: Go to town with silica gel packs or rust collectors. Toss them in draws or toolboxes to keep the rust at bay.

Every tool’s dream is to keep ‘em clean.

It might be the last thing you’re up for after a hard day’s work, but it’s a must-do if you’re serious about keeping your tools happy. Thing is, they don’t ask for much.

Hand and garden tools just need a simple wiping down with a rag. If they’re extra dirty, don’t be afraid to get a good scrub going with soap and water - and give them a good dry afterwards. Both may also need a light coat of WD-40 after the soapy scrub treatment.

Power tools aren’t so happy with the old scrub-a-dub, so make sure they’re unplugged, then give them a good wipe down, and oil any moving parts.

Don’t forget - it’s no use cleaning your tools and leaving your storage dirty! Toolboxes, belts and bags should be emptied and wiped out every now and then too.

Inspect your gadgets.

Past the obvious safety steps like wearing goggles and gloves when using your power tools, it’s well worth taking a bit of time to do some routine inspections too.

Here’s what you’ll want to check for:

  • Loose, cracked or splintered handles. This means they’ll be more prone to breaking while you’re using them - not safe! You can sand down minor splinters, but major cracks mean replacement time.
  • Mushroomed heads on chisels and wedges. Keep an eye on how sharp your striking edges are. It’s easy to keep on top of by getting into the habit of sharpening your tools every six months or so.
  • Corrosion and rust. You can remove the rust yourself unless it’s caused damage - then you’ll need to replace that part.
  • Cracked housing on power tools. Anything more than a simple hairline crack is serious and will need to be fixed by a professional.
  • Power tools that don’t start easily. They might just need a good clean, but if that doesn’t solve it you’ll want to get them repaired professionally.
  • Frayed insulation or exposed wires. These are big hazards. You might be able to do a fix up with electrical tape if it’s small but if not, get those babies repaired before you use ‘em.

Tucked in and locked up.

A trusty van or ute is every tradie’s pride and joy. If yours is parked on the street, make sure you leave toolboxes locked, tools under seats or out of sight and you securely lock your vehicle. Anything people can see is an invitation to break in. Not all locks are made equal, so to be super safe we recommend using ABUS Close Shackle Padlocks - even bolt cutters will have a hard time gnawing through these ones!

Name and details please.

Avoid having your tools taken, on and off site, by labelling everything and keeping a laminated note with your name and details inside your toolbox. Even better, get your name or initials engraved on your tools - then they’ll be much easier to identify in a sticky situation or by the police. It’s also a great idea to keep a thorough list of your tools and their serial numbers and do a proper stock take every now and then.

Be sure to insure.

Insure your tools so that it is easier to replace them if they’re accidentally lost, stolen or damaged. Just make sure you read your policy docs properly and you know what your responsibilities are – like securely locking your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to keep packaging, manuals or receipts to support if you need to make a claim. Have a look at what AMI can do to keep your precious tools safe with things like our handy Tradies Bundle.