Maintenance of Nail Gun: Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Nail guns provide you with speed and accuracy which are essential to increase your productivity. But you could sometimes pass hard times when there is a fault in the tool.

Like all other tools, Nail guns are prone to getting old and rusty. The performance of the nail gun decreases with the continuous usage of the machine.

Many users complain that nail guns do not last for long. While the reason behind this is the poor maintenance of the owner himself. They do not know the secret, proper maintenance, behind its serving for long.

Maintenance of the nail gun also varies with the type of nailer. Pneumatic nailers require extra maintenance while it is less for cordless or electric models.

This article is focused on the discussion of all the steps required to maintain your nail gun in the best way. Go through the article for a longer-lasting and highly productive nail gun service.

Nail Gun User Guide

Cleaning the Feed System

You should clean the feed system of your pneumatic nailer daily to get the best performance from the gun.

Some new users, sometimes the old ones, use lubricant or oil to clean the feed system. This is a very bad practice. The purpose of cleaning the feed system is to get off the debris. But if you use lubricant, they tend to attract more debris which is tough to clean off.

The best way is to wipe off the feed system with a rag at first. The rag should not leave any fabric pieces behind. Then use a can of compressed air to blow away the left-over debris and dust inside the feed system.

Oiling the Tool

A nail gun is a tool with lots of moving parts. It is fundamental to oil the moving parts of any tool for smooth and efficient use. Proper oiling of the mobile parts will also prolong the life of the gun.

Users often do not pay adequate heed to oil the gun and most users even do not know how to do this. You must know how to lubricate your tool for better performance.

Oiling is important but if you overdo it, it can be dangerous too. Excess oil leaks and makes the tool slippery. The tool can slide away from your hand during operation causing serious injury to your feet or other body parts.

You should oil the gun every time before and after using the tool. It is also a good practice to oil the tool before reloading the magazine with another nail strip.

Areas That Need Oiling

  • Trigger: You will not be able to shoot a single nail no matter how strongly you press if the trigger is jammed. Thus, oiling the trigger frequently is vital. You should check this part regularly and oil it whenever you feel it is stuck or moving slowly.
  • Air fitting: To avoid the stuck of air fitting you need to oil it regularly. Only a few drops of air tool oil are enough for smooth performance.

It is a good practice to moisten the O-ring with the little oil on your finger. This will keep the O-ring in proper shape.

  • The feed system: Many users get confused to oil the feed system because they fear it will accumulate extra debris and dust. But you should oil the feed system for efficient use. The use of the right nail gun oil will eliminate your fear.

Types of Nail Gun Oil

The type of oil you use to lubricate your tool may differ depending on the rubbers in the nail gun and season. Using the wrong oil will decrease the efficiency of the tool and in the worst-case accelerate the complete breakdown of the tool.

Oils that are used mostly are listed below.

  • Pneumatic oil: Pneumatic oil is appropriate when you use it considering the temperature and climate. There are two types of pneumatic oil, one for summer and the other for winter.
  • Essential oils: Essential oils are used to counteract the heat produced during rapid firing. This heat can damage the moving parts of the tool. The regular essential oil can be used for your daily purpose while the winter oil is suited for cold seasons.
  • Non-detergent oils: This type of oil is mostly preferred by pneumatic nailer owners. The two types, 5W non-detergent and 30W non-detergent are widely used. Both oils are very affordable, and a little bit of oil is enough for lubrication.

How to Oil Nail Gun

You can oil your gun easily in a few minutes by following the below steps.

  1. Power off the gun.
  2. Disconnect the air hose from the gun.
  3. Remove the remaining nails from the magazine.
  4. Take any type of oil described above and use 4-5 drops to lubricate the suggested areas.
  5. Reconnect the gun to the power source and air hose.
  6. Press the trigger several times so that the applied oil can spread all over the moving parts when the tool is operating.
how to oil a nail gun

Jamming of Nail Gun

Suppose you pull the trigger as hard as you can, but still, you are unable to shoot a single nail. You must be astonished if you experience this. The reason behind this is that the tool has got a jam.

Jamming is the most frequent problem experienced by users. So, you need to know how to unjam your gun correctly for shooting nails without a problem.

Causes of Jam

There are many reasons that cause nail jamming. I am listing some of those.

  • A mishandled fastener or wet paper tape: Fastener or paper tape are used to maintain proper line up of the nails. If they are mishandled, nails will surely jam into the magazine.
  • Incorrect loading: If nails are put into the magazine in the wrong direction, it will cause jamming.
  • Wrong collation angle: Suppose, it is said in the manual to put the nails into a 34-degree paper collated nail strip. But you put them at a different angle rather than 34-degree, jams will occur. Do not alter the angle.
  • Improper oiling: If the magazine, air cylinder, and other parts are not properly oiled, jams will cause an interruption in operation.
  • Misshapen coil: The coil may get misshapen due to frequent loading of nails. This twisted coil causes nail jams.

How to Clean a Jammed Nail Gun?

So, you are now aware of the issues that cause the nail gun to jam. Let’s go through the ways to clean a jammed nailer.

  • Wear protective gears: Cleaning the jammed gun is risky to do. So, to be safe wear protective goggles to protect your eyes and heavy-duty gloves to protect your fingers.
  • Disconnect the power source: Unplugging the gun from the power source is fundamental for any kind of maintenance work. For a pneumatic nail gun, you need to disconnect the air hose. For the electric nailer, remove the battery from the tool and unplug the cord from the electric outlet for the corded type.
  • Remove leftover nails: In the next step, you need to remove all the unfired nails from the magazine to avoid unintentional firing.
  • Remove jammed nails: To do this,you need to strictly follow the manual since different manufacturers suggest different ways.

For nail guns with a release lever, you can clear the jammed nails by opening the barrel using the release lever. This is the easiest and convenient way to clean stuck nails.

The flip-style nail gun nose opens the magazine by sliding without the help of any tool. You can then use the claw of a hammer to clean the jammed nails and make the magazine free.

  • Reload the magazine: Once you are done with cleaning jams, reload the magazine with nails in the right direction.
  • Reconnect to power source and test: Now, run the tool after connecting to the air hose or electric outlet to check if it is okay. Shoot some nails on a spare wood piece to be sure that you resolve the problem of jamming appropriately.

Other Maintenance Techniques

Apart from oiling and cleaning jams, you also need to do the following tasks regularly for the proper maintenance of your tool.

  • Screw and bolt inspection: Heavy use and vibration during operation can loosen the screws and bolts. The consequences of loose screws and bolts are very severe because the tool can breakdown at any time and cause injury.

You must check the screws and bolts once a month or two months for proper maintenance. If you notice a loose screw, tighten it using a screwdriver. In case of noticing any damaged screw or bolt replace it instantly.

  • Battery inspection: If you notice that the battery of your cordless nail gun is not holding charge as before, you need to check the expiration date of the battery.

An expired battery reduces the pace of shooting nails and decreases productivity because it cannot provide adequate hammering power.

The expired battery should be removed and replaced with a new one. You need to check the battery from time to time to ensure everything is okay.

  • Check the air hose: Air hose is a must needed part in pneumatic nail guns. A faulty air hose with holes or cracks reduces the amount of pressure exerted by the nail gun.

You need to change the air hose if there are any holes or cracks in it.

  • Keep away from moisture: Moisture in the environment causes rust to the nail gun and attracts dust. Always keep your nail gun in a dry and cool place to avoid rusting.
  • Cleaning: You need to clean your nail gun regularly to prevent the accumulation of dust, debris, and other waste on the outer surface of the gun. Wipe out the gun after using it each time.

The air filter and feeding system also need to be cleaned frequently.

How to Load a Nail Gun?

Loading the nail gun is not a tough task if you properly do it. You need to follow the manual provided by the manufacturer to load the gun. The nails are kept in a strip style magazine or a coil. You need to put the nails by following the below steps:

  • Turn off the nailer: Make sure to cut the power off before loading to avoid an accident.
  • Select the nail: Select the nail of the required length and gauge.
  • Put the nails: For strip style, after opening the magazine place the nails into it. Then hold the gun upside down and press the spring button to let the nails set into place by the gravity force.

For coil style, after unlatching the compartment you need to remove the rubber band from the coil. Then place the nails into the coil.

  • Trial shoot: Once you are done with loading, shoot a nail in a spare piece of wood to check if everything is okay.


It is maybe tough for you to manage time for the maintenance of the nail gun. But following the proper maintenance step and doing it on time will increase the lifespan of your tool.

Proper maintenance will save you from accidents and hurtful injuries. In this article, I explained elaborately the maintenance procedure you need to follow to be safe.

Safe shooting!

Related Articles:

Everything about nail guns

How to use nail guns, a beginner guide.

Explanation of the types of nail guns.

Safety of the nail guns, pro tips.

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