We’ve previously talked about how important it is to oil your scissors and shears, but did you know that you also need to oil your pliers periodically? Whether they’re predominantly used as lineman pliers or damaged-screw extractors, your pliers need some TLC to remain in top condition and working optimally.

A lot of handymen (and women) refer to “breaking in” their new pliers. Sometimes when brand new, never-before-used pliers arrive, they can be somewhat stiff or tight. Opening and closing them isn’t always easy or smooth initially. This is not a flaw, but simply a sign of their newness!

You need to use a lubricant to get them moving to your level of satisfaction. This is purely subjective as some people will prefer a looser plier while others prefer them to be quite tight. It’s a personal choice.

  • Spray the pliers with silicone lubricant or other tool oil at the joint. Work the lubricant into the joint.
  • Dip the pliers into some dry fine sand and allow them to become covered. Grit will get into the joint; work the pliers for a short time to loosen the joint.
  • Use more lubricant liberally to soak the pliers and to flush remaining grit from the joint.
  • Wipe the pliers clean with a dry, soft cloth.

The best lubricants to use depend on your personal preference – and whatever you choose for your pliers can also be used for your shears and other tools like wrenches, etc. Note that while WD40 can be used, it’s not the optimal oiling product as its effects are temporary. It is a cleaner more than it is a lubricant. You’ll find tool lubricants at your local hardware store.

You’ll need to periodically oil your lineman pliers to keep them in top condition. This will help them not only work smoothly, but it will help prevent rust and corrosion. Clean them between uses with a soft, dry cloth to remove any debris and make sure you store them safely in a dry place.