How-to Maintain Your Tools: Flashlights (2023)

How-to Maintain Your Tools: Flashlights

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Light is critical for precision work and professional care and craftsmanship. Working areas are generally well-lit, but even state of the art facilities generally have flashlights on hand for additional illumination when required (or in case of emergencies). Flashlights are important tools and need maintenance just like others in your arsenal. To make sure you’re not left in the dark when you need it most, read on to discover a few maintenance practices to keep your flashlight functioning as it should.

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Why bother?

Despite the fact that a few generations ago flashlights would have seemed a brilliant work of magic, today these items are commonplace. As handy as they are, a simple flashlight also may not seem like it needs much maintenance. While this holds true for cheap flashlights that aren’t going to last long regardless, so does the adage that “you get what you pay for.” A high quality flashlight, headlight, lantern, or other powered and portable light source provides better functionality than inferior products and, like other tools, the lifespan and utility of these objects can be expanded with a little care and attention.

Protection from corrosion

One of the main culprits in causing a flashlight to lose functionality is corrosion from old and dead batteries that can degrade the positive and negative terminals and impede the flow of electricity. Preventative care is best, but you can also restore functionality in many cases. To stop the problem before it starts, you have several options. You can store your flashlight without batteries (be sure to have fresh batteries available when needed), or you can remember to remove or change batteries after they expire. Some people use a tracking system to help with this, such as a sticker or piece of tape on the device that has a written date for when to change batteries.

(Video) Flashlights 101: How to lubricate your flashlight

Certain products can also help to prevent buildup of rust and corrosion on your battery terminals. WD-40® Multi-Use Product is quite useful in this area, and you can use it not only on flashlight battery connection points but others such as you car battery as well. Another product, WD-40 Specialist® Contact Cleaner, is specifically designed for use with sensitive electronics and electrical equipment. The contact cleaner formula dries quickly without an oily residue and can be used on other parts of the flashlight – switches, buttons, panels, even the lens.

Once a battery terminal has been subjected to corrosion and fails to turn on, don’t give up quite yet. Both of these products can aid with restoring the flashlight components to working condition simply by spraying the affected area and removing the corrosion with a small, firmly bristled brush. If this does not work, check with the manufacturer for other simple fixes such as replacing an electrode connection tab before throwing your flashlight away.

(Video) How To Lubricate & Care for your Flashlights

Cleaning the exterior

One of the best things about flashlights is they go where we go. The small size and portability allows you to operate in darkness while carrying an external, self-powered light source to press on and get the job done. This also means flashlights get subjected to rough conditions, extreme weather, and other kinds of wear and tear that can leave them dirty and potentially in disrepair. For example, the light of a headlamp may still function but the band is so filthy you don’t want to let it touch your face or hair.

Taking care of the exterior of your device may not be as “flashy” but it also serves a purpose. If your equipment has a metal exterior, such as a Maglite, use the WD-40 Multi-Use formula to wipe it down with a cloth or rag. You’ll restore cleanliness and also add a light layer of protection against rust. Similarly, with cloths, straps, elastic bands, or other fabric-based components that are detachable, use soap and water with a brush or towel to rub away unwanted stains and grime. For grooves and hard to reach places on your flashlight, take out a firm bristled brush (or a toothbrush) to free up particles and dirt from the crevices.

(Video) Simple Flashlight Maintenance for top performance

Storing your flashlight

As with most tools, proper storage is part of the maintenance process. Keep your clean and fully restored flashlight ready for use by designating a place for it to “live” in your home (or car, garage, office, shop, etc). You want a place where it’s safe from exposure to the elements (rain, excessive heat & cold), but also a place where you can quickly find it when needed. If a hurricane, earthquake, or other force of nature disrupts your home’s electricity, you’ll want to find that flashlight fast. If you find it and the light doesn’t work because of dead batteries or corroded terminals, well, you’ll remember not to make that mistake again. Do yourself a favor and prepare ahead of time with a well-maintained and properly stored flashlight.

Pro Tip: If the device you’re maintaining has a hard-to-reach area such as the back of a hollow metal tube, you can spray a bottle brush with WD-40 Multi-Use Product to help prevent or free up corrosion particles. Also, don’t forget about WD-40 EZ-REACH and its 8-inch bendable straw – a great tool for accessing tough spots.

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(Video) How to Lubricate An LED Flashlight Correctly


How do you maintain flashlights? ›

DO store your flashlight in a dry, cool location that's convenient and easy to reach in an emergency or power outage. DO replace the batteries in your flashlight or lantern every few months if it isn't used for extended periods of time. This insures that it has fresh, working batteries and prevents battery leakage.

How do you clean and maintain a flashlight? ›

Wipe down the batteries and interior of the flashlight with a clean microfibre cloth; if there are signs of corrosion, grab a Q tip and electronic contact cleaner. This will allow you to gently clean the corrosion without causing any further damage to the flashlight.

How do you prevent battery corrosion on flashlights? ›

Prevent battery corrosion with these simple tips:
  1. Monitor expiration dates.
  2. Store batteries in a cool, dry environment below room temperature.
  3. Avoid keeping batteries in products that aren't used often.
  4. Don't mix new and old batteries in the same product.
Mar 23, 2021

Should you take batteries out of flashlight when not in use? ›

While in storage, it's best to take your lithium-ion batteries out of your flashlight, especially if they will be in storage for long periods of time (for more information on lithium-ion batteries and how to best care for them, check out our blog on the subject, here).

How long will a flashlight last? ›

Depending on the power draw, LED flashlight batteries can last 1.5 to 7 hours on high and up to 50 hours on low.

Does wd40 prevent battery corrosion? ›

Certain products can also help to prevent buildup of rust and corrosion on your battery terminals. WD-40® Multi-Use Product is quite useful in this area, and you can use it not only on flashlight battery connection points but others such as you car battery as well.

Do you need lube for flashlight? ›

During the everyday operation when you switch the modes and tighten / loosen flashlight parts, O-rings and threads undergo friction and wear out. That is why special thread grease was developed to maintain top conditions of the flashlight and prolong its life.

What cleans battery acid out of a flashlight? ›

The best way to remove alkaline leakage from the device is to neutralize by carefully dabbing with a few drops of a mild acid like white vinegar or lemon juice. For stubborn leaks, an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar or lemon juice gets the job done.

Does Vaseline prevent battery corrosion? ›

Before you reattach the terminals, it's a good idea to dab some petroleum jelly (Vaseline) onto them. A little goes a long way here. This provides lubrication for reattaching and helps prevent corrosion.

What kills battery corrosion? ›

White vinegar or lemon juice: Most household batteries contain bases, so acids will neutralize their discharge. Rubbing alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is a safe and effective way to clean electronics without leaving behind moisture and other residue.

What stops battery corrosion? ›

Apply battery-terminal grease to the terminals to help prevent corrosion. It's available at any auto parts store and usually comes in a little ketchup-like packet. Another great option is AMSOIL Heavy-Duty Metal Protector. It creates a protective coating on terminals that wards off corrosion.

Is it best to leave batteries fully charged? ›

The Nickel-based batteries (like the eneloop batteries) can be stored at any state of charge. The Lithium Ion ones must be stored at 30-50% maximum charge for the best results. But it's better to store when they are fully charged when you're not going to recharge in a few months.

What's the best way to store flashlight batteries? ›

Don't just store your used batteries anywhere in the house (and certainly not in the device itself), but use a collection cube. Place it in a dry and well-ventilated place. Used batteries should be stored at room temperature, so do not put the box in the refrigerator or nearby the oven.

What is the best way to store flashlight batteries? ›

According to Energizer, batteries are best stored in "a cool, dry place at normal room temperature." That means avoiding any and all areas of the house that are even remotely damp, hot, and humid.

Can you overcharge a flashlight? ›

Don't overdo it.

Overcharging occurs when the device or battery is plugged into a charger after full charge has been reached and may reduce battery life. Battery University recommends that nickel- and lithium-based batteries be stored with a 40 percent state-of-charge.

How often should you clean your flashlight? ›

Cotton swabs and pads dipped in alcohol are usually sufficent for cleaning a flashlight however some dirty lights may need more attention. Every six months is sufficient enough time between cleanings. Clean the outside by wiping the entire tube down with the pad.

Is it OK to leave flashlight on all night? ›

If you run it non-stop for a couple of hours then it will drain the battery quite a lot but most people power it on for a couple of minutes and then turn it off again. If you want to have light for hours then you should buy a flashlight.

Can I use Vaseline as a lubricator? ›

Vaseline can be used as a lube. However, it's not always a good option for personal lubrication during intercourse. While it may reduce friction during sex, it can also introduce bacteria that can lead to an infection. It's also difficult to clean and can cause staining.

Why does shaking a flashlight work? ›

There is a magnet inside along with a coil, and shaking the flashlight rapidly passes the magnet through the coil. Faraday's law of induction describes how a changing magnetic field through a coil induces an EMF, and this voltage can be harnessed to power this flashlight.

What is the best lube for threads? ›

When looking for a great thread lubricant, look no further than FASTORQ's FastLUBE Bolting Lubricants. They contain a high percentage of solids, ranging from 50 to 72 percent, and are formulated to be smooth and slippery under pressure. FastLUBE AG stops galling and is a great sealant.

Is vinegar good for battery corrosion? ›

Will baking soda and vinegar clean battery corrosion? Yes, in fact, this power couple is one of the best ways to banish battery corrosion for good. Baking soda neutralizes the battery acid, and a little vinegar (or lemon juice) reacts with the baking soda to break it down.

What should you not use WD-40 on? ›

There are many different types of plastic, but there are two kinds that you should avoid using WD-40 on—polycarbonate and clear polystyrene plastic. Polycarbonate is a transparent plastic that is commonly used in greenhouses, and polystyrene is typically used for styrofoam and soft drink lids among other items.

What is the best lubricant for battery terminals? ›

Silicone grease is much better than almost any other product for preventing corrosion on battery terminals and lugs because it has such a wide temperature range and will not liquify at higher temperatures or summer heat - unlike automotive grease, Vaseline, etc.

What should be used as lubricant for tools? ›

As far as a lubricating oil, vegetable oil spray can be used to protect tools such as shovels and hoes after cleaning. Non-petroleum lubricants such as Felco Lubricant Spray or food-grade silicone spray can be used on tools with moving parts such as pruners.

Should I put grease on O-rings? ›

Lubrication of O-rings is extremely important. The greatest benefit of using a lubricant is typically obtained during installation. Using a lubricant is going to decrease the surface friction of the O-ring helping to prevent abrasion, pinching or cutting of the O-ring during installation.

Do I need wet or dry lube? ›

It's a general rule of thumb that when riding in dry conditions, you use dry chain lube, and in wet riding conditions, you use wet chain lube.

Does rubbing alcohol clean battery acid? ›

Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Battery Corrosion

Alcohol is not only effective for cleaning battery corrosion but also for cleaning stains and spots. It is strong and acidic so it can be effective for these things. If there is certain battery corrosion that you cannot clean with mild acid, you should go for alcohol.

Does hydrogen peroxide clean battery corrosion? ›

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent cleaning agent for battery corrosion as it is an organic chemical. It is non-toxic if used correctly at the right doses. The mild oxidizer is safe to use with no toxic by-products. The chemical solution can overcome accumulated rust easily.

Why does battery corrosion keep coming back? ›

One of the causes of battery terminal corrosion is a battery that is overcharged or undercharged. The manufacturer's manual often has the recommended battery voltage. Make sure you are not charging it too hard with your car battery charger. Also, check the voltage when the car is revving on idle with a multi-meter.

Does Coke fix battery corrosion? ›

Coca-cola, like many other acidic drinks, contains phosphoric acid that offers cleaning properties. The phosphoric acid does a good job of weakening and dissolving the corrosion and rust. With the corrosion broken down, all you do is rinse the battery terminals with water and wipe out the small remaining residues.

Where do you put petroleum jelly in a battery? ›

Step 5: Rub petroleum jelly onto the terminals and reattach the cables. Once the terminals are dry, dab a bit of petroleum jelly onto them. This will lubricate them, help prevent further corrosion, and help strengthen the connection. Reattach the positive and negative cables, and you're all set!

What will stop battery acid from rusting? ›

After removing the terminals, you can apply anti-corrosion washers or a small amount of dielectric grease on your battery's posts. Another great anti-corrosion chemical is the AMSOIL heavy-duty metal protector, which can also be used to prevent rust.

What does vinegar do to batteries? ›

Essentially, the Acetic Acid (Vinegar is mostly water with about 5% Acetic Acid) corrodes and damages the Lead Plates (Acetic Acid is very corrosive to metals). This decreases the available volume of lead to absorb Electrons during the Charging process.

Can you put baking soda in a battery? ›

Wehmeyer says that pouring baking soda into the battery cells will neutralize the sulfuric acid in the electrolyte to sodium sulfate that cannot discharge to lead sulfate in the normal discharge reaction. This will also permanently reduce the capacity of the battery, which was most likely already low.

What is the blue stuff coming out of my battery? ›

The bluish material which you see around corroded battery terminals is hydrated copper sulfate and typically experience with copper connectors. Battery corrosion is a poor conductor of electricity, as it increases resistance within the circuit.

Should I charge my lithium battery after every use? ›

You can charge your lithium iron phosphate batteries whenever you want just like your cellphone. Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries do not get damaged if they are left in a partial state of charge, so you don't have to stress about getting them charged immediately after use.

How long can a lithium battery sit unused? ›

Lithium-ion batteries are designed to retain their capacity even after being stored for months or years. In fact, most manufacturers say a lithium-ion battery can last between 3-6 years on a shelf without any degradation in performance.

Do batteries need to be stored at room temp? ›

A battery loses charge capacity when temperatures are extreme. Store your batteries at room temperature or below, the recommended storage temperature for most batteries is 59 °F (15 °C). As temperatures increase, especially over 100 °F (38 °C), so does internal discharge of your batteries.

Should you store batteries in a Ziplock bag? ›

Store your used and new batteries in separate containers or plastic bags and mention the date you bought them. Also, batteries of different types should be kept apart from one another. If they are stored together, they could react and cause short-circuit.

Is it OK to store batteries in a Ziploc bag? ›

For loose batteries, place a strip of insulated tape across the battery's contacts or place each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag or package to protect them from contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys or jewelry.

How do you store tool batteries? ›

Store and charge batteries in a cool, dry location. Avoid exposing batteries to liquids, oils, or extreme temperatures. Clean batteries with a clean, slightly damp cloth; do not use solvents. If your battery no longer holds a charge, take them to a DEWALT Service Center near you for fast, free, and safe disposal.

Do flashlights drain batteries when off? ›

However, flashlights as a light source are the most preferred ones among adventure outdoor travellers for their compactness & portability. But a common problem faced by all is of battery drain while the flashlight is not in use.

How do you stop battery corrosion on a flashlight? ›

Clean the flashlight with white vinegar and a small brush. The acidic vinegar helps to counteract the basic compound potassium hydroxide. If the corrosion is more extensive, you can soak the flashlight in the vinegar for several minutes.

Do batteries expire if not used? ›

Unfortunately, yes. All batteries have an expiration date mentioned on the packaging and on the cell itself. The battery may still work after that date, but with minor performance. How helpful was this answer for you?

What is the maintenance schedule of flashlight? ›

2-3 times per year. If the flashlight is used in grimy conditions (mud, sand, etc) then maintenance should be performed more often, with the frequency depending on the conditions it is used in.

What is the common problem of flashlight? ›

The most common reason flashlights stop working is either because of a faulty battery or a burned-out bulb. Both components can usually be replaced.

Do flashlights wear out? ›

Maintenance isn't difficult, but very important. If you take good care of your flashlight or head torch, it can last 10 to 20 years.

What is a maintenance checklist? ›

A preventive maintenance checklist is a set of tasks that the technician needs to complete in order to close a preventive maintenance work order. A checklist gets all the steps and information out of a manual and into the hands of experienced technicians by standardizing PMs in your CMMS.

How do I make a maintenance checklist? ›

Six Tips for Creating a PM Checklist
  1. Involve the Right People in the Process. When planning the assets to maintain and creating PMs for each one, it helps to have the right types of expertise on board. ...
  2. Be Detailed, but Concise. ...
  3. Include Pictures. ...
  4. Include Safety Measures. ...
  5. Make Your Checklists Mobile. ...
  6. Update as Needed.
Feb 3, 2022

What causes a flashlight to stop working? ›

The batteries are weak—or dead.

While this may seem obvious, more often than not, the culprit is the batteries. Most of the time, identifying a dying battery is easy. As batteries discharge, they release less and less power, causing most flashlights' lamps to fade slowly from bright to dim before going out entirely.

What is the reason for a red flashlight? ›

When transitioning from darkness to light, human eyes adjust faster to red light than white. Emergency professionals and first responders also utilize red lights. They help preserve night vision and decrease the overall light signature in low-light situations.

How do you know if you have a good flashlight? ›

Brightness is the biggest one. A pricier light is more powerful due to the use of advanced bulb, battery and circuitry technology. A rechargeable battery can add to the cost, as can features such as strong impact- and water-resistance, effective heat dissipation and multiple lighting modes.

Who makes the best flashlights? ›

Best flashlights
  • Best overall: Olight Marauder 2 Rechargeable Flashlight. ...
  • Editor's pick: ThruNite TT20 Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight. ...
  • Best for low prices: Wuben C3 Rechargeable Flashlight. ...
  • Best everyday carry flashlight: Olight S2R Baton II. ...
  • Best keychain flashlight: Fenix E01 V2 LED Flashlight.
Dec 19, 2022

How many lumens is a good flashlight? ›

20-150 Lumens

Flashlights within 20-150 are ideal for home use and some outdoor activities. An average flashlight emits 100 lumens, which makes it ideal for urban and suburban areas. These are typically still pocket sized lights that are also good for “Everyday Carry Lights”, or EDC flashlights.

How long do LED flashlights last? ›

The average lifespan of an LED is often rated up to 50,000 hours. This is about 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. If used 12 hours a day, an LED rated at 50,000 hours will last more than 11 years.


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