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Spanner maintenance and care

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Spanners can last a lifetime if they are cared for properly. A quality spanner can last a lifetime if it is cared for and not misused.

Everyday care

A clean cloth should be used to remove dust and dirt. The spanner must be dry and dirt needs to be wiped from the surface of the spanner with a clean cloth before it is stored, even if it is just overnight.
Dust can cause corrosion so needs to be removed from the spanner regularly. A toolbox or tool roll are best for storing spanners to stop them getting dusty. Dust can cause corrosion over time.
Moisture can cause corrosion so spanners need to be stored dry. Spanners ought to be stored in a dry place, as moisture can cause corrosion, and where other tools won’t be dropped on them, damaging the profiles.

Occasional care

A thin layer of oil forms a barrier preventing water getting to the spanner. Give the spanner a thin coating of oil once in a while. The oil provides a barrier against moisture getting to the surface of the spanner and rusting it.
Wonkee Donkee says: The tool shouldn't be slippery with oil, it only needs a light coat.
Automotive metal polish can be helpful for chrome-plated spanners. Chrome-plated spanners can benefit from a polish using vehicle metal polish. If you do this when you first get the tool and every now and then afterwards, the polish can help prevent corrosion as well as maintain the shiny finish.
You might need to buy a new spanner rather than use or fix a damaged one. Inspect your spanners for damage occasionally. Damaged spanners can damage fasteners.
Bent immersion heating spanner will be weaker when it is bent back,. Tools that are bent might be bent back into shape but will be weakened at the point of the bend. Be aware that bent tools can easily snap at the weak point, even when they seem fixed.

Care during use

Wrong size spanner for fastener nut or bolt damages corners of fastener. Always use the correct size of spanner for the fastener. A spanner that is too large can damage the fastener, making it very hard to remove or refit. It will also damage the profile of the spanner.
Don't use brute strength of undo or fit fasteners as it can damage them, the spanner and workpieces. If you are struggling to remove or fit a fastener, try not to use brute force to fix the situation. Quite often there is a simple reason why a fastener is stuck and if that can be worked out and dealt with, it will prevent damage to the fastener, spanner and workpieces. See How to undo a stuck fastener for more information.
Silicone lubricant can be used to lubricate stiff nuts and bolts. A penetrative oil can help to loosen a fastener that has corroded and a lubricant, such as a silicon lubricant, can help to tighten a fastener that is too stiff to turn during fitting.
Hammers shouldn't be used to hit spanners unless they're designed for it. Spanners shouldn’t be hit unless it is a slogging spanner designed for being used with a hammer to turn the shaft (see Are there any alternatives to spanners?). Ratchet spanners should never be hit as the impact can break the ratchet mechanism.
Putting the spanner under too much force can cause the head to break. Similarly, it is not advisable to extend the shaft of the spanner using a pipe or another spanner to turn a stiff fastener as most tools aren’t designed to undergo the extra force. If it must be done, use an extender bar (see What spanner accessories are available?). Never use two spanners hooked onto each other.