Sawzall Problems

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Things You'll Need

  • New blade

  • Replacement power cord

  • Vacuum

  • Household lubricating oil

  • Motor brushes

A Sawzall is a valuable addition to your power tool collection.
Image Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The Sawzall was released by the Milwaukee Tool Co. in 1951. It is a reciprocating saw with a blade that extends straight outward from the end of a plastic or metal housing. Sawzall is a brand name, although many types of reciprocating saws have been released by many other power tool manufacturers over the decades since. All reciprocating saws have similar makeups and work on the same principles: a straight blade extends and retracts at high speed. Sawzalls have endless uses, from cutting in difficult-to-reach places, to cutting through hard materials that nothing else can penetrate.


Step 1

Change out broken or damaged blades as soon as possible. Unplug the saw, and locate the blade release lever. Move the lever to the open unlocked position and tilt the saw so that the blade end is facing down. Wiggle the saw back and forth until the old blade falls out. If the blade is broken or difficult to remove, use needle-nose pliers to grab it and pull it free.

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Step 2

Lift the blade release lever upward. Slide a new blade into the open socket, and lower the lever until the blade locks in position. Test that the blade is locked in firmly by grabbing it in hand and pulling.

Step 3

Inspect your Sawzall electrical cord and plug regularly. Power cords can be pulled, torn, severed, or otherwise damaged in the course of normal use. If any cuts are in the rubber coating on your power cord, or any other visible damage to the power supply components of your saw, stop using it immediately, unplug it, and change out the faulty parts.


Step 4

Keep the vents along the sides of your Sawzall clear of sawdust, dirt and any other small particles that might enter the machine and cause damage or failure. Use a vacuum to suck away any debris, and never leave your saw anywhere that dust or liquids can fall into open vents.

Step 5

Lubricate your Sawzall regularly. The metallic moving parts of your Sawzall require lubrication with general household lubricating oil to maintain peak performance. Oil will burn off during use, and will be soaked up and carried away by sawdust, construction dust and other work site byproducts. Lubricate your saw after long periods without use, and also when you use it frequently.


Step 6

Clean the wire brushes in your Sawzall motor regularly. Electrical motor brushes create a magnetic field that pull in all manner of debris. Use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen and remove each screw along the side of your Sawzall. Open the saw housing and use a brush and vacuum to remove any debris. If the brushes show signs of wear such as broken or shortened bristles, they should be changed. Replacement brushes are available through Milwaukee Tool or any tool repair service.


Reciprocating saws are ideal for cutting shapes out of solid pieces of wood. Instead of trying maneuver a circular or hand saw into a space where it does not belong, punch a hole, and use your Sawzall to make the cut. Use the teeth on a small Sawzall blade to hook onto and remove any pieces of broken blade that are unreachable by hand or with your pliers.


Never try to perform maintenance or repairs on power tools while they are plugged in. Electric current can cause serious injury.


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