Basic bow maintenance
Will Jenkins 07.02.13
No matter the price of your bow, it’s an investment and it only makes sense to take care of that investment. The better care you take of your bow, the longer it will stand up to the abuse of hunting.
Your strings and cables will break down faster than anything on your bow. Keeping them lubricated with string wax is important to their longevity. Some people put wax on every single time they shoot. Maybe I shoot too often but that just causes build-up for me. I put wax on my strings ever 2nd or 3rd time I shoot. Make sure you use a decent brand of wax that is soft, and after you apply it rub up and down the string with your fingers to warm the wax and incorporate it into the string.
There is also a lot of information out there on how often to change your strings and cables. Some people say you must change them every year, while others say it’s not a big deal change them ever 3 or 4. It really all depends on the quality of the strings, how much you shoot, and what kind of exposure they get. By exposure, I mean do you leave it baking in the sun through a window most of the time, or do you take it out in rain several times a year.
If you shoot weekly or even daily, then you’ll need to change your strings sooner, and the same if you bought the cheapest strings you could find. My recommendation is to start with quality strings. Personally, I only use local custom string makers that I know and trust. However, there are a ton of reputable brands out there. With the amount I shoot and hunt, I won’t let my strings go more than two years. Even if you don’t shoot much I wouldn’t go past two years on a string. Over time they can break down and stretch, and regardless of how much or little you paid for them they can end up out of spec and you won’t even know it. For example, I purchased a bow from a friend a few years ago. He warned me that he wasn’t sure but he thought the string was only a year old. The string looked brand new and the bow shot fine, so I shot it for a couple months before putting new strings on it. Even though the strings were a decent brand and looked basically brand new, they had stretched 3 inches! This was robbing the bow of proper performance. So in summation, don’t let your strings go for more than 2 years, and if you are very abusive on your equipment every year is probably a good idea. I’d rather be safe than sorry!
The axles only need to be lubricated infrequently. Whenever you have your strings changed make sure your bow technician lubes up the axel and you’re good to go. If you plan to hunt in the rain wipe then wipe your bow off as soon as you’re done; you can even apply some string wax to hardware that may be prone to rusting prior to going out. The only other consideration is storage. While bows are durable, if exposed to intense heat such as being left in the car on a hot summer day the limbs can delaminate and cause permanent damage. I personally keep my bow in the house on a hook in my closet. Lastly, do not dry fire your bow.
These few tips will help your bow last for years and years to come.