how to oil a nail gun

How to Oil a Nail Gun

How to Oil a Nail Gun: User-Friendly Guide

A nail gun is one of the simplest air tools on the market, in essence, they are little more than an air drive piston machine that drives the nails into whatever you are working on. This being said, the pistons in your airgun are just like those in your average car engine.5 Simple Steps How To Unjam A Nail Gun

They must be properly lubricated on a regular basis. If you don’t add a few drops of pneumatic tool oil in the right places, your nail gun won’t last for very long.

The good news is that unlike many other “power” tools that have long lists of items you need to maintain them, the only thing you need to lubricate your nail gun is a bottle of pneumatic tool oil. Be aware that this is a specific type of oil that is designed for use in pneumatic (air driven) tools.

You should never attempt to use lubricants such as WD-40 as they are not designed for this purpose and their use could lead to catastrophic damage to your nail gun.

The Process of Lubricating Your Nail Gun

Before getting started, keep in mind that your safety is of the utmost importance any time you are performing maintenance on your nail gun. Be sure to disconnect the nail gun from the air hose before proceeding with any type of maintenance from clearing a jammed nail to lubricating the gun.

  1. First remove any nails that are left in the nail gun whether they are in strips or a cartridge, including the one in the “chamber” if your nail gun has one. Not only will this make oiling and cleaning it easier, it is a matter of safety.
  2. Next, hold your nail gun with the air hose connector in an upright position. This will allow you to lubricate the gun.
  3. Using the bottle of pneumatic oil, add two to four drops of oil through the air inlet port.
  4. Reconnect the nail gun to the air hose.
  5. With the gun still unloaded, squeeze the trigger a few times to allow the piston to cycle which will help to spread the oil throughout the operating mechanism.
  6. While you are doing this, observe the condition of the oil coming out of the exhaust port. If it is dirty, repeat the oiling process until the oil spray comes out clean. Not only does doing this help to flush out any dirt that might be hiding in your gun, it will help increase your gun’s lifespan by keeping the inside as clean as possible.


At this point, your nail gun is properly lubricated and you can reload it and return to work. As you can see the oiling process is relatively simple and should be repeated on a regular basis.

If you like videos, here is a one that explains it well:

Final Thoughts and Tips

One of the most common causes of nail gun failure is failing to keep it properly lubricated. There is more to this story than just lubrication. No matter what type of air dryer you have on your compressor if you even have one, some level of moisture is going to pass through your nail gun.

Oiling your nail gun is the best way to keep the water out of it and protect the inside mechanism from corrosion that could lead to catastrophic failure.

Now that you know how to oil a nail gun, be sure to take care of yours on a regular basis. You should oil your nail gun every five to eight hours of heavy usage. While your nail gun will blow a small amount of oil out of the exhaust port when your first lubricate it, if this continues past the first few pulls of the trigger, you are adding too much oil.

Although this will not damage your nail gun, it could end up on your project. Hold a rag loosely over the port and cycle the gun several more times to clear out the excess oil (remember to do this without any nails loaded in the gun) and you should be ready to go.

Oiling your nail gun on a regular basis every time you use it is the best thing you can do to ensure it continues to work properly and provide you with many years of flawless performance.

About the Author Jason Hall

Hey there, my name is Jason and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been working in the construction industry for the past 14 years and my mission is to help you start your next renovation!

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