How to fix a tape measure? Step by step Guide

How To Fix A Tape Measure

A tape measure is a handy tool and works like magic until it binds and stops working. So instead of getting a new one, let’s fix it together. In this article, we will discuss the most common problems that can arise with a tape measure and provide step-by-step instructions on how to fix them. We will provide solutions to get your tape measure working again, whether it gets stuck, does not retract properly, or does not lock properly.

Furthermore, we will share tips on prolonging your tape measure’s life. Before jumping into the article, ensure you know how to read a tape measure precisely.

How to identify and fix tape measure problems?

The first step in fixing a tape measure is to identify the problem. If you identify the exact problem with the tape measure, you can determine what action to take to fix it. Some of the most common issues are:

  • The tape is getting stuck.
  • The tape is not retracting correctly.
  • The lock mechanism is not working.

Before attempting to fix a problem, it is essential to identify it. You may end up causing further damage to the tape measure if you try to fix the problem without knowing the situation.

The following steps will help you identify the issue:

  1. Look closely at the tape measure to see if there are any visible signs of damage. Ensure that the tape does not have bent or broken teeth or any other physical damage.
  2. Test the tape measure to see if it works. When you lock the tape, ensure it stays extended, that the lock mechanism works, and that it extends and retracts smoothly.
  3. Assess the situation and determine the problem based on the inspection and testing you’ve performed. Does the tape get stuck, doesn’t retract properly, or doesn’t lock?
  4. After identifying the problem, you can fix the tape measure.

It is easy to troubleshoot and fix these problems if you identify them.

What You will need to fix a tape measure?

Things you will need to fix a tape measure

Here are the things you’ll need.

  • Small screwdriver
  • Microfiber cloth or damp cloth
  • Masking tape
  • New spring (depending on your tape measure)

How to fix a stuck tape issue?

Having a stuck tape measure is frustrating, but you can quickly fix it with a few simple steps. To set a stuck tape, follow these steps:

  • Open the Case: Open the case and keep your finger or a piece of masking tape on the top.
  • Clean the tape measure: Wipe the tape with a damp cloth and remove any dirt or debris blocking the mechanism. Please pay close attention to the tape area and the mechanism itself.
  • Lubricate the tape measure: Apply a small amount of oil or lubricant to the moving parts of the tape measure once it has been cleaned. By doing so, friction is reduced, and tape can be extended and retracted smoothly.
  • Test the tape measure: Make sure the tape measure is working correctly after lubricating the mechanism. There must be no sticking or tearing of the tape while it extends or retracts.
  • Repeat steps 1-3 if the tape measure still gets stuck. Multiple cleanings and lubrications may sometimes be needed to fix a stuck tape.
  • Check if the problem persists: When cleaning and lubricating the tape measure does not solve the problem, the issue may be more severe, and you should check the spring or mechanism. Consult a professional or watch a tutorial video to help diagnose and fix the problem.

Pro Tip: clean and lubricate your tape measure regularly to prevent stuck tape measure issues.

How to fix a tape that is not retracting correctly?

If your tape measure is not properly retracting, you can quickly fix the problem with simple steps. The following steps will help you fix a tape that won’t retract:

  • Inspect the spring: In a tape measure, the retracting action is controlled by a spring. Check the spring to see if it is bent, broken, or loose inside the tape measure.
  • Replace the spring: It is necessary to replace the spring if it is bent, broken, or loose. The following repair is more advanced, and someone comfortable working with small mechanical components should do it.
  • Lubricate the mechanism: use a  damp cloth to clean the tool and some oil or lubricant to lubricate it. As a result, friction will be reduced, and the tape will retract smoothly.
  • Test the tape measure: Ensure that the tape measure is working properly after lubricating the mechanism. The retraction of the tape should be smooth.

How to fix the lock mechanism not working properly?

You can fix your tape measure’s complex lock mechanism using these simple steps and get it working again.

  • Inspect the lock mechanism: Check for any visible signs of damage, such as broken parts or debris blocking it.
  • Clean the lock mechanism: Wipe down the instrument with a damp cloth and remove any dirt or debris blocking it.
  • Lubricate the lock mechanism: After cleaning the tool, apply a small amount of oil or lubricant to the moving parts. This process will reduce friction, and the lock will work more efficiently.
  • Test the lock mechanism: Make sure it works appropriately after lubricating it.
  • Repeat steps if necessary: If the lock still doesn’t work, repeat steps 2-4. Occasionally, multiple cleanings and lubrications are required to fix the lock mechanism.

You may need to check other parts of the tape measure or consult a professional if the problem persists after cleaning and lubricating it.

How to increase the lifespan of a tape Measure?

How to increase the lifespan of a tape measure

You already know how to use a tape measure. Let’s get to know ways which can increase its lifespan in several ways:

1. Store it properly

Tape measures should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures when not in use. This process will protect the mechanism from rust and damage as a result.

2. Clean and lubricate regularly

Keeping the tape measure clean and lubricated can help extend its lifespan and reduce friction. You should clean the tape measure with a damp cloth to remove dirt or debris and lubricate the moving parts with small amounts of oil.

3. Avoid dropping or mishandling

Mishandling or dropping the tape measure can damage the mechanism or affect its accuracy, so it is essential to handle it carefully.

4. Repair when needed

Repair the tape measure as soon as possible if it is not functioning properly. You may have to replace a damaged lock mechanism or a broken spring.

5. Use it for its intended purpose

The purpose of a tape measure is to measure linear distances, so it’s best to use it for that purpose and not for heavy labor or prying.

These steps will extend your tape measure’s life, so it will always be ready when needed.

How to replace the tape with a tape measure?

Follow these simple steps to replace the tape on a tape measure:

1. Firstly, you will need to extend the old tape fully, then press the release button to disengage the locking mechanism. Pull out the tape carefully.
2. Get a tape the same length as the old one.
3. Make sure the tape faces right as you thread it through the housing.
4. Please ensure the new tape is secure after it is installed by using the locking mechanism.
5. Once the new tape has been installed, make sure it works properly.

Note: Make sure the new tape is the same width and thickness as the old one.


Now we have come to the end of the article. It’s pretty easy to repair a damaged tape measure. Don’t let a tape measure get you down. After all, it’s the slightest obstacle you might encounter in your next project.


Why does the tip of my tape measure move?

Your tape measure’s metal tip is a tiny bit loose for a cause. The tape is 1/16 of an inch short in the first inch. It’s designed to give you precise readings whether you measure a surface’s inside or outside edge.

Do Tape Measures Wear Out?

The tap measures do wear out over time. This makes the tap hard to read.

How Long Will A Tape Measure Last?

This depends on the manufacturing quality or material of the tape measure. Many people refer to rugged plastic tape measure on the boxy steel housing. The reason is boxy steel housing tape measure may get issues like a crease in the tape,  wear and tear on the return spring that tried to prevent it from returning fully, etc.

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