Miscellaneous

How to Fix Your Broken Tape Measure

A tape measure comes in handy for new projects, quick fixer uppers, and maybe your next math test. But what if yours is busted? Talk about a frustrating way to kick off a job!

Luckily, it’s super easy to fix that broken tape measure. You just need the right tools and maybe a little bit of patience.

What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need
  • Small screwdriver
  • Compressed air or microfiber cloth
  • Masking tape
  • New spring (depends on your tape measure)
What You’ll Need

How to Fix Your Tape Measure

How to Fix Your Tape Measure

It’s pretty easy to fix a broken tape measure. Keep your frustration at bay and just follow these eight simple steps!

  • Step One: Open the case and keep your finger or a piece of masking tape on the top.
  • Step Two: Dust the inside of the case while it’s open. You can use compressed air or a microfiber cloth.
  • Step Three: Figure out the problem. It might be your tape measure needs a new screw or maybe it’s just unhinged.
  • Step Four: Carefully remove the tape from the spring if you’re still having trouble.
  • Step Five: Replace the spring with a new one. This should be available at any hardware store, but call the manufacturer if you’re not sure what you need.
  • Step Six: Connect the tape to your new spring.
  • Step Seven: Screw the case onto the back of the tape measure.
  • Step Eight: Test your tape measure to make sure it’s working properly.
How to Fix Your Tape Measure
  1. Step 1
    Step 1

    Open the Case

    Use the right screwdriver, either a Philips or flathead, and open the back of the case. Be careful to not let the tape fall out and unwind by keeping your finger or a piece of masking tape on the top. You’ll have an even bigger mess if you don’t!

  2. Step 2
    Step 2

    Dust Inside

    While the case is open, go ahead and dust inside with a microfiber cloth or can of compressed air. Who wants to worry about extra dust bunnies when you’re in the middle of a home improvement project?

  3. Step 3
    Step 3

    Figure Out the Problem

    Now’s the time for the official diagnosis. If the spring inside of your tape measure is unhinged, you might need to just readjust it or that dust could’ve been clogging things up. Worst case, the spring is completely broken and you need to replace it.

  4. Step 4
    Step 4

    Remove the Tape

    If you need to replace the spring, carefully remove the tape and disconnect it. Take it out slowly and be sure to hold the retraction system in place.

  5. Step 5
    Step 5

    Replace the Spring

    You should be able to buy a new spring at any hardware store, but call to check ahead of time. You can also contact the manufacturer directly to find out exactly what you need!

  6. Step 6
    Step 6

    Put the Tape Back

    It’s time to put your new spring to use! Connect the tape and then slowly roll it back into the case.

  7. Step 7
    Step 7

    Close the Case

    Grab that screwdriver and use it to put the case back on your tape measure. The last thing you want is for all your hard work to come apart at the end!

  8. Step 8
    Step 8

    Get to Measuring

    Take your tape measure on a test drive. It should now retract without any issues!

This process may not always eliminate the problem, so if all else fails, just buy a new tape measure. At least you gave it a valiant effort!

You can get a cheapie for as low as a $1 or a super industrial model for over $100. It just depends on your budget and how often you break your tape measures.

Did you know?

The average tape measure’s first inch is actually 1/16th of an inch short. That’s why it’s important that your tape measure is pulled taut when in use!


A Few Extra Pro Tips and Tricks

Before you starting fixing that tape measure, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Put these tidbits in your tool belt!

Safety First

Safety First

Make sure you wear protective gloves and glasses. You don’t want to lose an eyeball trying to fix your tape measure!

Nail It

Nail It

A small nail can be a great way to hold the spring in place so it doesn’t start unwinding.

Blades of Glory

Blades of Glory

The problem might be with the blade and not with the spring. Check and see if there’s any damage there before proceeding with each step.

Design Damage

Design Damage

Is the logo chipping off your custom tape measure? Prevent this from happening by keeping it away from extreme heat or bright lights.

Crank Up the Jams

Crank Up the Jams

Music makes every situation a little bit better. Put on some good tunes while you work before you start fixing your tape measure.


The Bottom Line

You’ve got some fixing to do! Don’t let a pesky tape measure issue get you down. After all, it’s the smallest snag you might run into during your next project!

References

Do It Yourself. (2019). How to Fix Your Tape-Measure Retraction System. Retrieved May 3, 2019, from
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-fix-your-tape-measure-retraction-system

Shaddy, W. (2019). How to Fix a Tape Measure. Retrieved May 3, 2019, from
https://www.hunker.com/13402932/how-to-fix-a-tape-measure

McCreary, R. (2019). Safety Precautions for Tape Measures. Retrieved May 3, 2019, from
https://www.hunker.com/13419197/safety-precautions-for-tape-measures

Strutner, S. (2015, November 9). You’ve Probably Been Using a Tape Measure All Wrong. Retrieved May 3, 2019, from
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tape-measure-trick-accurate_n_5640a959e4b0307f2cadfd75