The question we get asked more than any other about sewing machine servicing is – ‘how often should i get my machine serviced?’ This is not as straightforward to answer as you might think. Of course we would love everyone to bring their sewing machines into us every six months for a service (at a charge of course!) but this is simply not the case. How often you need a service depends on a number of factors:
How much do you use your machine – simply put, if you use your machine a lot (several times a week) you will create lint build up, wear out the lubricants used to keep your machine running smoothly, and wear out the parts of your machine that can need replacing. In this case getting your machine serviced once a year is probably a good idea.
If you rarely use your machine at all (with gaps of months or years between use), you run the risk of the lubricants congealing and seizing the machine. The next time you are planning to use the machine, it might not be a bad idea to get it serviced.
What are you using it for – If you are using your machine for patchwork quilting or for sewing heavy fabrics; your machine may need more frequent servicing due to the build up of lint and possible issues with tension and timing.
Do you do any maintenance on your machine at all – if you are someone who keeps your machine clean, changes your needle frequently, oils it where needed, and stores it in a warm dry place then you can wait longer between services. Be careful though, keeping your machine clean does not mean it will not need to be serviced at all. A good service goes beyond cleaning the machine, read our post on what you should expect from a sewing machine service here.
How old is your machine – the older your machine, the more looking after it may need. This may sound obvious but it is true. Older machines need more lubrication to run well, they do have parts that wear out with time and use. I have had direct experience of a number of specific models that wear out faster than others and I see a lot of them with serious problems where regular servicing would have helped.
Listen to your machine – this is probably the most important point of all. Get to know how your machine sounds and how it handles. If it starts to sound more ‘clanky’ or squeaky, if the handwheel feels tighter when you turn it, if you are having trouble with your tension – it’s time for a service. If you are not planning to use the machine for a length of time – get it serviced, it will make it easier when you come to use the machine again.
There is no definitive answer. As a a general rule of thumb for most ‘normal’ sewing, your machine should be serviced every 12-18 months. Also consider a service if you notice a change in the tone of your machine or if the machine starts to become stiff or squeaks when sewing.