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How to Fix CRAFTSMAN Cordless Drill Problems

A collage of different ways to fix a drill.

CRAFTSMAN is a well-known, US-based maker of power tools. The company’s portable, battery-operated Drills are known for hard work and durability. They are often a preferred choice for DIY enthusiasts and professionals. CRAFTSMAN’s cordless Drills release the operator from the need to carry extension cords or gas, allowing them to work in places without electricity.

From time to time, these powerful tools may require some attention. Let’s look at CRAFTSMAN cordless Drill problems and discuss solutions.

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CRAFTSMAN’s Cordless Drill is hard-working and durable with a few problems:

  1. Cordless Drill Won’t Start
  2. Battery Doesn’t Charge
  3. Motor Is Very Slow
  4. Trigger Switch Doesn’t Work When Pressed
  5. The Chuck Won’t Turn or Release the Bit
  6. The Drill Makes a Screeching Sound
  7. The Drill Overheats

1. Cordless Drill Won’t Start

A man drilling screws on a wood using a drill.

The last thing you need you set out to do a job is a non-responsive working tool. You press the [], and nothing happens. It looks like your trusty CRAFTSMAN cordless Drill needs some attention.

Solution

Do a Four Senses Test: press the trigger switch. Can you hear the motor, even faintly? Turn the unit around and look for signs of damage, broken casing, unhinged battery, or missing screws. Touch and smell the battery casing, the motor holder, and the trigger switch. Are they unusually hot? Do you detect a burning smell?

You should replace broken or heat-damaged parts. Burned parts may also indicate that you need to look at the electric part of the Drill. If you are not an expert in this area, consult a professional. Now is the time to check if the unit is still under warranty.

2. Battery Doesn’t Charge

A cordless drill and it's battery.

After trying a few times to charge the battery, you suspect that the battery, charger, or both, are responsible. Here is how to go about finding which of the two is faulty.

Solution

The first thing you do is to follow the power, in this case, the battery. Check the light on the battery. Is it green or red? Red means that the battery is empty. Next, check the battery charger. Does the charging light come on when you connect the charger to the battery? If it does, you need to recharge the battery.

If no charging light comes on, the battery will likely be the culprit. If you have a spare battery, connect it to the Drill. Connect the charger and check the charging light: is the unit working with the replacement battery? If so, use the working battery and get a new battery to use as a spare.

3. The Motor Is Very Slow

A man holding a cordless drill on a gray background.

Your CRAFTSMAN cordless Drill motor is slow and low in power, and your work will have to wait until you find a solution to the problem.

Solution

Firstly, check to see if the battery is fully charged. If not – charge it fully and try again. Alternatively, if you have a spare battery you use as backup, replace the unit’s battery with the spare one and try again. If the problem persists with a fully charged battery, then the carbon brushes in your unit’s motor may be at fault.

A Drill motor uses carbon brushes to facilitate its electric function. CRAFTSMAN introduced a new range of brushless Drills that replaced the brushes with magnets, adding speed and reducing friction and heat. If your unit is not brushless, the carbon brushes in your Drill’s motor may be dirty or worn, and you should replace them.

4. Trigger Switch Doesn’t Work When Pressed

Your CRAFTSMAN cordless Drill will not work when you press the trigger switch. You have charged the battery, and the Drill seemed in good order.

Solution 1: Disconnect the Drill’s Battery from the Drill

Check the trigger switch closely. Does it look broken, loose, or dislodged from the Drill? Trigger switches come in contact with dirty, oily fingers and gloves that cover them in grease, oil, dust, and dirt.

Do not use any commercial solvents, gasoline, brake fluids, or petroleum-based products to clean the plastic surface of the Drill and the trigger switch. Instead, use an all-purpose cleaner or degreaser. Green products do not use hazardous chemicals, which will likely lower the risk of damaging the Drill.

Clean the trigger switch using a rag or a microfiber cloth dipped in the cleaner. Read the product manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging before using it. If required, mix the cleaner with water, as instructed. Wring the cloth to avoid liquid leakage. Clean the trigger switch thoroughly, using a thing screwdriver to remove dirt from spaces around the trigger. Press the trigger switch a few times during cleaning.

Dry the trigger switch thoroughly before reattaching the battery. Use pressurized air to clean in and around the trigger switch.

Solution 2: Contact CRAFTSMAN’s Support Team

Customer service representative working on an office.

If the Drill is not working and your unit is still under warranty, contact CRAFTSMAN’s Support Team for advice. If the Drill is out of warranty, contact a professional.

Solution 3: DIY-Skilled Persons May Open the Drill Cover

If you are a skillful DIY person, do the following after opening the Drill cover and gently pulling the trigger switch out of the casing. Leave the wires on both sides of the trigger switch intact.

Use a multimeter to check the connections between the trigger switch and the battery. Take out the trigger switch unit and attach the multimeter to the two connectors of the trigger switch. The multimeter will show a null response until you press the trigger switch.

Now press the trigger switch. If the multimeter still shows a null response, you must replace this faulty trigger switch.

If the multimeter indicates that the trigger switch is working, check the connection between the trigger switch and the brushes.

If the problem is with the wires, check them thoroughly and, if necessary, replace them.

5. The Chuck Won’t Turn or Release the Bit

A man holding the chuck of the drill.

Like other power tools, Drills use mechanical parts driven by electric power to do their job. The chuck, the metal cylinder at the tip of the Drill, is used to clamp and hold Drill bits and any other tools the Drill uses. The chuck’s metal teeth hold the bit tight as the Drill’s spindle turns it at high speed. Sometimes the chuck freezes. It will not spin or release the Drill bit it holds.

Solution

As you hear the motor turning, you know that the problem is with the connection between the chuck and the spindle, not with the Drill itself. You will need two adjustable wrenches or expandable pliers. Attach an adjustable wrench to the chuck sleeve and clamp another adjustable wrench to the chuck’s body.

Turn the adjustable wrenches in opposite directions to each other. You should not apply too much pressure. Listen for the clicking sound as the mechanism inside the frozen chuck is released.

6. The Drill Makes a Screeching Sound

During operation, the Drill makes a high-pitch screechy sound. Unless you switch the Drill off, the noise worsens and increases in volume and pitch. One or more of the Drill’s moving parts, the chuck, the transmission, and the motor brushes, is the noise source.

Important note: The second and third solutions necessitate opening the unit’s casing. If your CRAFTSMAN Cordless Drill is still under warranty, contact CRAFTSMAN’s Support Team for advice. If the Drill is out of warranty, contact a professional. Lastly, if you are a skillful DIY person, use the links attached to do the work yourself.

Solution 1: The chuck

The Drill bit or tool is clamped to the chuck as it turns. Remove the bit and release the chuck from the unit. Use a cloth or a rag to clean it thoroughly and blow compressed air through the chuck. Finally, spray a few thin layers of a quick-drying lubricant.

Solution 2: The Gears and Bearings

You need to clean and lubricate the gears and the bearings. After you open the Drill, remove, and disassemble the gearbox and do the following:

Check for broken or bent parts and put them aside for replacement.

Clean the gears and bearings with an all-purpose cleaner or degreaser using a wire brush, steel wool, and compressed air.

Apply a thin layer of NLGI 1 grade grease, fill about 50% of the wheel bearing case with the grease, and repack.

Reassemble the gearbox components, check that all parts are firmly fastened, and screw the Drill’s cover back on.

Solution 3: The Motor’s Carbon Brushes

If you have a CRAFTSMAN Brushless Cordless Drill, skip this solution.

The CRAFTSMAN cordless Drill electric motor has two small carbon blocks called brushes. The brushes form part of the motor spin by transferring electrical current through wires. With the rotation, the brushes wear down, and you should get new ones.

After you open the Drill, remove, and extract the motor, do the following:

Remove the two carbon brushes and inspect them.

Replace both carbon brushes if any of them has ¼ inch carbon length or less left or if the brush’s spring or wire is damaged.

Insert the new brush into the guiding groove with its carbon block first and fit the “ear” into the correct slot in the guiding groove. Repeat the procedure with the other brush.

After tightening the plastic caps or screws, reassemble the unit, ensure all parts are firmly fastened, and screw the Drill’s cover back on.

7. The Drill Overheats

An intense burning smell comes off the Drill while you are using it, and unless you stop the motor, the Drill’s hardy casing overheats. In some cases, the unit starts smoking. Smell, heat, and smoke indicate a problem with the motor. When working beyond its designed capacity, the motor will work harder to keep up with the demand and, as a result, will overheat.

Solution 1: Consider a Stronger CRAFTSMAN Drill

Is the tool you are using the right tool for the task? Your Drill’s motor may be underpowered for the job you require it to do. Cordless Drills have become more robust and resilient over the years, and you may need a CRAFTSMAN with a stronger motor.

Solution 2: Replace the Motor’s Carbon Brushes

The motor’s carbon brushes may be worn out and need replacement

Check Solution 3 in item 6: The Drill Makes a Screeching Sound

Solution 3: Check and Fix or Replace Faulty Wires

Inside wiring of an electric drill.

The wires connecting the battery, through the trigger switch, and onto the motor have become frayed.

Check Solutions 2 and 3 in item 4: Trigger Switch Doesn’t Work When Pressed.

Solution 4: Clean and Lubricate the Bearings

The bearings that enable the Drill to operate at high speed while keeping friction, vibration, and noise to a minimum, may need cleaning and lubrication.

Check the solution in item 5: The Chuck Won’t Turn or Release the Bit.

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