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How to Fix DEWALT Reciprocating Saw Problems

A collage of different types of Reciprocating Saw.

DEWALT’s reciprocating saw is simple, strong, and effective, allowing you to do tough household jobs easily. DEWALT’s reciprocating saw is necessary for all heavy-duty demolition tasks because they combine sheer power with an easy-to-use design. A reciprocating saw is a professional’s dream tool, and DEWALT’s reciprocating saw aims to please you even if you are not a pro.

Related To: DEWALT Work Light & Flashlight Solutions | DEWALT Trimmer Solutions | DEWALT Cordless Drill Solutions | DEWALT Leaf Blower ProblemsHow to Fix DEWALT Pole Saw ProblemsHow to Fix DEWALT Scroll Saw ProblemsHow to Fix DEWALT Planer Problems | How to Fix DEWALT Miter Saw ProblemsHow to Fix DEWALT Cordless Framing Nailer Problems

DEWALT has a corded and battery-powered reciprocating saw that hardly ever fails. Here are their problems and the different solutions that you can identify and fix:

1. Reciprocating Saw Won’t Start

2. Reciprocator Shaft Problem

3. Battery Reciprocating Saw No Start

4. Faulty Variable Speed Trigger

DEWALT Corded Reciprocating Saw

A man holding a corded Reciprocating Saw.

Struggling with a handsaw is something every demolition professional and homeowner can relate to. DEWALT’s corded reciprocating saw removes the hassle of a labor-intensive job that gives you sleepless nights just thinking about the task ahead.

1. Reciprocating Saw Won’t Start

A DEWALT reciprocating saw is easy to use. The blade function is activated with a trigger switch that you pull, and the saw starts. You are ready to go if you supply the reciprocating saw with power and pull the trigger. But what if there is power, and you pull the trigger, and it won’t start? It could be that your DEWALT’s reciprocating saw switch is faulty or has a loose wire.

Your DEWALT reciprocating saw might not start due to a malfunctioning or broken switch. Another issue can be a faulty connection or a loose cable. Although finding the problem may seem difficult, you should not let it concern you too much. To fix the switch or wire problem of your DEWALT reciprocating saw, take the following steps:

Solution 1: Faulty or Burned Wire

A man taking a rest while holding a cutting tool.

Behind the motor in the grip casing of the DEWALT reciprocating saw are the wires and switch. Remove the screws on the grip casing, and be careful not to lose any. When the screws are out, you can remove one-half of the grip casing. The split section is easily visible and should not be too difficult to find. A plastic prying tool can help you split the grip casing if it feels stuck.

Once the casing is split, you can see the wiring and the trigger on the inside. Before removing any wiring, first see if there are not any burned, melted, or loose wire connections. If the wiring has a bad connection, secure it and see if the DEWALT reciprocating saw runs.

If there is a burned or melted wire, it will need to be replaced. Sometimes continuously working a DeWalt reciprocator saw under strain can cause it to heat up, resulting in a melted or burned wire. Remove the damaged wire and replace it with the same color, length, and thickness to ensure it stays within the manufacturing specifications.

After repairing the damaged wire, refit the case cover and secure the screws. Ensure the case is properly aligned and the wires tucked in their proper place to avoid pinching. Secure the screws back into their original place, and your DEWALT reciprocating saw should be ready.

Solution 2: Faulty switch

A person holding a Reciprocating Saw without a blade.

If the wiring looks fine, you should focus on the switch. You will have to remove the wiring and the switch to check for a faulty switch. Before removing the wiring and the switch, ensure the power cord is removed from the electricity to avoid injury.

Once you remove the switch, the best way to check the switch is to use a multimeter. Set your multimeter to ohms. Push the switch and connect the multimeter’s two ends, each end, to one of the switch’s pins. A working switch will give a reading of zero. If the switch does not show zero, your switch is not working, and you need to replace it.

Here is a link that shows how to test a switch: 

The DEWALT reciprocating saw switch replacement will not fit with the old casing, and when you buy the part, it comes with a new switch and cover. Reinstall the wiring and new switch into the new cover onto the DEWALT reciprocating saw the same way as the old cover.

After you have the switch and wiring in place, push the two halves into position and fasten them with the screws to secure the reciprocating saw to its original state. Once everything is assembled, you should have the DEWALT reciprocating saw running again.

Here is an extra tip to help you: If the switch works fine and the wiring is all intact, a faulty plug or damaged power cord could be why your DEWALT corded reciprocating saw will not run. Check the cord from the switch to the plug for any damage and repair it; hopefully, it will solve the problem.

2. Reciprocator Shaft Problem

A man holding a Reciprocating Saw.

The DEWALT reciprocator shaft kit includes mounting screws, a new shoe, a new blade release lever, and a new blade shaft with the clamp already attached. A broken blade clamp is the most common cause of replacing a new reciprocator shaft. The blade shaft itself can potentially shatter in specific circumstances. Here’s how to replace a reciprocator shaft kit if you want to repair it yourself.

Solution: Replace the Reciprocator With a New Shaft Kit

Start by removing the large screw holding the locking plate from the shoe’s underside. Now remove the shoe, which is fastened with four screws inside, and once the shoe is off, you can remove the boot.

With the cover plate’s six screws removed, you can remove the shaft assembly from the saw. Remove the bushing from the shaft by giving the shaft’s bottom a light tap with a shop mallet. Installing the replacement shaft assembly is now possible.

The felt block fits perfectly in front of the bushing’s opening. Ensure the extended opening is over the pin when you bring the shaft back. You can replace the bearing that covers the pin you removed earlier with the shaft. Start the bronze bushing replacement; slide it over the top of the shaft and lightly tap it into position. Apply fresh grease to the eccentric shaft’s surrounding area to ensure it does not seize in the future.

Now you can replace the cover plate and secure it with the six screws. After tightening the six screws, refit the boot, followed by the new shoe from the kit, and secure the shoe with the new screws. Finish up by reinstalling the new release lever in the kit, and the shaft replacement is solved.

DEWALT Battery Powered Reciprocating Saw

A battery powered Reciprocating Saw.

DEWALT has an effective cordless reciprocating saw option for applications including demolition-cutting and installation-trimming wood and metal. The DEWALT battery-powered reciprocating saw is great, especially with hard-to-reach spots, because it does not have a cord that sometimes gets in the way.

3. Battery Reciprocating Saw Won’t Start

When you need to cut something, but your DEWALT reciprocating saw won’t start, it is unpleasant. Numerous issues could be the culprit; fortunately, a simple fix is always available.

Solution 1: Battery Charged and Securely Fitted

Checking to see if the battery is completely charged is the first step because the DEWALT reciprocating saw is battery-powered. The battery could be why the motor won’t start if it is not charged or has a low charge.

Place the battery on the DEWALT charger to ensure it is fully charged. When the battery is fully charged, the charger’s red LED light will remain continuous rather than flashing. When you connect the battery, if the LED light does not turn on, there may be a problem with the charger or battery.

The battery is fastened with a locking mechanism and attaches to the back of the reciprocating saw. To start the saw, ensure the battery is securely fastened and precisely fitted. Verify that the reciprocating saw’s battery connection pins are clean.

4. Faulty Variable Speed Trigger

A man cutting a piece of plywood using a Reciprocating Saw.

You can control the motor speed and activate your tool with the switch. The switch may become defective, failing to turn on the motor or to control its speed, especially after years of service. You can perform the replacement of the variable speed switch yourself; here’s how:


Begin by removing the seven screws on the rear handle. Clip the loosened handle off the casing and remove it to expose the switch on the inside.

The switch has a black and red wire connected to it. Use a long nose plier and remove the wires. Remember the position of the wires and where they are connected. The red wire connects closest to the trigger, and the black wire on the other connection is an easy way to remember their position.

Now that you know the position of the wires, you can remove the old switch and install the new switch. Reattach the wires properly and place the switch back into the housing. As you reinstall the switch, remember to align it with the lock-out button.

With the switch in place, tuck the wires out of the way, and refit the other half of the handle. Ensure no wires are pinching and the casing is properly aligned. Now tighten the seven screws back in their place, and you are ready to take your DEWALT reciprocating saw out for the next project.

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