How To Check Bow Strings For Damage

Your bow needs simple maintenance to keep it performing at its best.  Whether it’s a recurve, compound or crossbow you’re string is going to need checked.  That’s easier said than done if you’re a beginner with a bow.  So how do you know when to replace your bow string?

When Do You Replace a Bow String?

With regular maintenance bow strings shouldn’t need to be replaced frequently.  Even competitive shooters that practice every day will only need to replace their string every couple years.  The most important thing to do is lube up your string regularly to get the longest life out of your bow strings.

How to Extend The Life of Your Strings

The easiest way to extend the life of your strings is to wax them frequently. I like to wax my strings every time I bring out my bow.  I prefer to use the Allen Archery Bow String Wax, but just about any wax will work.  I’ve never heard of strings getting damaged by excess wax so wax them more than you think you need to.

Waxing your bow is easy and should only take a few minutes from start to finish. Simply wax all of your exposed strings with your wax stack and rub it in for a couple seconds using your fingers or a leather glove. Then I normally spray little bit of oil on my cams, rail and anywhere else that needs a touch of love.

When to Evaluate Your Strings

If you’re a bow hunter you’re going to need to evaluate your bow strings every year.  Even if your strings went into storage pristine you never know what storage can do to them.  Throughout the off season strings can get damaged through any number of ways.

Signs Your Bow Strings Need Replaced

Strings can last for years, but you need to be vigilant to catch them before they fail. If you notice any signs of damage pull your strings immediately and get them replaced. The following signs mean your string should be replaced immediately.

  1. Fraying:  Fraying is going to be your number one sign of string damage. Fraying comes naturally just from the regular breakdown of your strings. You can delay fraying by religiously using wax and taking care of your bow in the field. Any little snag has the potential to do damage to your strings.
  2. Look For Separations:  Check your bow for any type of separations in your string. Your center serving is probably going to be the one to go out first, but you should also check your cams. To reduce the likelihood of separation you’re going to want to use a d loop on your center serving. The video below will help you tie a D-Loop on your bow.  If your strings look good, but your servings look bad you can just replace the servings and get a couple more years out of your strings.
  3. Bends in Your String:  Look for signs of bands in your string that could signify underlying damage. Wavy almost snake like strings could mean that the inside strands are damaged.
  4. Knicked Strands:  It doesn’t matter if you have one damaged strand or many you’re going to have to replace your strings. Strings could get knicked by any number of causes, but they seriously undermine the integrity of your bowstring. Even if you’ve only broke 1 or 2 strands the string is going to stretch over time causing further damage.  They could have been caught on a broadhead, throrny brush or just the edge of your car door. There’s a million ways your bowstrings could get damaged.


How To Replace Bowstrings

Unless your shooting competitively I probably wouldn’t replace my own strings.  You’ll need a bow press which is going to be very expensive. Check out this Last Chance Bow press if you don’t believe me. It would probably take 100 years for the average hunter to cover the cost of a press.

It’s going to be much easier to just pay someone to replace your strings.  You’ll probably be able to get your strings replaced for under $40.

Common Causes of String Damage

  • Heat and Moisture:  The number one thing that causes bow string damage in the off-season is excessive heat and moisture.  Prolonged heat and moisture will cause damage to just about anything left their long enough.  Moisture will damage your strings causing them to become frail and weak.
  • Sun Damage:  You wouldn’t think that the sun could damage bow strings, but it’ll really wreak havoc if left in the sun long enough.  Unfortunately I found out the hard way when I left my bow hanging in my garage window.  After a few months sitting in the sun the string broke down and looked like it was used and abused.  It wasn’t so damaged that it was unusable, but you don’t want to mess around with dangerous equipment.
  • Improper Length:  You’d be amazed at just how many people by improper strings for their bows. String length is one of the most important safety aspects when fitting a bow.
  • Infrequent Waxing:You need to wax more than you ever thought necessary. Unless I’m just going out for a quick site adjustment I’m going to wax my strings. It only takes less than a minute and will seriously extend the life of your bowstring’s
  • Common Pests:  Not sure just how common it is, but one year I had mice wreak havoc on my bow. They gnawed on everything they possibly could and left my strings a fraying mess.
  • Don’t Dry Fire Your Bow:  Dry firing a bow will result in damage caused by hi tension and a lot of moving parts. Without the arrow to take most of the impact the strings will really take a beating.

How Long Do Bowstrings Last?

The amount of time bowstrings last will largely depend on how often you’re going to use it. Most people can get a few years out of a bow before they have to replace their strings. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your strings every 18 months or 2500 shots. Personally I think 18 months might be a little overkill on a properly cared for hunting bow but your mileage may vary.

How Frequently Do You Wax Your Strings?

I like to wax my strings every time I take out my bow. It only takes a few minutes and will significantly extend the life of your bowstring’s.After I start shooting I’ll probably quickly wax every 20 to 30 arrows. It’s not a science just wax whenever you have a little downtime.

Not only will it extend the life of your strings it will also improve the performance of your bow.Just like oiling your cams waxing your strings is going to improve the accuracy and power of your bow. Your strings won’t crack and arrows won’t slip.



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