Compound bow: Some Top Maintenance Tips


Your compound bow is like your car and needs caring, in the same way, to keep it working smoothly. For, this reason you need to do regular checkups before using them. You have made a significant investment, and whether you hunt or use the archers’ bow for recreation, it needs upholding.

The correct compound bow maintenance extends longevity to work smoothly, keeps it performing, and preserves the appearance. But where do you start with all the parts on the compound bow? Yes, we know it looks intimidating to take apart and put together.

However, with the correct maintenance checklist, you will quickly learn to handle your bow’s upkeep. The crucial thing is you need to make sure your archers’ bow is in tip-top condition at all times. Here you can find a comprehensive guide to get you started.

Maintaining and repairing your archery bow

Before you can start taking care of your compound bow, you need to know what it is and what parts it comprises. The difference between the compound and other archers’ bows is the pulleys found at both ends, also known as the levering system.

With the pulley system made up of cables, it provides the let-off when you draw the bow. The system helps reduce the full draw to lesser weight and remains constant until you release your arrow.

Therefore, you can fire the compound bow to make powerful shots without much effort from your side. All of this happens with the wheels at both ends of the drawstring. It reduces the full weight, so you do not struggle to keep your bow straight, making more vital shots that is more accurate.

The compound bow you can use for target archery, hunting, and field archery.

So what is The Difference Between a Compound Bow and  a Traditional Bow?

When you pull back the bowstring, your bow relies on the stored energy to shoot the compound bow arrow. However, there is a difference between your traditional and compound bow when storing that energy.

Using a recurve bow is simple as the further you drawback on the bow and string, the more influential the shot becomes. When it becomes harder to pull back the string, your shot becomes faster. Therefore, the energy is directly transferred from the bowstring to the arrow.

Now, the compound bow works with the wheels on both ends to reduce the weight. As a result, it becomes a bit more complicated when transferring energy. If your bow has a 50-pound draw weight, you are not holding the full draw length weight.

The reason is that the energy is stored, allowing for careful aim, and you need no physical strength to get a full draw length on the bow and strings.

What are the Compound Bow Parts?

Compared to your recurve bow, you can string the compound bow all the time, even when you do not use it. For you, this means there is less maintenance, but it has more parts that are moving. Here is a list of those parts making up the bow.

  • The limbs are the part that flexes when you pull the string to store and release energy.
  • Cams are the wheels on both ends found on the limbs to create the let-off point to reduce the draw weight. You can find the compound bow with one, two, or hybrid cams.
  • The bowstring you pull to rotate the cams to flex the limbs, and once released, it propels the arrow.
  • The cables help restrain the limbs to the pulley cam system, letting them pull on each other.
  • The cable slide helps hold the cables off to one side so that it does not get in the way of the arrow.
  • While the riser holds the limbs to provide space for mounting accessories like your rest stabilizer with sight, it functions as a handle for you to hold.
  • Lastly, you have the brace height, which is the distance between the string and your grip when the bow is at rest. With a shorter brace, the bowstring transfers more power to the arrow, allowing faster firing speeds.

closeup of bow and arrows

Some Basic Bow Maintenance Pointers

With the guide, you can find a suitable place to begin the compound bow maintenance. When you learn the basics, you will be able to take apart and put the bow together to clean, fix, and keep it maintained.

Make Sure To Inspect for Wear and Tear

At least once a week, take your time to inspect your bow, string, and cable for damage or wear. If you are shooting with it and hear any strange noise or vibrations, stop and check if it has any damage. If no obvious problems are seen, take it apart for a more in-depth inspection.

Alternatively, please take it to an archer’s shop to have it checked out. There are different reasons for the compound bow to make a noise from a cracked limb or the mechanical device comes loose over time.

Keep an Eye on the Bowstring

Make sure to check the cables and bowstring regularly and replace them if you notice damage or wear. We recommend replacing the wires and strings every twelve to eighteen months or after every 2,500 shots, to avoid a bowstring break.

Waxing the Bowstring

Regularly apply bowstring wax to the cables and string, especially when using your bow regularly. You can do this once a week or a couple of times throughout the month if you use it less frequently. Make sure to use soft wax and prevent rubbing too hard. The reason is that when you cause too much friction, it creates heat that can damage the cable.

Never do Dry Firing

Try not to dry fire, meaning shoot without an arrow in it. If you find that you shoot without an arrow (dry fire), inspect the bow limbs for cracks or any other signs of damage on your compound bows. Also, make sure to check the arrows to ensure that one is not bent. While we are on the topic of using the bow without an arrow, make sure to read the following.

Looking After Your Arrows

Once completing shooting, it is best to unstring your bow as leaving it overnight causes it to lose cast and can cause damage to the bow. If caught in the rain, wipe the bow and the arrows dry with a soft cloth.

The chance is that the fletching gets mussed and solves the problem by running it through the steam of the kettle’s spout—doing this will fluff out the feathers. On the other hand, if the arrows look a bit rough, you can take them to an archery shop to replace the points, nocks, or fletching.

The last plays a critical part to keep the arrow in flight and needs maintaining at all times. Other signs to show that fletching needs replacing is when it is loose, ripped, missing a section, or missing the fletch.

Tuning The Cams

It helps to keep your compound bows strings cams synchronized to keep it firing. When it is not in sync, you can find yourself struggling with your aim. Alternatively, the arrow can fall short and lead to bowstring failure.

When you are at a full draw, the cam should rotate to reach the left-off point simultaneously. If one of the cams is not in the same position, the buss cable needs adjusting. If you are not sure how to do this, instead take it to a pro shop to have it done.

Synchronizing the Cams

Basically, synchronizing the cams means adjusting the strings and cables for the cams to move together. To do this, you need to tweak the wires so that the upper and lower metal parts have a flat section of the cam module to hit the cables precisely at the same time.

Other Methods of Bowstring Care

While the above are some methods to make sure your bow is in tip-top condition, there are other things to consider as well:

Take care not to draw the string too far or dry fire – when this happens, it puts more stress on the string and cables, causing it to break with time. It helps to check the string and cables for dents, cracks, and frays.

Try to lubricate the axles regularly to keep it running smoothly. It helps to use high-quality oil that does not have a cleaning agent present. Furthermore, if the bow you have has cams with a needle bearing, prevent using oil.

Fine Tuning

One of the best methods to tune your bow is using paper tuning. When you do this, you can determine if your compound bow functions well and that the arrows fly true. Here are the steps on how to do it:

  1. Start by placing a piece of paper to a frame to shoot through, similar to target practice.
  2. Move away about eight feet from the target.
  3. Use the same stance as you would when doing target practicing and shoot the arrow at the paper.
  4. Go to the paper, study the findings, adjust your bow if necessary, and repeat.

Doing this allows you to look at the shape of the hole made by the arrow. If the paper is torn, you will know that you need to adjust to the bow. When the tear is long up/down, the nocking point may need adjusting.

If it is too long left/right, there is a timing problem with the arrow spine, and too stiff. Once completing the tuning, there should be a clean straight hole, and you will know your bow is well-tuned.

Correct Storage

Keep your compound bows shooting like new with proper storage to prevent accidental damage. When at home, store your bow in a climate-controlled area. Therefore, the bow needs keeping where it is not too cold or hot as it helps prevent the string from stretching.

Furthermore, it helps store your bow where there is no moisture present as the limbs may war while the metal parts can rust. Holding a longbow or recurve bow prevents storing it where the stem supports the whole weight and is suitable for short periods only.

However, in the long-term, it starts twisting the limb. To help prevent this, a bow rack or bow case is an excellent option. Some bow racks allow you to display your bows and quiver to hand on a peg.

The bow case works well when traveling by road to keep your bow and quiver all secure in one place. Another crucial thing is not leaving your bow lying in a hot car as the extreme heat causes the string to stretch and can damage the bow.

One more note is when you store your bow in the designated bag, you can place a pack of silica gel to keep the moisture away.

Final Thoughts

One thing to remember is that your compound bow works with mechanical parts and needs maintenance. With day-to-day care, you can keep your bow working well, but it still needs an inspection done by a professional. For this reason, it helps to take your bow at least once a year to a pro shop for inspection. But with some minor tunes, waxing the strings, and preventing dry firing, you can keep your investment sound and safe. By taking good care of your bow, it takes good care of you.


I'm Isaac Murphy and at the moment I am a student. I took up archery as a hobby about 3 years ago and built this blog to share some of the things I have learned and to help those starting out in this sport. Check out my bio here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts