Compound Bow Maintenance – Helpful Guide

Proper compound bow maintenance is the key to ensuring your bow serves for as long as possible, and you want to take good care of it right from the moment you buy it. Maintenance also ensures that your bow functions well throughout its lifespan.

The good news is that despite the many complicated parts of a compound bow, it’s easy to maintain one properly through simple routine practices such as cleaning, waxing, restringing, and synchronizing cams.

This article covers some easy compound bow maintenance practices that you should follow to ensure your bow functions well and lasts a long time with regular use.

How Often Does a Compound Bow Need Maintenance?

The frequency of compound bow maintenance routines depends on the type of restoration you have to do on your bow. 

You can easily know what maintenance is required by simply checking and listening to your bow for signs that indicate that something might be wrong.

One of the major signs to look out for is a dry or fuzzy bowstring. You can check on this weekly or every time before and after a round of shots. As you shoot arrows off the bow, the string bears the brunt of the activity and runs dry or wears off soon.

Listen to the sound the bowstring produces during the draw and the release. Vibrations that weren’t there before indicate that the string is either too dry or fuzzy. The routine check time for this should be every time you go out shooting your bow.

It’s also important to check and listen to your bow for breakages or loose parts. The energy dynamics of compound bows end up weakening the bow, especially if you have at one time fired it dry, in which case the energy stored in the drawn string transfers into the bow.

Archery experts recommend that you take your compound for a routine check every three months or so, depending on the frequency of bow usage. However, weekly inspections for wear and tear are necessary.

Most archers who fail to check their compound bow routinely for wear and tear usually end up losing the bow in the long run. Sometimes the loss is sooner, especially for bows that have been dry-fired even once. The bow might break down for good.

Weekly and monthly maintenance routines are also important for ensuring your safety and that of others around you. You don’t want something like a faulty bowstring to injure you when it charges back to your face after an erratic arrow release.

How To Maintain a Compound Bow

Maintaining a compound bow is easy if you know what to look out for and do to correct any mishaps that have already happened or are likely to happen soon. Here are some of the major maintenance practices you should perform on your compound bow.

Inspections for Wear and Tear

The first step to identifying and correcting mishaps on a compound bow is inspecting it for worn or torn parts. Self-inspections can be either weekly or at any time before and after using the bow for shooting.

Every three months or so, you should have an archery expert inspect your bow at your local archery shop. Other times you can seek the help of a seasoned archer if you happen to be around one often.

Waxing the Bowstring and Cables

A dry bowstring results in excessive friction between the string and other surfaces that come into contact with it, such as the arrow, fingers, and release aids. The excess friction hurts not only your fingers but also the bowstring and these other accessories.

The bowstring and cables should be waxed at least once a week, whether or not you shoot every day.

Replacing the Bowstring and Cables

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Every 12-18 months, you should replace the cables and bowstring with brand new ones. Repeated usage wears the bowstring and cables down. The last thing you want is a bowstring that snaps during the draw or release and jeopardizes your safety.

The cables connecting the cams also wear out with time and can easily run off the cams, ruining the energy transfer cycle in the bow.

If you use the bow less often, you can change the bowstring every three years or after every 2,500 shots. 

Removing Ice on Cams and Bowstring

A lot of ice may collect on your bow during winter if you are out long enough hunting deer. You should always remove the ice during this season, especially on the bowstring and cams, because it can easily derail the string off the cams.

Compound Bow Cleaning

After every use, you should thoroughly clean your compound bow to remove dust and any debris. Clean the bow carefully using acetone and cotton swabs, then store it in a dry place.

For detailed insights into the compound bow cleaning process, be sure to refer to the video below. 

Proper Compound Bow Storage

Your compound bow should be stored indoors in a dry place away from heat. Room temperatures are highly suitable for your bow, but any excessive heat (100°F+) causes significant stretching and potential breakages due to non-uniform expansion and contraction of parts.

For easy storage, consider buying a compound bow case. It comes in handy when you are on the move with your bow. 

Synchronizing Cams

A compound bow’s cams should always be synchronized for proper energy transfer and shooting. Faulty synchronization affects poundage, shooting comfort, draw length, and the bow’s lifespan. 

Single cam systems are easy to synchronize on your own, unlike other systems such as binary cams, twin cams, and hybrid cams that an archery expert best handles. 

Avoid Dry Fire by All Means

A dry fire is a situation where you shoot the bow without an arrow on it. It is a highly destructive and dangerous event that to avoid at all costs. 

Dry firing upsets the bow’s energy transfer mechanism since all the stored energy that would have gone into the arrow goes into the bow itself, causing cracking or breakage of crucial parts. 

If you happen to dry-fire your bow, you should store it away immediately in its case, ready for an expert’s inspection. The case helps keep it together and avoids any mishaps that might happen from continued use.

Importance of Maintaining Your Compound Bow

Maintenance is a crucial undertaking in the lifespan of a compound bow for several reasons, some of which we discuss in this section.

Enhanced Functionality

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to regularly and properly maintain your compound bow to maintain and enhance its functionality. A compound works well when the pulley system and the bowstring are all in good shape. 

Every moving part of the bow should be in its right place for the bow to work. The cables, cams, string, and other components have to be in place and fully functional.

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Prolonged Lifespan

It’s out in the open that proper regular maintenance is crucial for prolonging the usability duration of any product or item. Regularly servicing and maintaining your compound bow ensures it lasts a long time, even with repeated usage.

Saves You Money

It’s less costly to repair and replace broken parts in a compound bow than to buy a new one altogether. Regular bow maintenance ensures the bow lasts a long time, which saves you money in the long run that would have been spent on a brand new purchase.


Compound bow maintenance is easy to do yourself or with a little help from your archery expert. 

Some activities like cleaning, waxing, storage, and ice removal are easy to do yourself. However, you’ll need an expert for routine inspection, restringing, and synchronizing cams.

People Also Ask

Whether you are a total beginner or an accomplished archery expert, questions usually come up around compound bow maintenance practices. It’s always important to have them answered by an expert to eradicate any confusion or doubts.

How Long Do Compound Bows Last?

If you take good care of your compound bow with regular servicing and maintenance, it should last you for 25-30 years of regular use. If you only use your bow seasonally or just once in a blue moon, it should last for up to 50 years with regular maintenance and servicing. 

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How Often Should You Restring a Compound Bow?

It’s advisable to restring a compound bow every 12-18 months if you use it regularly. With irregular or less frequent use, you can restring after every three years or 2,500 shots. 

How Often Should You Wax Your Compound Bow String?

Wax your compound bow string at least once a week. If you use your bow daily for hundreds of shots, it’s easy for the string to go dry sooner. As such, you can wax it as soon as it runs dry.