July 12, 2022

Can Your Tape Measure Be Wrong?

How To Check Your Tape Measure For Accuracy

Can your tape measure be wrong? A tape measure is a tape measure, right? It probably never crossed your mind to question whether your tape measure was inaccurate. I, too, had never thought of Man extending a tape measureit until I dropped my tape measure one day and, without realizing it, bent the metal hook on the end. Even the slightest bend to this hook can alter the reading on your tape measure. 

Think about how you use your tape measure. If you’re like me, you hook the metal tip on the end and pull. That’s ok, but over time your tape measure can get “stretched out” or “shortened” By this, I mean that if the metal tip gets bent, it often causes an inaccurate measurement. This can happen whether you are a newbie or a seasoned do-it-yourselfer - so, it’s important to check your tape measure for accuracy every so often. How do you do that? 

How do I know if my measuring tape is accurate?

How would you go about checking to see if your tape measure is reading correctly? Sometimes, taking a look at thMan looking at accurate marking on tape measuree metal tip on the end to see if it’s bent will give you a clue as to whether your tape is measuring accurately. However, it’s often difficult to tell by a visual inspection whether the hook is bent or not. 

One way to determine if your tape measure is accurate is to stretch it out along one arm of a carpenter’s square and then compare the numbers.

How do I fix a bent hook on a measuring tape?

Now that you’ve identified the problem, the fix is to bend the tape measure hook ever so slightly either inward or outward. To do this, first, grip the base of the hook firmly with a pair of lock-jaw pliers – sometimes called Vice-Grips. With your other hand, grip the tab of the hook with a pair of needle-nose pliers and adjust the bend. 

Man using pliers to fix tape measureYou can double-check that your tape measure is accurate by stretching it out and checking it against the long arm of a carpenter's square. 

If the tape is shorter than the carpenter’s square, bend the tape outward. If it’s longer, bend it inward. 

A tape measure is one of the most used tools when it comes to DIY home improvement projects, especially when you’re woodworking. Now you know how to check your tape measure for accuracy and how to fix it if it’s not on the mark. If you enjoyed this tip, check out more of my DIY Home Improvement Tips
 

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