How To Oil Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine

Most people are not experts when it comes to sewing, and so when it comes to oiling a Sears Kenmore sewing machine, it can be a daunting prospect. Kenmore sewing machines were some of the earliest machines produced and perfected by the company, and so, even though they are no longer in production, they are still highly sought after and greatly revered. So, with that in mind, it is important to understand how to maintain a Kenmore in order to ensure it remains in the best condition for years to come.

The main thing to remember when oiling a Kenmore is to oil it regularly, usually about once a month. This is because over time, the various components of a Kenmore require some lubrication in order to keep running smoothly. If the machine is left without regular oiling, there can be wear and tear, which can lead to a reduction in efficiency in the machine, and possibly immobility as well. This is true for all types of sewing machines, not just the Kenmore.

The oil that is usually recommended for a Kenmore is white sewing machine oil, which can be purchased at most sewing supply stores. Before adding any oil, however, it is important to ensure that the machine is completely clean and free of thread, yarn and any other debris that might be present. This is because it is easy for these particles to get caught in the mechanisms of the machine and cause friction, which can lead to further damage over time.

Once the machine is clean, then it is time to add the oil. Generally, it is best to apply the oil through the oiling points on the machine. These are usually located around the various moving parts of the machine, such as the sewing needle and the feed dogs. Some Kenmore models may have a special oiling hole in the centre of the bobbin case or below the machine, which can be used to add oil as well. To apply the oil, a drop of oil should be placed onto a piece of tissue paper, and this should then be wiped over the oiling points. This should be done a few times over, moving the tissue paper around the various points until all the points have been saturated with oil.

Once all the oiling points have been oiled, it is important to wipe off any excess oil with a clean, dry cloth. Then, some machines may need to be reassembled after oiling, depending on the type of machine. The Kenmore should then be run for fifteen minutes to allow the oil to move through the machine, after which the machine should be turned off and left to sit. This will ensure that the oil is thoroughly absorbed into the machine and will ensure its efficient running over time.

Timely Maintenance

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining an old Kenmore sewing machine is to check it regularly. It is easy for moving parts to wear down, and for threads and yarn to get caught in the machine without being noticed. Making sure the machine is regularly cleaned and oiled is important, as this will help to prevent any major damage or build-up from occurring. Additionally, it is important to check the parts regularly to ensure that they are all in good condition. For example, the needle should be changed regularly, and the various screws should be tightened to prevent any further damage from occurring.

Furthermore, it is important to regularly check the tension of the machine. Tension is the amount of force with which the thread is pulled through the fabric. Too much tension can lead to the fabric being pulled too tight, while not enough can result in the stitches not being even. Adjusting the tension is relatively easy, and it is a good habit to get into the habit of checking it periodically.

Perform Diagnosis

If the machine is not working correctly, it is important to identify the cause of the problem before attempting to repair it. Switching the machine off and then on again is often enough to resolve many minor problems, but if this does not work, then it is best to use a sewing machine diagnosis chart to determine the cause. The diagnosis chart will usually provide a list of the various symptoms and possible causes for the malfunction. Once the cause is identified, it is then possible to repair the problem.

If the machine is not functioning but is also not showing any signs of wear and tear, then it is important to determine if there is an electrical issue. This can often be the cause of malfunctions in older machines, as the electrical components may no longer be functioning correctly, or may be affected by dampness. The best way to check this is to use a multimeter, which will be able to detect whether the electrical components of the machine are functioning correctly or not. If this is the case, then it may be best to take it to a professional who is experienced in repairing electrical machines.

Replace Wear Parts

Kenmore sewing machines that have been well maintained will last for years, quite possibly a lifetime. However, it is inevitable that some of the parts of the machine will wear out or need to be replaced over time, and so it is important to stay on top of this. Some of the most commonly replaced parts include the sewing needle, the feed dogs, the bobbin case and the bobbin winders. Generally it is recommended that these parts be replaced every few years in order to keep the machine running smoothly, but how often they need to be replaced depends on how often the machine is used.

These parts can all be purchased at any sewing supply store, and they are not difficult to replace, although it can be difficult to identify the right parts. Therefore, it is important to make sure to keep a note of the make and model of the machine, which can usually be found either on the face of the machine or on the instruction booklet. Armed with this information, it is relatively easy to find the correct parts for the machine.

Give It a Service

Sewing machines can benefit from a service every now and again, particularly if they are used regularly or have been stored for a long time. Services usually involve taking the machine apart and replacing any worn parts, as well as oiling, tightening screws and adjusting any tension that may have developed. This is a job best left to professionals, as it can be very fiddly at times and it is important to ensure the machine is put back together correctly if it is to continue working.

Thankfully, Kenmore machines are relatively easy to service as they use simple, mechanical systems. Moreover, they also tend to be fairly robust, meaning that they can last for a long time if they are well-maintained. In general, getting a service performed every five years or so is recommended, although this varies depending on how often the machine is used.

Consider a Repair Shop

Although it is possible to service and maintain a Kenmore sewing machine on one’s own, it is often best to take the sewing machine to a professional repair shop. These shops typically have years of experience in repairing older machines, and they are usually familiar with the various model of Kenmore machines. Visiting a repair shop can also be helpful if there is something wrong with the machine that is not immediately obvious, or if one does not have the time or tools needed to perform the repair oneself.

In addition to servicing and repairing a Kenmore sewing machine, repair shops may also be able to provide advice on how to maintain the machine in the future. They may be able to give tips on how to oil the machine, how often to change the needle, or how to adjust the tension. Repair shops are also often a great source of spare parts and accessories, which can be helpful if one needs to replace a part but is unable to find it elsewhere.

Keep It Clean

Regardless of how regularly one sews with a Kenmore sewing machine, it is important to ensure the machine itself is kept clean. This involves regularly wiping it down with a cloth or brush to remove loose threads, yarn or other debris. Additionally, it is important to vacuum any dust from the machine, as this can also affect the functioning of the machine if left unchecked.

Over time, the oil used on a Kenmore will begin to crystallise and form a sort of grime on the outside of the machine. This grime can be removed from the surface of the machine by using a special solvent available from most sewing supply stores. Similarly, if there is any rust or corrosion on the machine, it is important to use the correct solvent for this in order to avoid damaging the machine further.


A Kenmore sewing machine is an investment that needs to be treated with care. Oiling the machine regularly and taking the time to clean it thoroughly are essential steps in keeping the machine in good working order. Additionally, any worn parts need to be replaced, and the machine should be serviced regularly in order to ensure it is working as efficiently as possible. By following these steps, one can ensure the machine will last for many years to come.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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