Service a used lathe by disassembling the lathe, inspecting for damage, replacing damaged components, cleaning all parts and reassembling the tool. There is a wide variety of lathes available, and the exact procedures for servicing a lathe vary by lathe type and purpose.
Disassembling metal lathes typically requires removing any bolts and pins holding the parts in place and storing these in a safe location. Inspect for signs of wear, rust or cracking, which can lead to serious malfunctions during use, and replace any components that show these. Clean all the parts with a solvent designed for use around metal tools, and allow the lathe to dry fully before reassembling and testing it. On all lathes, remember to lubricate the moving parts fully with a suitable formula for the component type to prevent future wear and tear.
Specialized lathes, often designed for wood or composite use, may require extra attention in addition to the steps above. Take care to avoid damaging the lathe's ways, where the material moves, as these must remain pristine to avoid harming products fashioned on the lathe. On standing lathes, often used in machine shops or woodworking centers, make sure to fully center and test the lathe's ways with a level. This helps increase accuracy and prevents accidents.