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Is my sewing machine reeeeally self-oiling?

 
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I've had my Brother LS-590 sewing machine for almost 8 years now. It's served me well for what I think is considered an entry-level machine. I've asked a lot of it and it's always performed, though I haven't really tested all the available stitches yet.

I was looking into the sewing machine maintenance Badge Bit but I remembered that my machine is pre-oiled and doesn't require regular oiling. Just to be sure, I went digging to confirm that.
Sure enough, the Brother support site for this model specifically says it must not be oiled by the user (see included diagrams and this link to Brother's oiling FAQ page.

A web search returned links to two different Pattern Review forum threads with more detailed info (first here, second here). The gist was the same: some machines are made of parts which can be self-oiling or oil-less. Supposedly those machines do not need regular oiling by the user.

Does anyone have experience with or knowledge about self-oiling/oil-free machines?
Would it be best to believe the manufacturer and never oil it myself?
or,
Are there some places a judicious drop of oil wouldn't hurt? (In other words, would minimal oiling increase the longevity of the machine?)

In the future I hope to have machines I can work on/repair myself, beyond routine cleaning and maintenance. I wasn't concerned about that when I chose this one. Taking it to a service shop and getting some pointers is on the 'want list', but not likely to happen soon.

I found the videos on the Sewing Machine Badge Bit very helpful, but I'm still curious to know what you all think.
Brother-no-oil.jpg
[url=https://support.brother.com/g/b/faqend.aspx?c=us&lang=en&prod=hf_ls590eus&faqid=faqh00000529_001]source[/url]
[url=https://support.brother.com/g/b/faqend.aspx?c=us&lang=en&prod=hf_ls590eus&faqid=faqh00000529_001]source[/url]
 
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Some of them have pockets of a non drying grease and oil could dilute it.

Same with modern spinning wheels.  A lot have ball-bearing at certain places now and oils cause them to gum up.  Whereas a traditional wheel (and sewing machine), we oil everything that moves.
 
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I'd say that if the manufacturer says to not oil it, that means that a skilled mechanic who really understands the machinery and lubricants, could probably help it out by lubricating it.  99% of the population will just make it worse though.
 
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For the bb, it's better to borrow a machine that needs oil either from a friend,  tool library,  or even a working museum.
 
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r ranson wrote:Some of them have pockets of a non drying grease and oil could dilute it.


Mike Haasl wrote:I'd say that if the manufacturer says to not oil it, that means that a skilled mechanic who really understands the machinery and lubricants, could probably help it out by lubricating it.


Okay, it sounds like this would not be a good application for intrepid DIYing.

r ranson wrote: For the bb, it's better to borrow a machine that needs oil either from a friend,  tool library,  or even a working museum.


That makes sense - thanks for the tips.

Thank you both - this is exactly the input I was looking for.
 
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My Janome sewing machine is nearly 20 years old and was starting to really drag.  It made a lot of noise, it kept catching and I'd have to manually turn the wheel to get it going again:  it was just slow and not fun to use.

I can't really afford to have it professionally serviced, which of course is the ideal.  It is also not supposed to be oiled.  But...I did it myself anyway.  I managed to tease off the outer case (an extremely frustrating and time consuming battle), brush all the dust off the moving parts with paint brushes, and then spray everywhere with WD-40.  It was still greasy inside, by the way, after 20 years.  And not too dusty, surprisingly.  

The result?  It moves freely now and is quiet again.  The bad news is that I somehow got it stuck on straight stitch and I can't face taking it apart again to try and get the stitch selector dial turning (the other dials still work: stitch length and tension).  I don't think it was the oiling that got that dial stuck, but I can't rule it out entirely.
 
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Sewing machine oil is my preference over something with a sticky residue like wd40. Wd40 is good for getting old machines moving,  but can lock up later if not rinsed off with a light oil like sewing machine oil.  It's really hard to fix when that happens.
 
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r ranson wrote:Sewing machine oil is my preference over something with a sticky residue like wd40. Wd40 is good for getting old machines moving,  but can lock up later if not rinsed off with a light oil like sewing machine oil.  It's really hard to fix when that happens.



I'll let you know if that happens
 
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G Freden wrote:

r ranson wrote:Sewing machine oil is my preference over something with a sticky residue like wd40. Wd40 is good for getting old machines moving,  but can lock up later if not rinsed off with a light oil like sewing machine oil.  It's really hard to fix when that happens.



I'll let you know if that happens



WD-40 is not a great lubricant. It is, according to the company 50% mineral spirits, which is a solvent commonly used in oil-based coatings, and for cleaning those painting tools. WD-40 is very thin and can flow and penetrate into tight spaces to dissolve and flush out dried oils, greases, and dirt, which frees up stuck mechanisms but leaves them relatively un-lubricated once it flows out or evaporates. Oiling or greasing with the proper lubricant afterwards is necessary.

Lubricating oils and greases are designed/chosen for their specific applications/conditions and aren't randomly interchangeable (or compatible with each other in the case of greases).
Not all lubricants are compatible with all machinery parts or bearing materials either, especially plastic parts.  
 
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My 2 cents;
I didn't know there were self-oiling sewing machines.  But to know know for sure, I would take it to place that sells/service/repair it, just for a piece of mind.

On a side note..
I do know that after lots of sewing, it's a good idea to have a professional once-over every few years. Why? If the "bobbin nest" is made of plastic, the bobbin tread will wear it out,  causing stitches to bunch and break.
Feed dogs will wear out too, and they won't pull the fabric as they used to. Noticeably when sewing thin fabrics.
Needle alignment will be off too.
I have Kenmore electronic sewing  machine I bought at Sears over 35 years ago and older than this one, a Singer with few stitches. I use both, and both needed 4 "adjustments" since I bought them. The cost is reasonable  where I live ($60.00 at any sewing machine store that services sewing machines).
I'm sure those who sew knows it, but I noticed that plastic bobbin spools have to be just the right height with flat tops which seems  hard to come by in recent years.
Also, I would think that regardless of what type of sewing machine one has, they all collect lint from sewing fabrics, treads and dust that should be removed.
As for oiling, I do it myself, and take it apart to vacuum/brush out the debris.
It's just like a car/bicycle or any vehicle. For it to run smoothly, lasting "for ever", the care of professional is needed at least once in a while.
 
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G Freden wrote:My Janome sewing machine is nearly 20 years old and was starting to really drag.  It made a lot of noise, it kept catching and I'd have to manually turn the wheel to get it going again:  it was just slow and not fun to use.


My sewing machine was the same. I was blaming the thread, the tension and my technique, but eventually I opened it all up, gave a little wipe round and applied a bit of machine oil (probably came with the machine 30 years ago!) and oh my what a difference! Definitely a job that was overdue. It started sewing much more quietly and smoothly and wasn't breaking the needle or jamming the bobbin nearly as often. A bit of maintenance really does make tools better to use.
 
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