Wondering if your bowstrings are in need of a replacement? Some archers shoot their bowstrings far beyond their lifespan, hoping to milk all the life they possibly can from them.
Others replace their strings every year, as if it’s some kind of fashion trend.
It certainly raises the question, “When should you replace your bowstring? Below we’ll answer this question, as well as give insight on why it’s important and what to look for in string wear and damage.
Why You Should Replace Your Bowstrings
Some shooters change their bowstrings for no other reason than to dress up their bow with slick colors and fancy accents. It’s all about the look.
But there’s obviously a much more important reason to change the strings on your bow.
Our friends at ABB recently shared that bowstrings are like the tires on your vehicle. You wouldn’t drive on bald tires that have been on your vehicle for some time. The same can be said about your strings and cables. Over the course of time, your strings are drawn and shot at aggressive speeds and angles whipping around with every shot. Eventually, your bowstrings will start to fuzz and possibly stretch, causing a loss of poundage, timing, and most importantly accuracy.
“Bowstrings are an intricate system working together with your bow and arrow to give you pinpoint precision,” says Bryant Lyon of America’s Best Bowstrings (ABB). “Whether you are a competitive archer or hardcore bowhunter, a great set of replacement compound bowstrings will give you the definite edge you need to be successful.”
So if your bow is set up with inferior bowstrings, or the strings you have are ready to be replaced, fresh bowstrings can have a significant impact on the way your bow performs.
What to Look For
A lot of shooters never even consider the idea of replacing their bowstring until a breakdown happens. Unfortunately, this can result in a bad situation, be it missing your target, or worse, a mishap causing physical harm to the shooter.
Don’t let this be you! Be sure to watch for the signs of strings going bad before it goes too far.
Visible signs of string wear are the most obvious. They are the issues we can visibly see on our string. “Signs of strings going bad can be visible cosmetic damage such as fuzzing and severe fraying,” says Bryant Lyon of America’s Best Bowstrings. Other signs that may be revealing a need to replace strings are inconsistent shot grouping, shot placement, or loss of poundage. These are typical signs of string damage or string stretch.
Where to Look for String Damage
A spot you want to keep a close eye on is your end loop connections with serving separating and cut strands if left unchecked.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for fraying along the yoke and any strings coming in and out of the cam system. These points tend to be some of the quickest to take abuse from the elements and show sign of needing a replacement.
How can you prevent damage to such areas and get the most out of your bowstring?
ABB recommends to season any new strings with a light coat of wax on the exposed strands of the fibers every 10 shots for the first 40 shots, and then at your discretion after that. You do not want to wax any servings, except maybe crossbow center servings.
How Long Do Bowstrings Last?
The lifespan of a bowstring set is often a varying time frame and may differ from archer to archer. Variables include how often you are shooting, how well do you take care of your strings and cables, where are they stored, and what is the climate you are shooting in.
Some archers spend very little time shooting throughout the summer months. The bulk of their shooting comes in the weeks before season. Their bowstring may last considerably longer than the tournament archer that’s shooting hundreds of arrows a day all year long.
The key is to keep a close eye on your strings and treat them every so often with a light coat of good string wax such as ABB’s Premium Bowstring Wax to maximize the life you’ll get out of your bowstrings.
On average, it’s best to replace your compound bowstrings every 2-3 years.