An accurate, smooth operating tape measure is essential to almost any home improvement project. Like any tool a measuring tape will benefit from a little preventive maintenance to keep it working smoothly and accurately.
To prevent binding as the tape slides in and out of the housing, you should occasionally add a little paste wax to the front and back of the tape.
If you’re concerned about its accuracy, here’s a quick test. Place it on a piece of wood, aligning the one-inch mark with the edge of a board. Make a pencil mark at the four. Then place the hook end on the edge and see if the measurement is three. If it’s not, take two pair of pliers and bend the hook slightly to adjust it as needed.