How long do compound bows last.

How Long Do Compound Bows Last? 6 Tips To Increase its Life

After spending a respectable amount and getting your hands on your new compound bow, you might think how long might this thing last? It is a pretty valid question as compound bows are a kind of investment. So let me assure you that it might last longer than you would want to keep it if maintained properly.

The average life span of a well-maintained compound bow is about 15 to 20 years. Some parts can get worn and might not last that long but it doesn’t mean that the bow will break down and will be of no use afterward.

Over time as the parts get old, they need some maintenance or replacement. It is just like keeping a car, you would need to care for it and maintain it.

What Is The Lifespan Of Compound Bows?

Compound bows usually last for about 15 to 20 years, this is just an average as told by compound bow owners or experts. The actual age of a compound bow depends on certain factors which can include a reputable and solid brand, the price of the bow, and the quality of maintenance and service it gets over time.

If you go for a reputable brand like Bear, PSE, or Hoyt then you know that the build quality of your bow is top notch and it will last longer than ever with some maintenance. The factor of price also matters, an expensive bow will have good quality and more durable material. The parts on it will be premium and it will stand out in performance and longevity. 

No matter how durable or expensive the bow is, it can not live up to the expectations if it is not properly stored and maintained. The parts should be kept safe from external factors and damage.

A compound bow with all these three factors, good quality durable material, good price, and quality maintenance, can even last up to 50 years of service.

Durability Of Sensitive Parts Of Compound Bows

The parts of a good compound bow are pretty solid and most might even last up to 50 years depending on the condition.

Bow PartAvg LifespanHow to maintain
Cables and Bowstring2 – 3 yearswaxing or replacing
Cams15 – 20 yearsrepair or replace
Limbs15 – 20 yearsrepair or replace

1. Limbs

The limbs of a compound bow are typically made from materials like fiberglass or carbon fiber, which are known for their durability. Some bow limbs are made of wood, which of course is not that strong.

While limbs are quite resilient, they can develop stress fractures or delamination over time with heavy use, especially if the bow is overdrawn or exposed to extreme temperatures. These are the parts experiencing the most amount of stress and are subject to break first if anything were to break in the bow.

Limbs are constructed to withstand thousands of shots and can last for many years with proper care. Depending on usage and care, limbs can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years or more.

2. Bowstring

Bowstrings are usually made of materials like high-strength synthetic fibers (e.g., Dacron or Fast Flight), which are designed to be strong and durable.

Bowstrings are the most used part of the bow and hence also very fragile. They can wear down with use due to the friction generated during each shot. They may also fray or develop small nicks. They perform the hectic work of transferring energy to the arrow, which is the reason for their early retirement.

Modern bowstrings are built to withstand thousands of shots before needing replacement. This part of the compound bow requires the most maintenance and if it is not kept correctly, it can snap or break.

With proper maintenance like waxing regularly and less exposure to moisture, a bowstring can last between 1,000 to 2,000 shots or more. However, it’s advisable to replace them every 1 to 2 years to ensure safety and accuracy.

Some parts of compound bow effecting its life span

3. Cables

Cables, like bowstrings, are made of high-strength materials to handle the tension and stress of a compound bow. Cables can also wear down over time due to repeated use and exposure to environmental factors. Quality cables are built to last and should endure thousands of shots before needing replacement.

4. Cams

Cams are typically made from aluminum or other strong materials and are designed to withstand the forces generated during the draw and release of the bow.

While they are quite robust, cams can develop wear or damage, particularly if they are not maintained or if they experience excessive stress in an uncommon condition. The cams will break down if they are leaning at an angle or if they are in constant contact with something.

Cams are built to last and should remain functional for many years. With proper care, cams can last the lifetime of the bow, which can be 10 to 15 years or more.

5. Screws

Screws used in compound bows are usually made from stainless steel or other corrosion-resistant materials, ensuring their longevity.

Screws are less likely to wear out or break with normal use. However, they should be checked regularly for tightness to prevent any issues. Also if they are exposed to severe conditions like rain, moisture, etc. they can rust over time and might need oiling.

With proper maintenance and care, screws should not need replacement under normal circumstances.

What Affects The Life Of Compound Bow?

Lets discuss some factors that are responsible for reducing the life of compound bow.

1. Dry Firing

Effect on Lifespan: Dry firing(releasing the bowstring without an arrow nocked) is akin to a car crash for your compound bow. It can cause immediate and severe damage, leading to costly repairs or rendering the bow unusable.

Why It Matters: When you release the bowstring without an arrow, there’s no resistance to absorb the energy stored in the limbs. This energy rebounds through the bow, impacting components like the limbs, cams, strings, and cables.

Impact: Dry firing can result in limb splintering, cam misalignment, string and cable breakage, and even damage to the riser. Such damage is often irreparable and can compromise the safety of the bow.

Prevention: The simplest way to prevent dry firing is to always ensure an arrow is properly nocked before drawing and releasing the bowstring. This practice is fundamental to bow safety.

2. Improper Bow Storage

Effect on Lifespan: Improper storage can lead to long-term issues, affecting the structural integrity and performance of your bow.

Why It Matters: Bows are designed to maintain their shape under tension. Storing them improperly can cause the limbs to warp or take on unwanted stresses, and improper contact with different things causes damage to any part of the bow.

Impact: Warped limbs can lead to accuracy problems, decreased power, and even safety concerns. String tension issues can also arise, causing further complications.

Prevention: Store your bow in a climate-controlled area, ideally in a bow case or on a specialized bow rack. You can also hang it on a wall. This protects it from physical damage and fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

storing compound bow properly

3. Exposure To Extreme Environments

Effect on Lifespan: Extreme environmental conditions can accelerate wear and tear on bow components.

Why It Matters: Extreme heat can cause materials to expand, while cold can make them brittle. High humidity can promote corrosion, and direct sunlight can cause fading and degradation.

Impact: Prolonged exposure to extreme conditions can weaken limbs, damage strings and cables, corrode metal parts, and reduce the bow’s overall lifespan.

Prevention: Store your bow in a controlled environment, shield it from direct sunlight, and use protective measures like limb covers to minimize exposure to extreme conditions.

4. Improper Accessories and Arrows

Effect on Lifespan: Using the wrong accessories or arrows can lead to performance problems and damage.

Why It Matters: Accessories that don’t match your bow’s specifications can exert excessive stress on components like the cams and strings. Incorrectly matched arrows may not flex correctly, and would not be able to take enough energy. An underweight arrow is the same as dry firing the bow.

Impact: Using incompatible equipment can cause premature wear and tear on your bow, leading to the need for repairs or replacements.

Prevention: Look for accessories that are made to fit your bow and arrows that match your draw weight. Ensure you’re using compatible accessories and arrows that complement your bow’s design and power.

5. Lack of Maintenance

Effect on Lifespan: Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to the gradual deterioration of your bow’s performance and safety.

Why It Matters: Components like strings, cables, and cams naturally wear out over time with regular use. Lack of maintenance can accelerate this process.

Impact: Failure to maintain your bow can result in decreased accuracy, inconsistent performance, and even the risk of accidents due to unnoticed issues.

Prevention: Regularly inspect your bow for signs of wear, wax the strings, check for loose parts, and ensure proper alignment. Address any issues promptly to extend the bow’s lifespan and maintain its safety and performance.

How to Make Your Compound Bow Last Longer

We can take some basic steps to keep our bow in top notch condition for years.

1. Regular Service for Strings and Cables

Regular Inspection: Frequently inspect your bow’s strings and cables for signs of wear, fraying, or damage. This includes checking the serving (the tightly wound thread) and the string material itself.

Waxing: Apply bowstring wax to the strings and cables as recommended by the manufacturer. This helps to maintain their integrity, reduce friction, and prolong their lifespan.

Replace When Necessary: Don’t delay in replacing worn-out strings and cables. String failure can be dangerous and result in damage to your bow. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacement intervals, which are typically every 1 to 2 years, depending on usage.

2. Properly Clean and Store The Bow

Keep It Clean: After shooting, wipe down your bow with a clean, dry cloth to remove dirt, sweat, and debris. Pay special attention to the cams and limbs.

Avoid Excessive Moisture: Store your bow in a dry location to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to rust and corrosion of metal components.

Protect It: Use a bow case or rack designed for bow storage to shield your bow from physical damage and environmental factors.

Limb Covers: Consider limb covers when storing your bow for extended periods to prevent the limbs from taking on unnecessary stresses.

3. Regularly Check the Bow For Damage

Professional Inspection: Schedule periodic checkups with an experienced archery technician or professional. They can assess the condition of your bow, including limb alignment, cam synchronization, and overall functionality.

Adjustments: Over time, your bow may require adjustments, you should make necessary changes, such as tuning or aligning the bow, to ensure it functions at its best.

Safety First: Regular checkups not only extend the lifespan of your bow but also ensure its safety. Identifying and addressing potential issues early can prevent accidents and costly repairs down the road.

Do Compound Bows Lose Power After a While?

It is not common for compound bows to lose power after a while. Aging should not be considered a solid cause of power loss for compound bows. Compound bows are made of durable materials and it’s not really possible for the cams and limbs to deform after a while.

If your bow has lost some power, inspect your bowstring for fraying or damage. It might need a replacement due to which the full energy couldn’t be translated to the arrow. If this is not the cause, then in the worst-case scenario, the limbs might be damaged or loosened.

Don’t be worried that your old bow has lost power. Properly maintain it and check the bolts for tightness after a few while. Also mostly all power comes down to the bowstring, so it might be a good place to start an investigation.

After How Much Time Should You Replace A Compound Bow?

The question of when to replace a compound bow isn’t solely about time; it’s more about the bow’s condition and your personal needs as an archer. You should consider replacing your compound bow when one or more of the following conditions are met:

Significant Wear and Tear: If your bow shows noticeable signs of unrepairable wear and tear, such as limb splintering, or damage to critical components like cams, it’s time to consider a replacement. You can still repair and use the bow if repair costs less than a new bow. Continuing to use a damaged bow can compromise your safety and accuracy.

Performance Decline: When you find that your bow’s performance has noticeably declined, and you’ve tried all reasonable adjustments and tuning without improvement, it might be time for an upgrade. A new bow with the latest technology can offer better speed, accuracy, and comfort.

Changing Needs: As your archery skills evolve or your goals change, you might require a different bow. Upgrading to a more specialized or adjustable bow can enhance your shooting experience and help you reach new levels of proficiency.

Long-Lasting Compound Bows on the Market

When it comes to long-lasting compound bows, durability and performance are paramount. Here are three outstanding models that have earned a reputation for their longevity and reliability.

Elite Ritual 35:

The Elite Ritual 35 is known for its robust construction and exceptional craftsmanship. It’s engineered with quality materials that stand the test of time, ensuring consistent performance over years of use. With regular maintenance, this bow can serve you well for a long time.

Bear Legend XR

Bear Archery has a history of producing durable bows, and the Legend XR is no exception. Built to endure countless shots, it boasts a rugged design that can withstand the rigors of hunting and target shooting. Its longevity is a testament to Bear’s commitment to quality.


PSE’s Drive NXT is designed for versatility and longevity. Its durable construction and adjustable features make it an excellent choice for archers of all levels. With proper care and occasional upgrades, this bow can remain a trusted companion for years.


In the end, I would just suggest you focus on your primary target with the bow along with proper care. The bow would possibly run longer than you would want it to if you followed the steps I have told you. Try to arrange some sessions of your bow with a professional for regular checkups so you are aware of the condition of your bow. Store the bow properly after use.

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