Creative and Handcrafted

Patchwork, quilting, dressmaking, knitting and more …

Cleaning and Oiling the Bernina Aurora 440 QE February 18, 2011

I clean and oil my machine regularly for best performance, but I had trouble to find out from the photo in the manual as to where exactly my Bernina Aurora 440 QE needs to be oiled. So I went back to the shop from where I bought my Bernina and they were so kind to indicate how to clean and to oil the machine correctly. So here it goes:

  1. Turn the machine off and unplug it
  2. Unthread the machine and remove the bobbin case. To remove the top thread, cut the thread somewhere between the tension disks and the spool, raise the presser foot and then pull the thread through the machine. Pulling the thread backward through the tension disks is not recommended.
  3. Remove the presser foot and the needle
  4. Remove the stitch plate by pressing the stitch plate down at the back right corner (where the circles are), lift it and remove it
  5. Clean the area with a lint brush and take good care to remove all threads and lint that might have got caught under the feed dogs as well
  6. Once you have removed the lint, replace the stitch plate
  7. To clean the hook area, open the cover if it is not open yet and push the release lever to the left
  8. Let down the black hook race cover
  9. Remove the hook
  10. Clean the hook and the hook race from lint with a lint brush
  11. Replace the hook (you might have to turn your handwheel so that the hook driver is on the left)
  12. Close the hook race cover, making sure that the locking pin is engaged
  13. Check by turning the handwheel
  14. After cleaning the bobbin area, squeeze one drop of oil into the hook race. You can also apply a drop of oil on the outer border of your hook before inserting it. Where metal moves against metal, you should oil.
  15. I let my machine run for a few stitches to distribute the oil in the hook area and to prevent the oil soiling the fabric.
Remove the stitch plate

Remove the stitch plate

Remove the lint with a lint brush

Remove the lint with a lint brush

Push the release lever to the left

Push the release lever to the left

The hook can now be removed

The hook can now be removed

Clean the hook area with a lint brush

Clean the hook area with a lint brush

Apply a drop of oil the hook race

Apply a drop of oil to the hook race

Cleaning notification showing in the display

Cleaning notification showing in the display

That’s it. It is not as difficult as it sounds.

The Bernina will display a little oil can on the display when it needs to be cleaned and oiled (after 180,000 stitches approximately), but I have the habit to clean and oil my machine more frequently than that. After every project or a long day of sewing, I remove the lint and check for caught up threads and I usually also apply a drop of oil to the hook race. To clear the notification in your display, you need to to press the hash button (#) twice. The display can also be cleared temporarily by pressing the “clr” button. Once you restart your sewing machine, the notification with be displayed again. If you have cleared the notification with the “clr” button three times, the notification will only appear again after a further approximate 180,000 stitches.

The display of the Bernina Aurora 440 QE will show a service notification after approximately 2,000,000 stitches. It’s a little icon of two crossed tools. You should bring your machine to your Bernina technician for a check up, servicing and re-adjusting. The technician will reset the stitch count to “0″ again. The service notification can be cleared temporarily the same way as the cleaning notification described above, by pressing the “clr” button. After clearing the notification for the third time it will only re-appear after a further 2,000,000 stitches approximately.

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21 Responses to “Cleaning and Oiling the Bernina Aurora 440 QE”

  1. wildecrafted Says:

    Thank you, this is a very timely post for me, I need to clean & oil my Aurora 440QE so it’s handy to have your description & pictures to help me through it.

  2. Nelly Says:

    I am happy to hear the article was helpful to you. The hook area from the Bernina is so different than that of my old Singer, I really had to take a closer look!

  3. ann Says:

    I really freaked out when the oil can appeared on my display; much like the “idiot” lights on the dash of car. I was sewing late last night to meet a deadline for a quilt, left my manual at our winter home, so needless to say was relieved to find your post. The pictures were really helpful. Thanks!

  4. Nelly Says:

    Hi Ann,

    I am happy my blog post was helpful to you. I have the habit to clean my Bernina after each use and I oil it frequently. I don’t wait until the reminder appears in the display, so I simply clear the screen when the little oil can appears. The service notification will be more difficult to ignore though. A few days without my sewing machine … what a grim outlook.

    Happy sewing!

  5. June Says:

    Wonderful! I couldn’t find the instructions in any of my booklets with my machine on how to oil. I had taken the class & did as your instructions indicated, but the oil light was still on & driving me nuts! “Hit the clear button” did the trick for my dilema. Thanks so much.

  6. Nelly Says:

    Hi June,

    Thanks for your comment. I am glad my instructions have been helpful to you.

  7. Lyn Says:

    This was incredibly helpful when the little oil can came on, of course late at night and when we’re traveling with manuals left at home. You saved me a trip to a not-so-close-by Bernina dealer. Your pictures and details for oiling are outstanding. Thank you very much for taking the time to put this post together so thoroughly; it’s very much appreciated!

  8. This is a fantastic tutorial. The pictures make it SO clear. I live in Germany (but am an American) and taking my baby in for simple maintenance can take up to two weeks. I can’t thank you enough for showing me how to do this! YOU ROCK!!!

  9. Sylvia in las Vegas Says:

    Terrific blog. Thanks so much. Late at nite and so googled oil light on Bernina 440 and up popped this wonderful solution.

  10. Zorro Says:

    Fabulous entry! However, stranded here in the wilds of Amsterdam (and I don’t speak Dutch!) I find that after following all these instructions the machine will no longer sew properly. It catches every few stitches, and I see that the bobbin tension is WAY too lose. (I didn’t touch the tension adjustment either on the bobbin case or on the needle.) Any ideas on what I did wrong?

  11. Zorro Says:

    Figured it out! I had unthreaded part of the needle thread. :( All well now!

  12. Sus Nyrop Says:

    Your walkthrough is very useful and helps me understand what I did not so well myself. However, I find the trickiest part was how to get the whole lot back in place after oiling.
    Now I’m ready to sew button holes. And this is pullling my teeth as the programming worked well for a sample, now I struglle with un-programming it to make it another size. Hoping to find the little piece of advice that obviously slipped my attention. Do you have intentions to make more self made manuals?

  13. Nelly Says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. I am happy to see that my tutorial was helpful to others. I myself had to go to my local dealer to get some detailed explanations about how to put the bobbin case back together, because the manual doesn’t say. Given the fact that it is difficult to find the correct position to put the hook back in correctly, I was thinking of adding some more photos to this tutorial that make the operation clearer.

    @Sus Nyrop: Thank you for your comment. Yes, I have the intention to write more tutorials, but since some time I haven’t had enough time to spend sewing, hence no updates on my blog. I hope the situation changes soon, because I have some UFO’s I would like to finish and finally enjoy!

  14. Frances Camiller Says:

    I thoroughly concur with all the comments. Actually, I felt the instruction book issued with my Bernina 440 QE should have explained how/where to do the oiling job instead of just indicating that it needed doing!!!! Fortunately Bernina realises just how clever Bernina sewers really are. I really did appreciate the pictures and the reassurance I was doing the right thing.

  15. beth dalto Says:

    Thanks for the clear cut instructions on this.

  16. Gail Says:

    Thanks…anyone know how I can get a stuck thread out from behind the bobbin casing?

  17. Nancy Says:

    This is just what I was looking for. My “service” icon started flashing right in the middle of a quilting project and I don’t want to risk damaging my machine. My Bernina dealer of choice is almost 4 hours away and I don’t have time/gas to deal with taking it in right now, to say nothing of the time it will take to service it…usually a couple of weeks before they get to it. Hopefully, I will become my own service person. :-)

  18. brenda Says:

    Great blog! As with many other comments I was sewing a big project–the oil can appeared while finishing Christmas gifts. Knowing servicing my machine requires a scheduled appointment made several weeks/ months in advance I was relieved to know I could keep sewing. I too clean/oil after each project. So, no Christmas panic at my house!

  19. denise martindale Says:

    what kind of oil shoud I use? i seem to have misplaced the oil that came with the machine. can i use wahl hair clipper oil? or can you direct me to a web site that sells the appropriate oil?
    thank you

  20. Kathy Strawson Says:

    I was completely stumped when that oil can appeared on the screen. This tutorial has been very helpful. Thank you.

  21. Susan P Says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial!!


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