Properly using bullwhips can help the whip last longer and be effective. The manner in which the whip is held can also affect its longevity. If the whip is held so that it bends excessively, it will not survive. Testing a portion of the bullwhip before usage can help determine if the whip is fit for use. For example, the poppers of the whip may be smacked on a surface to test for strength. Gently pulling or tugging at the popper strands can also reveal how strong the strands are and how effective the whip will be. If the strands break off, the whip is in poor shape and needs immediate attention such as a dressing for the leather or a complete replacement of the fall and crackers.
Careful observation of the whip can also determine if the fall and crackers need to be replaced. Do not use bullwhips against sharp, abrasive or very hard surfaces such as concrete and cement because this can cut the whip. As whips are continuously used on such unfavorable surfaces, they lose durability and value. The damage is also quite visible as the strands break off and the thong braid loosens. Also leaving the whip where it can be chewed up by pets or used as a toy by kids will not be beneficial to the life of the whip.
As a result of bullwhips being able to generate loud sounds and create quite an impact, it can be tempting to apply excessive force when using the whip. This can adversely affect the whip causing it to fray or disintegrate. Appropriate force will still allow the whip to respond and be used properly. When holding bullwhips for usage, the actual handle of the bullwhip should be avoided. Holding the handle may be acceptable for other types of whips. For bullwhips, the user should hold the knot and then exert the whipping force on the whip to enable it respond.
Good usage, care and maintenance of bullwhips will keep the whips effective and strong, providing the user with many years of service.