Chainsaw Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide

chainsaw maintenancePart of owning a chainsaw is maintenance. If you don’t know how to do proper chainsaw maintenance, your tool will not last very long. Today we are going to look at all the important steps in maintaining your chainsaw. If you follow these rules, your chainsaw will work at maximum performance for much longer.

However, if you do not follow these rules and leave your chainsaw to wither and rust, you will notice a gradual decline in performance, followed by the total failure of the machine. It is important to remember that even though a chainsaw is a very tough tool, it is still a tool. Keeping it lubricated, filled with the proper gas, clean, and sharp will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

The best way to think about this is that your chainsaw is a machine just like your car is a machine. What happens if you fill your car’s gas tank with water, never get an oil change, never go to the car wash, and never care for it? The same thing that happens if you do this with a chainsaw – inevitable failure!

Keep Your Chainsaw Clean

The absolute most important part of chainsaw maintenance is keeping your machine clean. And I am not just talking about scrubbing your chainsaw with soap and water. I mean cleaning the tree sap, the splotches of oil, the debris, the layers of sawdust – it all needs to be cleaned constantly.

And by constantly, I mean after every use. The moment you start chopping wood, junks start getting all over your machine, and in it too. The cutters on your chain, also known as the teeth, get filled with little chunks of wood, and even the internals of your machine can get coated in dust.

While you do not need to fully clean your chainsaw after every use, you should at least make sure it isn’t filthy. If there is gunk all over the chainsaw, and you know that some of it got inside the machine, that is the point where you should stop and take 10 minutes to maintain your chainsaw.

Cleaning Your Chainsaw Chain

When you are cleaning the chain, I highly suggest removing it first. There is nothing worse than trying to clean the compacted wood from inside the chain’s teeth, only to accidentally start the chainsaw and… well, you get the rest.

Once you have taken the chain off the bar, try soaking it in a nice mix of ammonia and water for about 30 minutes. That will get the grime and dirt loose enough to scrub off with a soft brush. Within two minutes of scrubbing, you will have a brand-new chainsaw chain. Soak the bar too and give that a scrub, just so everything is clean and looks great.

Check the Carburetor & Air Filter

chainsaw air filterEvery once in a while, check your carburetor. Check to see if there is any residue clogging the inside of it. The reason for this is because any excess residue that is clogged inside your carburetor can block the flow of fuel to your engine. This means you will have a very hard time starting your chainsaw.

This part is really easy to clean. All you need is to spray compressed air out of an air hose straight onto the carburetor. Then you can remove the needle valves, the diaphragm, and the cover plate and soak them in the same ammonia and water cleaning mixture that you already used on the chain and bar.

If you are feeling up to it, go on and clean the air filter with soap and water. Obviously, replacing the air filter every now and again is important, but if you don’t have an air filter handy, you can always just clean it with soap and water. By the time you are finished this entire process, your chainsaw is going to look fresh and sparkly again.

Sharpen Your Chainsaw’s Chain

sharpen chainThis is important for keeping your chainsaw functioning properly. If you want to keep cutting wood with the same precision you were when you first bought the chainsaw, you need to keep the chain in excellent condition. If the chain is not sharp, it will not cut wood.

You can tell if your chain is getting dull in a few different ways. If you are seeing a lot of smoke coming from the bar and chain, if there is an abnormal amount of sawdust being blown back at you, or if it feels like you are getting too much kickback, chances are the chain cutters are too blunt.

Also, if you find yourself having to put physical force down on the chainsaw just to make the cut, it means your chain needs to be sharpened. You can do this yourself by clamping your chainsaw in a vice and using a file to slowly sharpen each tooth, or you can send it to your local hardware store.

Keep Your Chainsaw Lubricated

Lubrication is super important. If your chainsaw is not oiled properly, your chain will get stubborn. It won’t turn as quickly as it should and the entire piece of equipment could overheat. It all comes down to friction, and you don’t want any friction between your chain and the bar.

Many modern chainsaws come with an automatic lubrication system, and this will keep your chain perfectly lubricated while you are cutting. If there is no automatic lube system, you can do it yourself by adding a touch of oil every now and again during usage.

Use the Proper Fuel

proper fuelUsing the proper fuel in a chainsaw is just as important as using the proper gasoline in a car. Always check the manual to see exactly what type of fuel you are supposed to be using in the chainsaw. Also, you want to use fresh fuel. Don’t use fuel that is too old, and don’t use the leftover fuel in your chainsaw from last summer.

Any fuel that has been sitting for too long is almost certainly no longer good for use. You can get unwanted residue in your carburetor and other nasty side effects – many of which you won’t notice right away. But in time, improper fuel can slowly destroy your engine.

Randy Peterson Cutter Life

Randy Peterson

Randy is a chainsaw enthusiast and an experienced lumberjack. He'll most likely be found cutting, chopping, and trimming trees, usually working with a wide variety of tools. Randy likes the outdoors and socializing with friends.