Table of Contents
- Chainsaw Maintenance Checklists
- Tools to Help You Conduct Regular Chainsaw Maintenance
- Why You Should Have a Regular Maintenance Schedule for Your Saw
- Prevent Excessive Wear by Completing Regular Chainsaw Maintenance
You can keep your chainsaw working correctly with a simple maintenance plan. Chainsaws are an important tool in your collection and make yard projects a breeze. From cutting small branches to taking down large trees, the right chainsaw can make all the difference.
You need to keep your gas-powered chainsaw in top shape to get the most out of it. It extends the life of your chainsaw and helps keep you safe. This guide can help you stay safe and maintain your chainsaw for years to come.
Chainsaw Maintenance Checklists
Maintaining your chainsaw doesn’t have to be complicated. Many people don’t know what they need to do, but with this chainsaw maintenance and repair checklist, you can make sure that you follow the steps. When you do, you can extend the life of your chainsaw by years. A properly maintained chainsaw will work better and be safer to use.
To take care of your chainsaw, simply follow these chainsaw maintenance tips as part of your chainsaw maintenance checklist:
A lot of homeowners use their chainsaws sporadically and not very often. This means it may sit on the shelf for a long time with gasoline sitting in the gas tank. As gas ages, it begins to break down. It can break down in as few as 30 days. Leaving gasoline in a chainsaw can clog the fuel filter and make it difficult to start your tool.
This creates varnish and gums that may plug the carburetor and even lead to difficult starts. The chainsaw itself may run roughly with old gas. If you have ever used a chainsaw with old gas, you are likely familiar with the feeling. To avoid this, mix only enough gas to last for 30 days or the amount you will use it. Try to leave the tank empty or mostly empty when you are done with the job.
Another option to extending the life of your gasoline is by adding a fuel additive such as a fuel stabilizer. A fuel stabilizer helps keep fuel fresh for up to two years to help prevent the problems old gas causes in your chainsaw. This is a great option when you have mixed more gas than you need or like to have your chainsaw fully fueled for regular use. By avoiding old gasoline, you can keep your chainsaw running smoothly and efficiently.
- Keeps fuel fresh for up to 24 months during storage
- Eliminates the need to drain fuel prior to storage
- Ensures quick, easy starts after storage
- Prevents gum and varnish build-up
- Effective in all gasoline, including Ethanol blends
Clean the Oil Tank and Carburetor
The oil tank and carburetor are both important parts of your gas-powered chainsaw. Let’s start first with the oil tank. The oil tank stores the chainsaw bar and chain oil. It maintains the chain oil level necessary to run your chainsaw. It is fitted with a valve that lets air draw inwards as the oil is pumped out onto the chain and chain bar. This ensures that oil makes it to where it needs to go when using the chainsaw.
This can prevent:
- The chain locking up in the middle of a cut
- Smoking or grinding of the chain
- Problems with the chain brakes
- Leaks from the oil tank
Cleaning the oil tank prevents these common problems and can prolong the life of your chainsaw. It is an important step in chainsaw bar maintenance you should follow to protect your chainsaw.
You also need to clean your carburetor. This device mixes the air and fuel that powers your tool. This mixture of air and fuel is called the “charge” when it is combusted in the combustion chamber. The carburetor can get dirty because of dirt and soot from the combustion process. It can also get dirty from the sawdust and other materials you encounter when cutting.
A dirty carburetor makes it hard to get proper combustion. This results in slower chain speeds and less efficiency, leading to drastically lower cutting power for your chainsaw. You can clean the carburetor by cleaning the air filter and the carburetor’s intake components. Making sure you keep this area clean will increase the power you have and maintain your chainsaw for the long term.
Change the Air Filter Regularly
The air filter is another important component of your chainsaw. The air filter is the first line of defense to prevent your engine from collecting dirt and sawdust, which can plug up the carburetor and make it hard to run your chainsaw. Contaminants from outside should be filtered out, but this doesn’t happen if your air filter stays damaged or dirty.
Regular cleaning is a must to keep your chainsaw running smoothly. A clogged air filter will prevent the required amount of air from getting to your carburetor’s air intake. This will result in sluggishness and low fuel efficiency.
You can usually tell if the air filter is dirty by simply looking at it. If it looks dirty, it is time to change it. An air filter is a relatively inexpensive way to make sure your chainsaw is running correctly and will maintain its life for the long haul.
If you have a metallic air filter, you can clean it by using a liquid cleaning agent. The filter is reusable so long as it is still in good condition once it is cleaned. If it is damaged you should replace it instead. Many chainsaws use paper or other material for a filter that will disintegrate if cleaned. It is best to simply replace the dirty air filter with a new one.
You should make a regular habit of changing or cleaning your air filter. This is an important first step in how your internal combustion engine works to power your chainsaw. It can make the tool sluggish and even dangerous when it is not working properly.
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Adjust Your Chain Tension
Chain tension is often misunderstood and many homeowners do not effectively maintain the correct tension. Whether you are doing a home remodel, pruning some tree branches, or taking down a whole tree, you need the right chain tension. If a chain is too tight it can bind up the saw and even cause it to stall. For non-roller-tip bars, an over-tightened chain can even overheat.
A chain that is too loose can slip off of the guide bar. This is not only frustrating because you have to put it back on, but it can also be dangerous. A slipped chain can kick back and cause severe lacerations to your skin. While a chain catcher can help, a slipped chain may still cause a hospital trip. You can easily avoid this possibility with the right chain tension.
When adjusting chain tension, follow the recommendations of your saw’s manufacturer. Each tool handles it a bit differently and many use special components to make adjusting the chain very easy.
Here’s what you should look for to make sure your chain is properly adjusted:
- The chain should hold itself up against the bottom of the guide bar without sagging
- If you tug on the chain and it doesn’t separate easily from the bar, it is too tight
- Identify the adjustment screw or other device that lets you change the chain tension
- Use the right tool to adjust the chain tension as recommended by the manufacturer
Novice chainsaw users often overlook this critical aspect of chainsaw maintenance. Always make sure your chain tension is correct before starting each job. Chains can loosen or tighten over time or after a day’s work. Add this to your regular chainsaw use and maintenance routine to protect yourself and your chainsaw.
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Replace the Sprocket
Chainsaws use two different types of sprockets to turn and engage the chain. These are the spur/star sprockets and the rim sprockets. A sprocket is a piece underneath the clutch that drives the chain. If it wears down, you will see a big decrease in your chainsaw’s performance. A worn sprocket can even mean the chain will not spin at all. More dangerously, the chain may slip and cause you injury.
Replacing a sprocket should occur when you notice significant wear and tear to the part. If you are having issues with the chain spinning, but all other parts of the chainsaw seem intact, it could be one or multiple of your sprockets. Inspect the sprockets on a regular basis to determine if they are worn and the cause of your problems.
Replacing a sprocket is something you can do yourself or with the help of a professional repair person. Most models have an explanation of how you can change this part, or you can consult one of the many helpful videos online to make this a part of your regular maintenance routine.
Prevent Dull Chains by Sharpening
If you have ever used a dull chain to cut you know how difficult it is. It makes it feel impossible to make cuts you know should be easy. The chainsaw seems to crawl through the wood instead of cut. A dull blade can make each job take longer and can even lead to serious injuries. A sharp chainsaw creates the highest functionality and keeps you the safest.
Many home use chainsaw owners prefer to have a professional sharpen the blades for them. It is easier than buying the right tools and dealing with the specifics of how to sharpen a chain. This can especially be true if you are using specialty chains like diamond chainsaw blades used for cutting stone or concrete. Using a professional takes the guesswork out of it and is still very affordable.
If, instead, you like to perform maintenance yourself, just make sure you do it regularly and correctly. Some important tips if you want to sharpen your chainsaw blades yourself include:
- Use the Correct File Size: Using the right file size is key to sharpening your chainsaw blades correctly. The owner’s manual for your machine or the box the blade came in should contain the information you need. Using the wrong file size can reduce the effectiveness of sharpening your chain or even damage it.
- File the Blades at the Correct Angle: A good file guide like the Stihl 2 in 1 Filing Guide makes it easy to sharpen cutters and get the correct angle on your blades. This type of product makes sure you hold the guide correctly and create the correct angle on your blades.
- Use the Same Number of Strokes for Each Tooth: Consistency is key when sharpening chainsaw blades. You want to make sure each tooth gets the same number of strokes. This is usually between three to six strokes per tooth.
- Use Caution With Depth Gauges: If you file depth gauges too much, the saw can bite too deeply into the tree you are cutting. This can cause the chainsaw to stall or pull you off balance. A proper guide can help ensure you sharpen the depth gauges correctly.
Make sure you know what you are doing before you sharpen a blade. The process can be dangerous if you do it incorrectly. If you’re not sure you want to do this yourself, there are professionals who will do it for you for an affordable price.
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Tools to Help You Conduct Regular Chainsaw Maintenance
There are many different tools that can help you keep your chainsaw in top shape. Having these in your arsenal makes it easy to maintain your chainsaw for many years and will help you stay safe when using your chainsaw. An improperly maintained chainsaw can cause significant damage to itself and you if something goes wrong.
Electric Chain Sharpener
An electric chain sharpener makes it easy to sharpen your saw chains. A built-in vice can adjust to different chain designs and pitches so that you have a precise and accurate angle of cut each time. Many of these tools use chain rotation rollers that move the links forward but while the vice maintains its position.
Chainsaws are all but useless when they’re dull. Using a manual sharpener is often difficult and time-consuming. An electric chain sharpener lets you do the work yourself but with the accuracy of a professional.
Chain sharpeners range from handheld devices to bench devices. They can also range in price from thirty dollars to a few hundred dollars. The model you need will depend on how often you sharpen your blades and the product you most enjoy using.
Two-stroke oils are lighter and encourage better consumption than 4-stroke oils do. They are an important part of making your chainsaw run smoothly and correctly. Choosing the right oil for your chainsaw can seem tough if you don’t know what you are looking for. A few factors can help you pick the right two-stroke oil for your chainsaw, such as:
- Type of Oil: There are three primary types of engine oils: mineral, semi-synthetic, and synthetic. Each can be useful, but fully synthetic oils are formulated at the molecular level for optimal performance. Consider your working conditions and the recommendation of your chainsaw’s manufacturer when selecting the oil.
- Odor and Smoke: If an oil gives off a lot of smoke or odor, it is probably low quality. It is often best to choose an oil with additives that prevent smoke and the damage it can cause to your chainsaw (not to mention your lungs).
- Cleaning Performance: Two-stroke oil should help clean the components of your chainsaw as well. Oil with additives and detergents can clean carbon deposits and even prevent oil sludge.
- Compatibility: Pick an oil that works with your engine. You can buy a universally compatible oil or something that is recommended by your chainsaw’s user manual.
- Mix Oil Properly: When mixing the two-stroke oil with gasoline, do so according to the directions for your chainsaw. The proper ratio is very important. Do not guess but measure the amounts carefully. The wrong combination can damage your chainsaw or even lead to injuries.
An air compressor is a very helpful tool for many different projects. You can also use it to easily and effectively clean your chainsaw. Chainsaws get dirty very quickly, and it can be annoying and difficult to try to wipe off the chainsaw or get into all the nooks and crannies with a rag.
An air compressor uses forced air at high velocity to clear debris from your chainsaw. You can blow air across the blades, in the engine, and in other hard-to-reach places. This can clean up dirt, sawdust, and other debris that can inhibit the proper function of your chainsaw. An air compressor is a great investment for chainsaw maintenance and countless other projects as well.
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Spare Spark Plug
Having a spare spark plug on hand is a smart move. Spark plugs eventually stop working well or at all. This could happen in the middle of an important job. It could also happen when you’re a good distance away from your local hardware store to buy a new one.
Instead of this frustrating situation, you can easily keep a spare spark plug on hand. Make sure your replacement spark plug is compatible with your chainsaw. Also, importantly, make sure you have it with you on the job. Too many people buy a spare but leave it at home where they have to travel a long distance to get it, defeating the purpose of having a spare ready to go.
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A fuel stabilizer is a great product to extend the life of your chainsaw’s gasoline mixture. As mentioned above, gasoline can begin to break down as early as thirty days after it is put in the tank or your gas can. When it breaks down, it makes the fuel less efficient and can gum up your chainsaw’s components. This will make it dirty and ineffective.
A quality fuel stabilizer chemically slows the oxidation process. The stabilizer bonds with the gasoline to prevent evaporation and the separation of water molecules within the fuel. This prevents sticky residues and gunk that can cling to your chainsaw’s carburetor.
You should use a fuel stabilizer in your mixed gasoline can and in the chainsaw itself if you leave fuel in the tank. While it is best to change the fuel out of the tank after each job, a stabilizer is another option to prevent common problems associated with old fuel.
An effective cleaning solution helps you clean your chainsaw quickly and effectively. The solution helps break through the oil, sawdust, and dirt to keep your tool running efficiently and cleanly. There are many solutions that people use to clean their chainsaws, including, but not limited to:
- Commercial cleaning solutions that are available for purchase
- A mixture of household ammonia and water (one gallon of water to one cup of ammonia)
- WD40 spray
- Turpentine or mineral oil
Different solvents may be more useful than others are, depending on what is making your chainsaw dirty. Pick the right solution for the job to keep your chainsaw clean.
- DRIVES OUT MOISTURE: Drives out moisture and quickly dries out electrical systems to eliminate moisture-induced short circuits
- CORROSION INHIBITOR: Acts as a corrosion inhibitor to shield against moisture and other corrosive elements to prevent rust
- FREES AND LOOSENS STICKY PARTS: Frees sticky mechanisms, loosens rust-to-metal bonds and helps release stuck, frozen or rusted metal parts
- REMOVES: Removes grease, grime, gunk, gum, tar, sap, super glue, sticker residue, and other sticky stuff from multiple surfaces
- LUBRICATES: Lubricates moving parts such as hinges, wheels, pulleys, rollers, chains, and gears
Why You Should Have a Regular Maintenance Schedule for Your Saw
You’re a busy person with a lot of things on your plate. After working with your chainsaw, it is often tempting to put it away and forget about it until you need it again. A regular maintenance schedule for your chainsaw helps ensure you will take the necessary steps to keep it clean and ready.
A regular schedule ensures you won’t forget to maintain your chainsaw the way you should. When you do regular maintenance on your saw, you:
- See improved performance from your chainsaw
- Extend the life of your chainsaw
- Prevent possible injuries and damage to your chainsaw
- Make cuts more easily and quickly
- Save money from expensive repairs or the need to buy a new chainsaw
Prevent Excessive Wear by Completing Regular Chainsaw Maintenance
Regular chainsaw maintenance is so important. A dirty chainsaw will wear down quickly and can underperform its capacity. You will see excessive wear on the chain, the motor, and every other component when a chainsaw is left in a dirty condition.
A regular maintenance schedule makes it easy to keep your chainsaw in top shape without a lot of work. Doing a little work now prevents a lot of work (or expense) later on. Chainsaw Selector is here to help you find the right chainsaw and cleaning tips to keep it in top shape for years to come. We want to help you pick the right products and care for your chainsaw the right way.