10 Tips on Maintaining a Chainsaw

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10 Tips on Maintaining a Chainsaw

A chainsaw can be an asset to homeowners who have a yard to maintain. The uses of a chainsaw can include trimming tree branches, cutting back overgrowth, removing an unwanted sapling, and cutting wood for a fire pit. Homeowners with heavily wooded lots can find many more reasons to keep a chainsaw in the toolshed. Chainsaws do require a certain amount of maintenance to keep them operating in peak condition. Failure to properly maintain a chainsaw can lead to premature failure.

Chainsaws and chainsaw maintenance materials can be purchased at home improvement stores, hardware stores, and some department stores that sell lawn maintenance equipment. eBay has a large selection of chainsaws, chainsaw parts, small motor maintenance items, and other deals on tools with competitive prices.

Tips for Chainsaw Usage

Part of the job of maintaining a chainsaw involves how the chainsaw is used. There are some things chainsaw users should avoid doing. Also, some items need to be checked periodically during chainsaw usage.

1. Never Run the Chain of a Chainsaw into the Dirt

Dirt and sand are chainsaw killers. Users should be careful to avoid running a moving chain into the ground. If cutting a small sapling off at its base, dig around the bottom of the tree so that the trunk can be cut at or below ground level without contacting the dirt with the chainsaw bar. When cutting tree limbs, make sure the limb is supported off the ground on either side of the cut so that the chain does not dip into the ground when completing the cut.

2. Don’t Cut Limbs Bigger Than What the Chainsaw is Designed For

Chainsaws are designed for specific jobs, depending on the length of the bar and the horsepower of the motor. Trying to cut limbs that are too large can potentially damage the saw. Consult the owner’s manual for the specifications regarding the cutting size restrictions of the saw.

3. Be Careful Not to Bind the Chain Bar While Performing a Cut

Before making a cut with the chainsaw, determine how the wood being cut is going to move when it begins to split. When cutting a limb, it may be necessary to notch the bottom of the limb before proceeding with a cut from the top of the limb down. It the piece of wood being split collapses back into the space already cut by the saw, it is possible to trap and bind the bar of the saw. Not only is a trapped bar a potential safety hazard, but the bar of the saw can be bent or damaged, necessitating the replacement of the chainsaw bar.

4. Check Chain Tension Periodically

A loose chain can damage the chainsaw bar or sprocket, and loose chains often jump off the bar during chainsaw use. A loose chain is a potential safety hazard as well. Check the chain tension before returning the saw to its case for storage. Tighten the chain according to the specifications in the owner’s manual. If using the saw for a large project that involves dozens of cuts, shut the chainsaw off periodically to check the chain and other key components.

5. Keep the Chain Properly Lubricated

Chainsaws have a reservoir for chain oil that keeps the chain lubricated as it circles the bar. Check the chain oil level before every use of the saw. When employing the chainsaw over an extended period of time, it is necessary to stop the saw and periodically check the chain oil level.

6. Use the Proper Oil-to-Petrol Mixture

Chainsaws run on a combination of petrol and two-cycle oil. Different manufacturers use different specifications, depending on the design of the chainsaw engine. A 40-to-1 mixture of petrol-to-two-cycle oil is a common ratio, but be sure to check the specifications for the particular saw being used before filling the fuel tank.

Tips for Periodic Chainsaw Maintenance

All chainsaws require some type of periodic maintenance to keep them operating properly. Failure to perform this basic maintenance can result in premature failure of the chainsaw.

7. Keep the Chainsaw Clean

After using the chainsaw, brush off the saw’s exterior case of any sawdust that accumulated during use. Take an oily cloth, and wipe down the case and bar to make sure all the sawdust and dirt particles are removed from the chainsaw. Take care when cleaning the bar to not injure a finger on the cutting edges of the chain.

8. Check for Loose Components

Chainsaws create a significant amount of vibration when being used. Make sure attachments have not vibrated loose during a cutting project. Pay particular attention to the chain break bar in front of the top handle on the saw. The chain break needs to be properly attached to protect the user during operation of the saw.

9. Replace the Chain at Least Once a Year

Running a chainsaw with a worn-out chain places undue burden on the engine. A dull chain does not cut as well and can overheat the chain, bar, and engine, causing damage to the saw. Having a replacement chain on hand allows for one chain to be sharpened while the other chain is in use.

10. Prep the Chainsaw for Long-Term Storage

If the chainsaw is not going to be used for an extended period of time, such as over the winter months, it should be prepped before storage. Specifically, the fuel tank should be drained of the unused petrol and oil mixture. Drain the mixture into a safe container for proper disposal; start the saw’s engine and run out the fuel unable to be drained and the amount remaining in the fuel lines. When the saw stalls, it is ready to be stored. Allowing petrol and oil to sit in the fuel tank can gum up the fuel delivery system of the saw and necessitate repair prior to the chainsaw being used after a long period of storage.

Essential Chainsaw Maintenance Items

Keeping a few items readily available to perform maintenance on a chainsaw is likely to keep the saw in good working condition. The following chart can be used as a quick reference for chainsaw owners to be certain they are equipped to work on their chainsaws.

Maintenance Item


Chain Oil

Lubricating the chain and bar

Wrenches and Screwdrivers

Tightening the chain

Two-Cycle Oil

Mixed with petrol to internally lubricate the engine

Dust Brush

Cleaning the chainsaw, a large paint brush works well for the task

Oily Cloth

Wiping down the chainsaw case and bar after usage to remove any remaining sawdust and dirt

Replacement Chain

When chain dulls and cuts poorly, replace the chain

Storage Case

Protect the saw during storage, usually included with a new saw purchase

If a chainsaw was purchased used, it may not have come with a storage case. Storage cases are available both new and used for saws of common sizes. Two-cycle oil is used for many lawn maintenance tools; it may be necessary to have multiple jerry cans marked with the different petrol-to-oil ratios for the different pieces of equipment the homeowner has in the garage or toolshed.

Buying Chainsaws, Parts, and Maintenance Items on eBay

Whether it is a new chainsaw you need or just a bottle of chain oil, sellers on eBay are eager to earn your business with a good selection of chainsaws and components at competitive prices. Buyers can easily locate chainsaw equipment by entering a keyword such as "chainsaw" into any eBay search bar to see a complete listing of all related items offered for sale. Buyers looking to purchase a particular brand of chainsaw can enter specific keywords, such as "Stihl chainsaw", to see a listing of just the Stihl brand of saw. Do look in the eBay Deals section to find chainsaws listed at promotional prices.

An eBay shopper can purchase with confidence by reviewing the feedback of a specific seller he is interested in purchasing a chainsaw from. Previous buyers rate sellers on the manner in which the seller handled their transactions, and these reviews are posted for future buyers to read.


Chainsaws are handy tools to have in the storage shed, especially when homeowners have trees on a property. Chainsaws can trim branches, remove dead limbs, or take down unwanted trees. Chainsaws do require a certain amount of maintenance to keep them running properly, and chainsaw owners can benefit from understanding how to keep their saws performing like new. Understanding the potential pitfalls that can lead to damaging a chainsaw during use can help owners to avoid unintended problems with the saw. Performing basic tasks after each use of the saw can have the unit ready to go the next time the chainsaw is needed. Additionally, keeping a supply of necessary maintenance items on hand can help the chainsaw owner keep the saw running as designed and extend the life of the tool.

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