Maintaining Your Chainsaw

There are few things as useful as a good chainsaw. Whether you need to trim a tree in the backyard, or you’re cutting firewood for the winter, you’ll be counting on your chain saw to get the job done; and if you want to keep your chainsaw running at its peak and performing the you need it to, you’re going to have to commit to maintaining it. Keeping your chainsaw in tip-top shape, not only protects you but also promotes the tool’s longevity. Follow these guidelines:

The First thing you’re going to want to do is read the owner’s manual; it’s the only way to be certain you’re establishing the right maintenance routine. And although most of them are very similar, there are some important differences that exist between machines. So you’ll want to be sure to learn the best practices recommended by the manufacturer of your specific make and model.

  • Problems with chain saws are usually caused by a chain that has become either dull or improperly tensioned. If it seems like your chain saw is laboring, switch to a new chain. (Meanwhile, sharpen the old chain with a chain saw file or a rotary grinder; or you could always hire a pro.) Before each use of your chain saw, check the tension on the chain. If it’s correctly adjusted, the chain will fit snugly against the bar—but not so tightly that a gloved hand would be unable to move it around.
  • The chain should be clean and lubricated. Before each use, make sure the oil reservoir is full. And if wood chips and sawdust accumulate, stop and clean the chain before continuing.
  • Before each use, check and tighten all screws, bolts, and nuts. These components have a tendency to loosen on account of the tool’s vibration.
  • Inspect the chain brake mechanism for tightness and positioning in order to protect yourself from kickback during operation.
  • Clean or replace the air filter whenever it becomes clogged. Likewise, optimal performance depends on the air intake and cooling fins being free of dirt and debris.
  • Use the correct blend of oil and gas to power the engine. When fueling, make sure the fuel filler cap fits tightly and is neither cracked nor worn-down.
  • Clean or replace the fuel filter and spark plugs regularly, and whenever the engine is running roughly or misfiring, clean and adjust the carburetor.
  • If heavily worn, replace the hoses and/or the pull-start rope.
  • Remove the clutch cover and clean the chain brake band.
  • Check the idle speed and if necessary, make an adjustment. When a chain saw is idling, the chain should not move. If you notice it moving, turn down the idle speed so that the chain remains stationary.
  • If you are not going to be using the chain saw for several months, drain all fuel from the tank and exhaust that which remains in the lines or carburetor by running the saw until it stops. Remove the chain and store it in oil within a tightly covered container.

A chain saw is a valuable investment that can withstand years of punishing service. Following a set of simple maintenance steps will help to ensure that your tool continues to work properly and most importantly, safely.