Chainsaw Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of your chainsaw is essential if you want to keep it running trouble-free and safely, whether you a professional operator or simply use one of these wood-cutting power tools in your garden.

Regular checks to keep your chainsaw in prime operational condition will ensure it serves you faithfully for years - following the advice below will prove a wise investment of your time.

Chain Sharpening

Chain sharpening is crucial if your chain has become dulled and is no longer grabbing the wood and pulling itself through the cut the way it should.

A blunt chain will be throwing out sawdust instead of decent-sized wood chips. Sharpening with a manual or electric chainsaw sharpener will get the device cutting quicker, more easily and more efficiently again - plus it will also minimise the risk of an accident.

You'll find plenty of advice on this site about how to use a chainsaw sharpener, whether it’s a manual or electric tool.

Fuel System

Check your fuel regularly to ensure it is always free of moisture and other contaminates. Chainsaws use a mix of two-stroke oil and petrol, unless, of course, you own an electric tool. The exact ratio for the mixture will depend on the model of chainsaw you are using - make sure you read the instruction manual that came with your chainsaw to ensure you get the correct mixture. 

The fuel filter can become clogged on a chainsaw if you've been using it a lot. This results in a decrease in the flow of fuel going to the chainsaw. To avoid this problem, make sure you clean the fuel filter regularly and change it when required.

Chain Tension

In addition to keeping your chain sharp, there are other factors that need to be checked to make sure your chainsaw is running safely and to optimum potential. If the chain is too tight or too loose it will cause problems - so you should check it regularly and set it to the correct tension.  

When the saw is off and the chain brake is released you should be able to manually feed the chain through the device. It's also worth checking the chainsaw bar retaining nuts frequently to unsure they don't work themselves loose due to the vibration.

You should inspect your chainsaw before each use and look for any bent teeth, or bends and crimps in the bar. The chain flows easily around the bar at all times.

It's also important to check the bar and chain oil level regularly. There is no warning light when the oil is getting low, and this can occur much more quickly than you might expect, especially if you've been doing a lot of cutting. If you see smoke coming from your chainsaw you must check the oil levels immediately.

Clean the Air Filter

Chainsaws are almost always used in dusty environments - the very job they do means there will be plenty dust and debris flying around. This makes it essential to clean the air filter after every use. Before accessing the air filter, thoroughly clean the outside of the chainsaw and take it to an area which is away from sawdust or other materials that could get inside the carburetor. 

When you have removed the filter you should clean it with an air compressor or by following the instructions in the manual that came with your chainsaw. During periods of heavy use it is advisable to replace the air filter once a week.

Engine Care

A good quality chainsaw should operate trouble-free most of the time. However, there is always the potential for engine problems to arise, especially if you put your device through its paces on a regular basis. Unless you have expert engine maintenance skills, it’s always best to take your chainsaw to a professional technician if you suspect there is an engine problem. A pro will have the right precision tools, parts and expertise to get your chainsaw back in good working condition again.

Storage out of Season

If you store your chainsaw away for more than a month you need to take a series of precautions to ensure you don't cause it damage or its overall condition to deteriorate. 

You should drain all fuel from the tank and then drain all fuel from the line and carburetor by starting the saw and running it until it stops. Next you should drain all oil from the chainsaw and remove the bar and chain. 

The chain should be submerged in oil in an airtight container. You should also apply a light coating of oil to the bar and wrap it in paper. Next you should clean the exterior and interior of the chainsaw. 

Finally you should remove the spark plug and apply a rust inhibitor into the combustion chamber, before replacing spark plug and pulling the starter rope slowly several times to distribute the inhibitor over the cylinder.

Your chain saw must be stored in a completely dry place which is well ventilated. Keeping it outdoors, even in a covered area, is not advisable.

If you follow these guidelines your chainsaw will prove very reliable and you shouldn't have issue with it failing to run when you when you take it out of storage again.