Chainsaw Maintenance Checklist, GUIDE, Tips, Kits & Consumables

Published Categorized as Chainsaw Maintenance

What should you do to keep your chainsaw in good working order? How should a chainsaw be maintained? A straightforward chainsaw maintenance schedule will keep your chainsaw operating properly.

Having a chainsaw in your toolbox is essential since it makes yard work simple. The appropriate chainsaw can be the difference between cutting little branches and felling big trees.

To get the most out of your gas-powered chainsaw, you must keep it in prime condition. It keeps you safe and increases the chainsaw’s lifespan. In this article, we’ll present a chainsaw maintenance checklist along with tips and tools that can help you keep your chainsaw running safely for many years.

Table of Contents

Husqvarna Chainsaws – Information, Manuals, Service Locations

What Is Chainsaw Maintenance?

Chainsaw maintenance is the process of extending the usable life of your mechanical outdoor power equipment and maintaining it in good working order. With the aid of a chainsaw maintenance checklist, DIYers, qualified loggers, tree workers, arborists, farmers, millers, and other forestry professionals can keep their tools in exceptional condition for many years.

Your chainsaw will function better if you perform routine chain saw maintenance on it, but it will also be safer, last longer, and cost you less money. You’ll just have to accept that chain saw maintenance will be a part of your life if you own a gas chainsaw.

Purchasing an electric chainsaw, ideally a battery-operated one, can help reduce the amount of necessary maintenance if you don’t want to perform extensive maintenance or enjoy caring for machines. Similar to how some people enjoy caring for their car or truck, others enjoy maintaining their chainsaws.

Just be honest with yourself about your willingness to take the necessary steps to keep your chainsaw safe. Safety is ultimately more important than plastic’s beautiful sheen.

To make sure your chainsaw is safe, functioning properly, and that the chain is sharp, you’ll need to check it frequently. Using a checklist can help you remember all you need to do. We often find our minds only focusing on the activity at hand and neglecting the maintenance duties.

The Importance of a Regular Chainsaw Maintenance Schedule

You have a lot of responsibilities and are a very busy person. It can be tempting to store your chainsaw after using it and forget about it until you need it again. Setting up a routine maintenance schedule for your chainsaw makes it more likely that you’ll remember to do what’s needed to maintain it ready and clean.

Your chainsaw will be properly maintained if you follow a regular maintenance procedure. When you give your saw routine maintenance, you:

  • Increase efficiency
  • Increase the chainsaw’s lifespan
  • Avoid potential accidents and chainsaw damage
  • Make cuts faster and easier
  • Save cash by avoiding costly repairs or the need to purchase a new chainsaw

Chainsaw Maintenance Checklist


Clean the outside of the machine. Remove the covers and clean them before setting them aside.
Clean the filter.When you clean the filter, use the choke lever to close the choke butterfly valve to prohibit dirt from entering the carburetor. For the machine’s cleaning, use a shop blower or air compressor.
Clean the chain brake band.Make sure it runs securely. Before using the machine, you will retest it.
Remove the chain, bar, and clutch cover.To allow for the following tasks.
Clean the lubricant feeder hole that delivers the oil to the bar.Make sure the bar’s lubricating hole is clear and accessible.
Clean the bar groove and inspect it for wear.Apply the proper bar oil to the bar’s sprocket tip if it has one. Both sides of the bar have grease holes for the tips. Grease each one.
Every time you sharpen the chain, flip the bar over.To allow them to wear evenly.
Check the saw chain regarding visible cracks in the rivets and links.Make sure the saw chain isn’t stiff, look for unusual wear in the rivets and links, and replace a stiff, worn-out chain.
Check the tension and condition of the chain.Sharpen it if you see that it needs it.
Check the chain drive sprocket for excessive wear.Replace when necessary.
Make that the chain catcher is in its proper position and isn’t damaged.Replace when necessary.
Clean the air filter by removing it, as instructed in your manual.Use a clean rag to clean the carburetor air intake port.
Check for fuel leaks.Check the engine, tank, and fuel lines.
Check that the throttle control and lockout work correctly and safely.If you don’t depress the lockout, the throttle lockout must stop the throttle from functioning. When using the throttle, make sure it moves smoothly and that when it is released, it always returns to the idle position.
Assemble the machine and adjust the chain.If you can lift the chain slightly (3/8 inch) at the upper center of the bar, the chain has been properly adjusted. The chain must be unbound and able to move freely when handled.
Make sure you lock the bar tightly.Make sure all nuts and screws are tight and secure.
Check to see if the bar is receiving enough oil on the underside.Correct any errors.
It’s time to inspect the stop switch if you discover that it occasionally fails you.It may need cleaning out.


Check the starter for wear and clean it.Oil the center bearing.
Check the starter cord for frayed edges.Remove the assembly and check the return spring.
Verify that the rubbers or springs that reduce vibration are not harmed.Replace if necessary.
Lubricate the clutch drum bearing.
Clear out the cooling slots in the cover, the impeller, the engine cooling fins, etc.
Remove burrs from the bar’s edges and clean the grooves on the bar.Use a file for the burrs and a piece of wood for the grooves.
Clean the muffler spark arrestor screen.Replace if necessary.
Clean the carburetor compartment and the air filter.Replace if necessary.


Check the chain brake band for wear.When it has dropped under 0.024 inches of thickness at the most worn spot, replace it.
Clean all parts and inspect the clutch center, clutch drum, and clutch spring for wear.Oil the center bearing.
If you use the chainsaw frequently, make sure the electrode gap is 0.020 inches and clean the spark plug.
Clean the outside of the carburetor.Also, check for fuel leaks.
Check the fuel hose for cracks or other damage.Replace the hose if it is hardened or cracked.
Clean out the fuel tank of any accumulated dust, especially in and around the filler area.Clean the filler filter.
If you detect any debris or dust inside the oil tank, empty it.Flushing it with mineral spirits will clean the interior.

Chainsaw Preventative Maintenance Tips

Chainsaw maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult. With the help of the chainsaw checklist above and the tips below, you can ensure that you take the proper actions.

Simply incorporate the following chainsaw maintenance tips into your chainsaw maintenance checklist to properly maintain your chainsaw:

Replace Gasoline

Many homeowners only sometimes and infrequently utilize their chainsaws. As a result, it might remain on the shelf with gasoline still in the chainsaw’s gas tank for an extended period of time. Gas degrades as it gets older. It can degrade in as little as 30 days. A chainsaw’s fuel filter can become clogged if gasoline is left in it, making it challenging to start.

As a result, varnish and gums are produced, which could clog the carburetor and possibly cause problems starting. The chainsaw itself might chug along on stale gas.

You may be familiar with the sensation if you’ve ever used an old gas chainsaw. Mix only enough gas to last 30 days or for the amount you will use in order to prevent this. When you’re done, try to leave the tank empty or nearly empty.

Adding a fuel additive, like a fuel stabilizer, is another way to increase the lifespan of your gasoline. For up to two years, a fuel stabilizer helps keep gasoline fresh, reducing the problems that stale gas can have with chainsaws.

When you have mixed more gas than you need or would like to keep your chainsaw fully fueled for routine use, this is an excellent alternative. You can keep your chainsaw operating smoothly and effectively by avoiding using outdated gasoline.

Clean the Oil Tank and Carburetor

Your gas-powered chainsaw’s carburetor and oil tank are both crucial components. Chainsaw bar and chain oil are kept in the oil tank. It keeps the chain oil level at the proper level for your chainsaw to operate.

The oil is poured out onto the chain and chain bar through a valve that allows air to draw inwards. By doing this, you can use the chainsaw knowing that the oil will go where it needs to go.

This can help prevent:

  • When making a cut, the chain locks up
  • Grinding of the chain or smoking
  • Difficulty with the chain brakes
  • Tank leaks from the oil

These typical issues can be avoided by cleaning the oil tank, which can also prolong your chainsaw’s lifespan. To keep your chainsaw protected, you should complete this crucial chainsaw bar maintenance procedure.

Your carburetor has to be cleaned as well. The air and gasoline that power your tool are combined by this apparatus. When this mixture of fuel and air burns in the combustion chamber, it is referred to as the “charge.”

Due to soot and dirt produced during combustion, the carburetor may become unclean. Additionally, the sawdust and other substances you come into contact with when cutting can make it unclean.

Proper combustion is difficult to achieve with a dirty carburetor. Your chainsaw’s cutting power will be significantly reduced as a result of slower chain speeds and decreased efficiency.

Cleaning the air filter and the carburetor’s intake parts will clean the carburetor. Your power will increase and your chainsaw will last longer if you make sure to keep this area clean.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

Another crucial chainsaw component is the air filter. The air filter is your engine’s first line of defense against dirt and sawdust buildup, which can clog the carburetor and make it difficult to use your chainsaw. Outside contaminants ought to be filtered away, but if your air filter is damaged or dusty, this doesn’t happen.

Maintaining the efficiency of your chainsaw requires routine cleaning. Your carburetor’s air intake won’t receive the necessary volume of air if your air filter is clogged. Low fuel efficiency and sluggishness will follow from this.

Usually, just by looking at the air filter, you can tell if it is unclean and needs changing. An air filter is a comparatively cheap technique to ensure that your chainsaw is operating properly and will prolong its life.

You can use a liquid cleaning product to clean a metallic air filter if you have one. As long as it is still in good shape after cleaning, the filter can be used again. You should replace it if it is broken. Many chainsaws have a filter made of paper or another material that will fall apart when cleaned. It is preferable to just swap out the old air filter for a fresh one.

You should establish a routine for cleaning your air filter or replacing it with a new filter. This is a crucial first step in the process of using your chainsaw’s internal combustion engine. When it is malfunctioning, it might make the tool sluggish and even unsafe.

Adjust Your Chain Tension

Many homeowners fail to successfully maintain the correct tension because chain tension is frequently misunderstood. You need the proper chain tension whether remodeling your home, cutting back a few tree branches or down a whole tree. A saw may become stuck or even stall if a chain is excessively tight. A chain that is overtightened might even overheat on non-roller-tip bars.

If the chain is excessively slack, the guide bar may lose its grip on it. This can be risky in addition to being annoying because you have to put it back on. A slipped chain can kick back and sever your skin, leaving deep wounds. Even with a chain catcher, a slipped chain may need a trip to the hospital. With the proper chain tension, you can simply steer clear of this possibility.

Be sure to adjust the chain tension in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Each tool handles it slightly differently, and several make altering the chain fairly simple by using unique parts.

To ensure that your chain is correctly adjusted, keep an eye out for the following:

  • The chain ought to support itself against the bottom of the guide bar (no sagging).
  • The chain is too tight if, when pulled, it doesn’t easily disengage from the bar.

Find the adjustment screw or other mechanism that allows you to alter the chain tension. As advised by the manufacturer, adjust the chain tensioning screw with the proper tool.

This crucial component of chainsaw maintenance is frequently ignored by inexperienced chainsaw operators. Always check your chain tension before beginning any project.

After a long day of work or over time, chains may become looser or tighter. To safeguard both you and your chainsaw, incorporate this into your everyday chainsaw use and maintenance.

Visit our How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be? guide for more information!

Replace the Sprocket

Chainsaws turn and engage the chain using two distinct kinds of sprockets. The rim sprockets and spur/star sprockets are these. Under the clutch is a component called a sprocket that drives the chain.

You will notice a significant decline in your chainsaw’s performance if it deteriorates. A damaged sprocket may potentially prevent the chain from spinning at all. Even more dangerously, the chain could slip and hurt you.

When a sprocket shows considerable signs of wear and tear, it needs to be replaced. One or more of your sprockets may be the cause of your chainsaw’s chain spinning irregularly even though all other chainsaw components appear to be in good condition. Regularly check the sprockets to see whether they are worn and the source of your issues.

You can replace a sprocket on your own or with the assistance of a skilled mechanic. The majority of models come with instructions on how to change this component, or you can watch one of the numerous instructional videos online to incorporate this into your monthly maintenance schedule.

Prevent Dull Chains by Sharpening

You are aware of how challenging it is to cut with a dull chain if you have ever tried. Making cuts that you know ought to be simple feels impossible because of this. Instead of cutting through the wood, the chainsaw appears to be crawling.

Each task may take longer with a dull blade, and it may even cause significant damage or injuries. The best functionality and safety are produced by a sharp chainsaw.

Many owners of chainsaws for domestic usage prefer to have the blades sharpened by a professional. It is simpler than investing in the proper equipment and learning the nuances of chain-sharpening techniques.

This may be particularly true if you’re working with specialty chains, such as diamond chainsaw blades for cutting stone or concrete. Using a professional eliminates the guessing and is still highly cost-effective. Visit our Types of Chainsaw Chains – Complete GUIDE for information on the various chain types.

Instead, if you choose to do your own maintenance, simply be sure to do it consistently and accurately. If you wish to sharpen your own chainsaw blades, here are some crucial pointers:

  • Use the correct file size
  • File the blades at the correct angle
  • Use the same number of strokes for each tooth
  • Use caution with the depth gauge

Before you sharpen a blade, be sure you are proficient in what you are doing. If you perform the technique incorrectly, it could be dangerous. There are experts who will complete this task for you at a reasonable cost if you’re unsure if you want to do it yourself. Here are some articles that can help you with the process:

Chainsaw Maintenance Tools

You can maintain your chainsaw in good condition with a variety of instruments. Having these in your toolkit will make it simple to maintain your chainsaw for many years and ensure your safety while using it.

Electric Chain Sharpener

Your saw chains can be easily sharpened with an electric chain sharpener. Every time you make a cut, you can have a precise and accurate angle of cut thanks to an integrated vice that can adapt to various chain designs and pitches. Many of these instruments employ chain rotation rollers, which advance the links while the vice remains in place.

When chainsaws get dull, they are practically unusable. It might be time-consuming and difficult to use a manual sharpener. With the accuracy of an expert, you can do the work yourself with an electric chain sharpener.

Chain sharpeners come in a variety of sizes, from handheld to bench-mounted. Additionally, they might cost anywhere from $30 to several hundred dollars. How frequently you sharpen your blades and the product you prefer using will determine the type you require.

Two-Stroke Oil

Compared to 4-stroke oils, 2-stroke oils are lighter and promote better consumption. They are crucial to the efficient and accurate operation of your chainsaw.

If you don’t know what you’re searching for, selecting the proper oil for your chainsaw may seem difficult. You may choose the ideal two-stroke oil for your chainsaw by taking into account a few aspects, such as:

Type of Oil

The three main categories of engine oils are synthetic, semi-synthetic, and mineral. All oils have their uses, but entirely synthetic ones are created at the molecular level for the best results. When choosing the oil, take into account both your working environment and the manufacturer’s advice for your chainsaw.

Odor and Smoke

A low-quality oil will likely emit a lot of smoke or smell. Choosing an oil with compounds to stop smoke and the harm it can do to your chainsaw is frequently the best course of action (not to mention your lungs).

Cleaning Performance

Your chainsaw’s parts should benefit from being cleaned with two-stroke oil as well. Oil with detergents and additives can remove carbon buildup and even stop oil sludge.


Choose an oil that is compatible with your engine. You can get chainsaw-specific oil or one that is suggested by the user manual.

Mix Oil Properly

Follow your chainsaw’s instructions when combining the two-stroke oil and fuel. The appropriate ratio is crucial. Don’t wing it; carefully measure the amounts instead. The improper mixture can harm you or your chainsaw and potentially cause damage.

Visit our fuel-related articles for more information:

Air Compressor

For many different jobs, an air compressor is a very useful tool to have. It can also be used to quickly and thoroughly clean your chainsaw. Chainsaws can be annoying and challenging to clean because a rag won’t fit in all the nooks and crannies. Chainsaws get dirty extremely quickly.

To clean debris from your chainsaw, use an air compressor to blast air at a high velocity. You can blast air in tight spaces like the engine, the blades, and more. This can remove dirt, sawdust, and other debris that might prevent your chainsaw from operating properly. For many other tasks as well as chainsaw maintenance, an air compressor is an excellent investment.

Spare Spark Plug

It’s a good idea to keep an extra spark plug on hand. Spark plugs gradually cease to function properly or at all. This might occur in the middle of a crucial task. It might also occur if you need to buy a new one but are a barlong way from a hardware store.

You can easily keep a spare spark plug on hand to avoid this annoying predicament. Make sure the chainsaw is compatible with the replacement spark plug.

Importantly, ensure that you carry it with you when working. The aim of having a spare on hand is defeated by the excessive number of people who purchase one but then leave it at home, where they must go a significant distance to retrieve it.

Fuel Stabilizer

To increase the lifespan of the gasoline mixture in your chainsaw, use a fuel stabilizer. As was already discussed, gasoline might start to degrade thirty days after being poured into the tank or your gas can. When it degrades, the fuel becomes less effective and may clog the chainsaw’s parts. It will become soiled and useless as a result.

The oxidation process is chemically slowed by a good fuel stabilizer. To stop evaporation and the separation of water molecules within the fuel, the stabilizer forms a link with the gasoline. This keeps the carburetor of your chainsaw free of sludge and gummy residues.

If you leave fuel in the tank, you should use a fuel stabilizer in both the chainsaw and the container of mixed gasoline. While it is ideal to replace the fuel in the tank after each operation, using a stabilizer is an additional way to avoid the frequent issues brought on by using old fuel.

Cleaning Solution

You may quickly and efficiently clean your chainsaw with the use of an efficient cleaning solution. The remedy aids in removing the oil, sawdust, and other debris to keep your tool operating effectively and cleanly. People can clean their chainsaws with a variety of methods, including but not limited to:

  • Commercial cleaning products that can be purchased
  • A solution of water and household ammonia (one gallon of water to one cup of ammonia)
  • WD40 aerosol
  • Mineral or turpentine oil

Depending on what is making your chainsaw dirty, some solvents may be more helpful than others. To keep your chainsaw clean, choose the appropriate remedy for the situation.

Chainsaw Service & Maintenance Kits

Here’s an example of a Husqvarna chainsaw maintenance kit available on Amazon:

Otherwise, you can go directly to chainsaw manufacture websites and purchase from them. Here are examples:

How Much Does It Cost to Service a Chainsaw?

If you don’t fancy conducting these tasks, you may be considering getting your chainsaw serviced. But how much will that cost? The average chainsaw service is usually around $100. For example, this Dobosh service center in Pittsburgh, PA offers the following for $94.99:

  • Clean exhaust ports (2-cycle)
  • Replace the air filter & fuel filter
  • Replace and gap the spark plug
  • Check all safety devices
  • Check ignition and compression
  • Remove, dismantle, clean and adjust carb or sonic clean
  • Clean fuel system
  • Adjust engine RPMs and governor
  • Tighten hardware
  • Test run


  • Clean exhaust ports and spark arrestor
  • Check oiler system
  • Check bar, chain, and sprocket
  • Check chain brake
  • Check chain tension

Chainsaw maintenance costs are influenced by the scope of the work performed and, to a lesser extent, the type of saw. Normal service here in your neighborhood may cost roughly $40 and include cleaning the air filter and the saw, adjusting the carburetor, and sharpening and adjusting the blade.

If you add a new spark plug, fuel filter, and air filter, the cost of the parts might range from $15 to $60. At Tractor Supply, paper Poulan filters cost $7 or $8 while Echo or Husqvarna filters cost $25 or more. A new chain and bar cost more than $50, whereas a simple chain sharpening costs about $7.

The cost of chainsaw servicing the carburetor, replacing the fuel lines, installing the electronic ignition, and other things, might really go up. A coil for some chainsaws will cost more than $50, but when you factor in labor costs and shop fees, that one service item will easily cost more than $100.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How often does a chainsaw need serviced?

Naturally, how frequently and how intensely you use your chainsaw will have some bearing on this, but experts typically advise getting a professional service or check-up every few months for higher use to at least once a year for low use.

How often should I lubricate my chainsaw?

Every time you refill the gas tank on your chainsaw, fill the oil reservoir as well. Make sure that the saw is always operating with oil being applied to the chain, guide bar, and sprocket.
For electric chainsaws specifically, check out this post: Oil for Electric Chainsaw

Do you need to clean chainsaw after every use?

It is recommended that every time you use your chainsaw, you should clean it to remove any buildup in the bar or chain.

Is WD 40 good for chainsaws?

To prevent rust and corrosion, you can use WD 40 to clean the bar’s surface. The chainsaw’s other metal parts and accessories can also be cleaned, but high quality bar oil should be used to lubricate the chain.

By Dave Cross

Hi, I'm Dave. I’ve been sawing for more than 40 years. I feel most at home when I’m surrounded by nature and my saws, but occasionally, I’ll share some of my know-how and experience on Cross Saw Mill.

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