How To Clean Chainsaw Chain?

The Quick and Easy Way to Clean a Chainsaw. What’s the point of all this? Many people I know don’t clean their chainsaws at all but as you’ll see in this article, doing so is a smart move.

Before we get into what tools you’ll need and how to clean your chainsaw, let’s take a look at why a dirty chainsaw won’t run properly. When you take the covers off of a chainsaw, it appears to be a simple machine but there is a lot going on underneath that is not visible until you take it apart completely. The saw chain’s cutting teeth excavate small chips of wood and powder-like specks of sawdust whenever they cut into the material. The chain’s momentum carries these particles into the bar’s groove.

In addition, a small amount of sawdust and wood chips are flung into the gaps between the chain links, where they combine with moisture and bar oil to form a semi-solid and extremely sticky substance that absorbs new bar oil and prevents it from lubricating the chain. Chain heat and burr formation are both caused by overheating your chain and allowing it to scrape against the bar rails more frequently.


Not only is the chain getting hotter and causing more friction but it’s also bouncing off the uneven bar edge, making it difficult to cut straight and increasing vibrations. Unlubricated chains will break sooner and you don’t want sharp metal links slamming into your face as you’re travelling at 60 mph. In addition to sap and sawdust under the clutch cover, the chainsaw will also collect grease, lint, and other gunk. This will eventually clog the oiler holes in your chainsaw’s bar, reducing the chainsaw’s performance and compromising the parts’ reliability. This can lead to the inertial brake slipping in an emergency if there is too much gunk around the chain brake mechanism.

The grill under the starter rope also collects sawdust and dirt from the other side of the chainsaw. Aside from cooling the engine, this grill also collects debris ejected during wood-cutting.

In between the cylinder head’s cooling fins, sawdust and wood chips can collect, obstructing airflow and lowering cooling performance. Thus, the engine will run hotter than usual, increasing the risk of internal motor damage (piston, cylinder, etc.). Air filter clogging prevents the carburetor from receiving enough air, which reduces engine performance when operating your chainsaw at higher RPMs. If the chainsaw’s air filter is filthy, you won’t be able to start it.

When checking for carbon build-up, make sure to look at the spark plug as well. A bad spark plug will lead to inefficient combustion, which will lead to a loss of power. It’s also possible that a bad spark plug is preventing the engine from starting. Stihl advises replacing the old spark plug with a new one after every 100 hours of use. Check the owner’s manual to make sure you are replacing the old spark plug with the correct model, as spark plugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Recommended Readings (Power Tools Bible)

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