Chainsaws Maintenance And Repair: A Brief Guide

A chainsaw is a useful tool that people can have in their homes. A lot of people find it intimidating to use because of how big and dangerous it is. However, it’s actually something that can be easily learned, so it can be used to cut down all kinds of wood.


Essentially, the most basic thing to remember is to learn how to disassemble and reassemble the chainsaw. After that, you’ll also have to learn how to use a sharpener, and how to identify any signs that might point to any problems with your chainsaw. For a detailed guide on maintenance and repair, read below: 

Daily Maintenance

Doing daily maintenance is an important part of owning a chainsaw, especially if you use it every day. Here is a step-by-step guide you can follow to keep the chain and the machine as well kept as possible: 

  • Cleaning The Chainsaw
    • Clean up the exterior.
    • Remove and clean the cover, then set aside. 
    • Close the choke butterfly valve using the choke lever. 
    • Use a shop blower to clean the machine.
    • Clean the chain brake band and test it before you run the machine.
    • Remove the chain, bar and clutch cover.
    • Clean and open the lubrication hole. 
    • Clean and inspect the bar groove to make sure that it isn’t worn out. 
    • Use the right bar grease on the sprocket tip, if there’s any. Grease both sides of the bar.  
  • Replacing Or Sharpening The Chain
    • Flip the bar over when you sharpen the chain. 
    • Inspect the chain for cracks, stiffness, and abnormal wear and tear.
    • Replace the chain if it doesn’t pass inspection. 
    • Use a sharpener for a dull chain, then check its condition and tension.
    • Inspect the chain drive sprocket and replace them if they’re worn down or damaged.
    • Inspect the chain catcher and replace it if it’s damaged. Make sure it’s attached correctly.


  • Additional Cleaning and Reassembling
  • Clean the air filter according to the instructions in the manual.
  • Clean up the carburetor air intake port using a clean rag.
  • Make sure that there are no fuel leaks in the engine, fuel lines, and tank.
  • Double check that the throttle works correctly, and that it snaps back to idle when released.
  • Ensure that the throttle lockout works for safety.
  • Reassemble the machine and adjust the chain. To make sure that you fitted it right, you should be able to lift it 3/8 inches at the top center of the bar. It should also move freely if you use your hands, even with no binding.
  • Tighten all nuts and screws, and lock the bar tightly.
  • Ensure that the underside of the bar is oiled by inspecting it.
  • Clean the stop switch if you experience any problems with it. 

Weekly Maintenance

Aside from doing daily maintenance, you could also give it a weekly check. This won’t be as detailed as when you do the daily clean up, but it’s just as important for inspecting and seeing the overall condition, so you can use the chainsaw properly and safely. 

  • Inspect and clean the following:
    • Starter
    • Center bearing
    • Starter cord
    • Vibration damping springs or rubbers
    • Engine cooling fins and cooling slots
    • Bar grooves
    • Muffler spark arrestor screen
    • Carburetor compartment
    • Air filter
  • Replace some parts if necessary 

Monthly Maintenance

Every month, cleaning, inspecting, and replacing some parts of your chainsaw will be necessary. This is so that it can work well and keep from getting damaged easily. Make sure that you set a time to do your monthly maintenance because it can take some time. 

  • Inspect the following:
    • Chain brake band
    • Clutch center
    • Clutch drum
    • Clutch spring
    • Fuel hose for cracks and damage
    • Electrode gap (should be 0.020 inches)
  • Replace the brake band if it’s reduced to 0.024 inches or less.
  • Clean the clutch center, drum, and spring.
  • Oil the center bearing.
  • Clean the spark plug.
  • Clean the exterior of the carburetor. 
  • Inspect for fuel leaks.
  • Empty the fuel tank and clean the interior.
  • Clean the filler filter.
  • Empty the oil tank.
  • Flush it out with mineral spirits if you feel any debris inside.  

Common Issues And How To Repair Them

Just like any power tool in your shed or garage, you’ll expect some problems. Some of these can be a minor issue with quick solutions. On the other hand, there are more serious issues that will require professional repairs. Either way, this can be a hindrance when you’re planning to cut down a tree, or do other urgent tasks that require a chainsaw.

Here are some of the common problems that you might encounter with your chainsaw, as well as how to deal with them: 

It Won’t Turn On Or Start


  • Issues with the spark plug: One of the causes could be a defective spark plug. Your spark plug might not be working because the electrode is damaged. There’s heavy carbon build-up, or the porcelain is cracked. Either way, you’ll have to replace the spark plug to get your chainsaw to start.  


  • Clogged carburetor: Use a carburetor cleaner to clean any build up that might have clogged inside. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to replace it.  
  • Problems with the ignition coil: The ignition coil is necessary for transmitting power through the spark plug. If the spark plug isn’t the problem, then the root of the issue could be the ignition coil. Use an ignition coil tester to ensure that it’s working. If not, you’ll have to replace this.  

It Stalls After Starting

  • Clogged spark arrestor: Soot can clog up the spark arrestor if you haven’t used it in a while. With a wire brush, you should be able to clean it up. But if this still doesn’t work, replacing it will be necessary.  
  • Dirty air filter: If there’s not enough air and too much fuel, the machine will stall. Clean up the air filter, or replace it if it still doesn’t work.  

It’s Running Roughly

  • For dirty or clogged foam filter, simply replace it. 
  • Leaving fuel inside, not maintaining and not using your chainsaw for a while can lead to build up. Remove the old fuel, and use new fuel, then replace the fuel filter. 

The Chain Won’t Stop Turning


  • Poor idle setting adjustment: While the chainsaw is running, tighten the screw near the air filter to keep the fuel from flowing, and until the chain stops. 
  • Broken springs and non-sticking clutch pads: Check and repair the clutch assembly, by replacing springs and engaging the clutch pads.



If you own a chainsaw, it’s important to learn how to care for it so that it lasts a long time. This will also help keep users safe, and improve the performance of your chainsaw. This is why many tend to just ask a professional to take a look at their chainsaw when they encounter a problem. However, like many other issues you could encounter with tools, it’s important to prevent the issues by doing proper maintenance and inspection.