How to Oil a Chainsaw: Detailed Step-By-Step Guide

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By Jake Hill


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Are you a new chainsaw owner? Do you keep hearing about the importance of proper chainsaw lubrication? Adequate and regular chain lubrication will make it perform its best. Also, it will protect the saw from overheating and prevent the chain from burning.

Applying enough chainsaw oil will reduce the engine’s friction force. This kind of force can cost you more than replacing the chain. It can even cost you the entire chainsaw.

So, if you want to know exactly how to oil a chain saw, keep reading our blog post. We are providing a complete guide for easy and efficient chain lubrication.

Materials Needed

Oiling a chain is relatively easy, but you will need some tools to accomplish this mission.

  1. A clean piece of cloth.
  2. A scrench
  3. Bar and chain oil
  4. A funnel
  5. An oil brush

Before moving on to the next step, you should know about the bar and chain lubricant. These types of oil come in two different versions. The first is made for winter use. Cold work conditions require decreased viscosity. So, in this case, the used oil will be thinner. The other type is made for summer use and is thicker.

Some users prefer to use oils with medium viscosity. This option can be used all year. You can always check out the product instruction manual if you need clarification about the right oil for your chain.

Preparing the chainsaw

Before lubricating the chain and bar, you must ensure a few things in your machine. This includes checking the following elements:

  1. The machine is completely turned off. Check the on/off switch, for that matter. It is neither possible nor safe to oil a running chain.
  2. Ensure that the machine, engine, and chain are cool. It is not safe to work on a chainsaw while still hot.
  3. Place the saw on a flat and even ground or a clean and sturdy table. It would help to use a solid wooden table, for example, to support product weight. Make sure to clean it too. An unclean surface can be the reason behind jamming the chain and the guide bar.

Lubricating the Chain

Before removing the oil cap, let the machine rest for a minute or two. This step aims to allow the oil to settle completely inside the reservoir. Afterward, you should follow these steps:

1. Find the Oil Reservoir

You can identify this part by the oil cap on the outer surface of the chainsaw. You can check the cap for the word “oil.” Or you would find it near the chainsaw’s handle.

2. Unscrew the Cap

The cap of the chain oil reservoir is supposed to be tight. So, you will do some unscrewing until it is removed. You are supposed to turn the cap in the counterclockwise direction.

3. Fill the Reservoir

You will need your funnel to pour the oil into the tank. Make sure you keep filling until the oil reaches the maximum level. You will have to check the level indicator for this matter.

Keep in mind that overfilling this tank is not a good thing. The residue oil will spill and jam the chain and bar. Moreover, it would lead to starting difficulties.

4. Put the Cap back into place.

Now, it is time to let the oil settle into the reservoir. So, install the cap once again into position and screw it clockwise. Keep screwing till the cap is tight enough.

You have adequately filled the oil reservoir with conventional bar and chain oil. Giving the chain some manual lubrication is essential, and here is how to do it.

  1.  Remove the bar cover: There are two tight nuts on the side panel of the bar. Start by loosening them to remove the cover or chain guard.
  2.  Inspect the insides of the machine: Removing the chain guard gives you a chance to look inside the saw. Inspecting the uncovered area to remove any greasy buildup would be best. You can use the screwdriver end of the scrench to scrape such deposits.
  3. Remove the chain: To be able to take the chainsaw chain off of the machine, you should release the tensioner first. Then pull the bar nose to release the chain and bar once.
  4. Place it into a bag: Put the chain inside a small, airtight bag. Pour some of the oil into the bag and wrap it tightly. Do not leave the bag unsealed. Allow the chain to soak in the oil for at least five hours, but overnight soaking is much better.
  5. Give it a gentle wipe: Take the lubricated chain out of the bag. Then wipe it gently with a piece of cloth. This should remove excess oil. Now the chain is ready to get back to its original place. However, it would help if you did not hurry the whole chain reinstallation process, as you must also oil the bar.

Remember that you must operate the chain for some time when everything is back in place. This allows equal distribution of the oil all over the chain. Repeating these steps will increase the chain’s life. Doing this process is recommended every time you refill the fuel tank.

Another vital thing to remember is that manual lubrication is optional if your chainsaw model has an automatic oiler.

Lubricating the Guide bar

The lubricating fluid is called chain and bar oil. So, you will need to apply it to the bar and the sprocket. To properly lubricate these parts, you can use an oil brush. Apply the brush on these parts, particularly the groove and sprocket tip. You can also use a piece of cloth or a rag instead of the brush if unavailable.

While you are at it, you should check out the oil holes in the bars. These can be clogged with gunk. It would help if you used the scrench again to remove the clogginess.

Finishing up

Now that everything is thoroughly oiled and lubricated, you can reassemble the bar and chain. Then reinstall the chain cover and tighten the previously removed nuts.

As usual, you should start the machine to ensure everything is done correctly. Then allow the chain to revolve to distribute the oil evenly. The smooth running of the chain will indicate that you’ve done everything as it should.


The cutting chain of any chainsaw is a potent component. However, it requires thorough maintenance. This includes continuous lubrication, whether manually, through the tank, or both. This process is simple and easy to perform. Still, you need to know how to screw and unscrew the cap on the oil reservoir.

Meanwhile, you should know how to remove and reinstall the bar and chain. Also, you need to use the proper lubricant.

Some users use available fluids at home, including cooking or engine oils, but neither will do the deed. Moreover, they would damage the chain and engine. So, fill the chain oil reservoir with the right oil of the proper viscosity. You can consult the manufacturer’s guidelines if you do not know the ideal lubricating oil.

Lastly, you know by now that touching a chain with a bare hand is unsafe. So, it is always better to wear a pair of thick gloves to protect your hands.

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