Stihl Chainsaw: The Do’s and Don’ts of Chainsaw Maintenance



Chainsaws make quick and easy work of felling trees in your garden or turning logs into firewood, which is why they are so widely found stored in many homeowner’s garages. To keep benefiting from the strong wood-cutting capabilities of a chainsaw, correct maintenance is essential. We highlight the do’s and don’ts of chainsaw maintenance so that you can keep your chainsaw properly maintained so that it continues to operate optimally. B&S Commercial Power provides expert advice on maintenance solutions for your Stihl chainsaw.


What To Do For Chainsaw Maintenance:


Chainsaws require regular maintenance to keep the chainsaw sharp, strong, and performing optimally. Chainsaw maintenance is not only essential for the performance of your chainsaw, but it can also ensure that the chainsaw is safe to use. Regular chainsaw maintenance will also ensure that you are not wasting money getting your chainsaw repaired due to faults caused by a lack of maintenance.


Every owner of a chainsaw should be aware of the essential maintenance steps that must be performed on the chainsaw. Chainsaw maintenance requires some time and effort, but you will only benefit from keeping your chainsaw in excellent working order. We highlight 5 critical maintenance procedures to keep your chainsaw operating efficiently, safely, and without incurring unnecessary costs for repairs.


1) Sharpen Your Chain:


Maintaining the sharpness of your chainsaw chain is essential for the effortless cutting of logs or trees. While critical, chainsaw chain sharpening requires skill and care. You need to have the correct file size suited to your specific chainsaw teeth, you need to hold the file at a 25-35 degree angle, and you need to ensure that each chain tooth receives 3-6 strokes equally. There is no defined schedule for chainsaw chain sharpening, but we have briefly listed a few of the signals that it is time to sharpen your chain.


Dust-like Shavings: Chainsaws should produce equal-sized shavings when cutting through wood. If your chainsaw is producing shavings that are small and fine or dust-like, that is an indication that your chainsaw chain is blunt. When a chainsaw chain is blunt, the teeth will be slightly rounded instead of having a sharp point, which then leads to dust-like shavings.


Skew Cuts: Your chainsaw teeth are designed to grip into the wood to enable you to cut in a straight line. When your chainsaw teeth are unevenly worn, your chainsaw will be pulled to either the right or left depending on which side of the chainsaw teeth are longer. If your chainsaw is cutting at an angle, you need to equally sharpen your chain teeth.


Pushing on Chainsaw: Chainsaws are powerful tools designed to make wood cutting effortless. Your chainsaw should never require you to exert unnecessary force to cut through a tree or log. If you feel that you need to push down harder on your chainsaw to get your cutting done, this is an indication that your chainsaw chain is blunt.


While you can sharpen your chainsaw chain yourself, the required skill to ensure adequate chain maintenance can be difficult to grasp if you are a new chainsaw owner. This is why it is often recommended to acquire the services of a professional when you need your chain sharpened. You can easily take your chainsaw to a professional for this essential maintenance step.




2) Clean Air Filter:


Fuel chainsaws will all have an air filter that plays an important role in keeping your chainsaw operating optimally. Air is needed by the chainsaw carburettor to ensure adequate mixing of fuel and air for the power of the chainsaw. The air filter is essential as it prevents any particles or debris from entering into the chainsaw carburettor, which can lead to internal damages and loss of power.


Chainsaw air filter maintenance must be performed regularly, ideally after every extended use of your chainsaw. A clean air filter will allow an adequate supply of air into your carburettor to keep your chainsaw powerful and cutting efficiently. We have briefly outlined the steps to clean your chainsaw air filter.


  1. Locate your air filter cover and use a screwdriver to remove the protective cap.
  2. Remove the air filter from your chainsaw.
  3. Gently tap the hard plastic side of the air filter on a surface to remove any dust or debris.
  4. Place the air filter in warm, soapy water and use a soft toothbrush to gently remove the dirt.
  5. Rinse your air filter thoroughly in cold, clean water to remove all the soap.
  6. Allow your air filter to air dry.
  7. Dust and clean your air filter protective cap.
  8. Return your air filter to your chainsaw and firmly screw in your protective cap.




3) Lubricate the Chain:


Chain lubrication is an important maintenance step for the performance of your chainsaw. Chainsaw chain lubrication protects the chain from any damages caused by friction or heat, prevents your chainsaw chain from quickly becoming blunt, and keeps the chainsaw rotating smoothly without any jams. Chainsaw chain lubrication needs to be checked regularly.


To tell if your chainsaw needs lubrication, there is a simple test you can perform. Firstly, find a light-coloured piece of wood. Position the nose of your chainsaw above the wood and run it at a medium speed for one minute. If you notice a light spray of oil on the wood, then your chainsaw is sufficiently lubricated. If you did not find a line of oil on the wood, follow these quick steps to lubricate your chainsaw chain.


  1. Remove the cap of the oil reservoir on your chainsaw.
  2. Use a funnel to pour your chainsaw oil into the reservoir.
  3. Once the reservoir is full, return the cap.
  4. Run the chainsaw for a few minutes to allow the oil pump to lubricate the chain.


4) Check Chain Tension:


Chainsaw chain tension is integral to the performance of your chainsaw and is thus a maintenance step that cannot be skipped. A loose chainsaw chain is dangerous as the chain can come detached from the operating chainsaw and cause serious injuries. On the other hand, a chainsaw chain that is too tight will not effectively cut the wood and will cause damages to your chainsaw’s drive sprocket. Your chainsaw chain needs to be at the perfect tension.




You can tell if a chainsaw chain is too loose if there is a sag in the chain at the bottom of the chainsaw. If your chainsaw chain is too tight, there will be no space in between the chain and the bar. To adjust your chainsaw chain to the perfect tension, simply tighten or loosen the adjustment screw. The tension of your chainsaw chain needs to be regularly checked.


5) Perform Maintenance Safely:


Safety measures are always imperative when handling a chainsaw, even during maintenance. Chainsaw chains are sharp, so to avoid injuries you should handle the chain carefully or with gloves when checking the tension or sharpening the teeth. You should never perform maintenance on a chainsaw that has just been used, but should rather allow the chainsaw to cool down completely first. Always perform maintenance on your chainsaw in a well-lit and ventilated area, especially when adding chainsaw lubricant or removing fuel from the chainsaw tank.


What Not To Do For Chainsaw Maintenance:


Understanding how to maintain your chainsaw is important, but in many cases, it can be more essential to know how you should not be maintaining your chainsaw. Improper maintenance can quickly lead to chainsaw problems and reduced performance, which is then ultimately a waste of your time and energy. We highlight 5 common maintenance mistakes that you should avoid with your chainsaw.


1) Perform Maintenance Irregularly:


Chainsaws are robust, powerful, and high-performing power tools, but this often leads to the misconception that they do not need regular maintenance. Many chainsaw owners will only perform maintenance on their chainsaw every few months, and in worst cases only once a year. Avoid only maintaining your chainsaw irregularly to benefit from having a chainsaw working in excellent condition.


2) Allow Fuel to Sit in Tank:


You should never allow fuel to sit in your chainsaw for longer than two weeks. Leaving fuel in your chainsaw when not in use can lead to engine problems and power issues when you plan to use your chainsaw again. If winter is coming up or you know you are not planning on using your chainsaw for an extended period, you must drain the fuel out of the chainsaw fuel tank.




3) Sharpen Your Chain Excessively:


While it is important to keep your chainsaw chain sharp for optimal performance, excessive sharpening can do more damage than good. A chainsaw chain is recommended to only be sharpened up to 10 times before you replace the chain. Sharpening your chain excessively will only weaken your chain and cause it to become blunt more often than normal. If you are taking your chainsaw to be professionally sharpened, your chainsaw sharpener will inform you on how regularly to bring in your chainsaw based on your specific use of your chainsaw.


4) Check Chain Tension Whilst in Use:


A common mistake that many chainsaw users make is to check the chainsaw tension whilst using the chainsaw. Chainsaw users know how important chainsaw tension is and become pedantic about checking the tension. If you do not let the chainsaw chain cool down before checking the tension, you will most likely burn your fingers from the heat of the chain.


5) Use Motor Oil to Lubricate Chain:


Chainsaw lubricant is essential, but the right type of lubricant is critical. Many chainsaw owners make the mistake of using motor oil as the lubricant for their chainsaw. Motor oil is abrasive to your chainsaw and can result in decreased performance and internal damage. You should only use lubricant oil that is specially designed for chainsaws.


B&S Commercial Power Stihl Chainsaw:


B&S Commercial Power is the proud supplier of Stihl chainsaws. A Stihl chainsaw is an optimal choice for homeowners who have trees they need to fell, firewood to harvest, or gnarled bushes and small trees to trim. The various power capabilities, steady performance, and effortless usability of a Stihl chainsaw make it the ideal chainsaw for any cutting job.


A Stihl chainsaw is hardy, powerful, and safe to use. Like every chainsaw, to ensure the continued high-quality performance and safety of your Stihl chainsaw, you will need to perform regular maintenance. Every Stihl chainsaw has been designed with you in mind and thus allows for easy self-maintenance of the chainsaw. You can also find Stihl chainsaw maintenance specialists if you would prefer to have your Stihl chainsaw expertly maintained.




The B&S Commercial Power team consists of highly experienced and trained individuals. We are always available to assist you with any queries regarding the maintenance of your Stihl chainsaw. We take every step to ensure that you have a long and enjoyable experience with your Stihl chainsaw through expert maintenance recommendations and solutions.


Keep your Stihl chainsaw from B&S Commercial Power maintained to ensure continued power and performance.