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Chainsaw Maintenance and Tune-up Tips

Chainsaw Maintenance and Tune-up Tips

Using a chainsaw can help you complete many fall chores quickly and relatively easily, such as trimming branches and cutting firewood. But once you’ve chosen a chainsaw that’s right based on your needs, there are still a number of startup and chainsaw maintenance items that should be performed during and after every use and over time to help keep the saw in great working order and help provide years of productive use.

Here are a chainsaw maintenance guide and use recommendations, which were covered in our recent Ask Troy Live session on how to use and maintain a chainsaw. In addition to these recommendations, be sure to consult your operator’s manual for detailed instructions on maintaining and tuning up your chainsaw.

Collect Needed Tools and Supplies

Before beginning any project, be sure you have the proper tools and supplies on hand. That collection begins with personal protective equipment.

Any time you are preparing, using and maintaining your chainsaw, you’ll need to wear the proper safety gear. In addition to consulting your operator’s manual for details, be sure to wear chainsaw safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, when maintaining your chainsaw. And when operating your chainsaw, you should also wear a full helmet with a faceguard to help protect your head and face from debris, chainsaw chaps to help protect your legs, and safety gloves and eye protection.

You’ll also need a few tools and supplies when preparing to operate your chainsaw and any time you’re maintaining the tool. You’ll want the proper chainsaw fuel as well as bar and chain lubricant, rags to clean up spills, and various hand tools (including the scrench tool that may have been supplied with your chainsaw, as well as a wrench and a funnel).

Top Off the Fuel and Lubricating Oil for Your Chainsaw

When preparing your Troy-Bilt® chainsaw for use, either out of the box, for the season, or before each use, you’ll want to top off or replace the fuel (if the fuel has been allowed to remain in the tank for some time).

Troy-Bilt chainsaw oil mix is a premixed fuel with the 40:1 fuel-to-oil ratio. You can also mix your own using 40:1 oil mixed with a gallon of gas. However, when running this equipment, using gasoline containing ethanol can affect engine performance because it attracts unwanted moisture into the gasoline, which may lead to startup issues, especially if the fuel is allowed to remain in the unit for an extended period of time. This issue is why we recommend using a premixed, pre-engineered fuel. If it’s been some time since you last used the chainsaw, then it’s best to remove and replace the fuel.

If the chainsaw will be used infrequently or will not be used for an extended period of time, then the fuel should be drained from the fuel tank. After draining the fuel, add a small amount of premixed fuel back into the tank, then start the chainsaw and allow it to run through the fuel until it stalls itself out. This step helps remove all fuel from the engine and carburetor and prevent it from attracting moisture into the unit.

You’ll also need to top off the chainsaw bar and chain oil in the separate tank that supplies the adjustable automatic oiler feature on newer models of Troy-Bilt chainsaws. This feature is designed to lubricate the bar and chain with oil automatically during operation.

Inspect and Maintain the Air Filter

You should also check the air filter before each use and clean or replace it if needed. An often overlooked step, checking and maintaining the air filter helps ensure the engine air remains clean and free-flowing during operation. Even small air blockages can impact the chainsaw’s performance. On many newer models of Troy-Bilt chainsaws, to begin cleaning the chainsaw air filter, simply remove the cover housing of the air filter and take out the filter. Made with a very fine mesh on both sides, the filter can be opened by hand, inspected and rinsed from the inside out if it’s dirty. The filter typically only needs to be replaced if there is a tear or hole in the mesh. Check your operator’s manual for the specific instructions applicable to your chainsaw.


Adjusting Chainsaw Chain Tensioning and Lubrication

Two additional chainsaw blade maintenance items that should be completed before, during and after using a chainsaw are adjusting both the chain tension and the bar and chain lubrication level.

On most Troy-Bilt models, tightening the chainsaw chain is a multistep process that needs to be repeated every time the chainsaw is used to help maintain the life of your equipment.

People often wonder how tight a chainsaw chain should be. This is because a chain that’s too loose may come off the chainsaw during operation, while a chain that’s too tight may cause the unit to freeze up or become unresponsive. You’ll want to become skilled at the steps involved in tensioning the chain because this step is an activity that likely needs to be repeated multiple times every time the chainsaw is used.

The chain tension may need to be adjusted before use, then again after about the first 15 minutes of operation, then sporadically throughout operation because the heat and friction on the chain tend to make the chain relax further.

The chain may also need tensioning again after operation is complete, allowing it room to cool down and prevent it from freezing in place on the bar. Check your operator’s manual for the specific instructions applicable to your chainsaw.

Another routine adjustment you may find necessary is adjusting the amount of lubrication that occurs with the automatic oiler feature equipped on newer models of Troy-Bilt chainsaws. The default factory setting is typically for maximum lubrication, which may be too much depending on the job at hand, causing the unit to emit too much lubrication oil. This setting can be adjusted; review your operator’s manual for details.

How to Store a Chainsaw Properly

Where and how you store your chainsaw is another important consideration because of its sharp chain and because the unit may leak lubrication oil from the bar, chain and engine of the unit during storage, leaving oil spots on storage surfaces.

To store a chainsaw so it doesn’t leak oil, you’ll want to store the unit as directed in the operator’s manual. For many Troy-Bilt models, this means storing the chainsaw with the supplied scabbard covering the bar. The entire unit should also be placed on top of cardboard or rags or inside a chainsaw case. Doing so helps keep the sharp chain covered and also helps contain any lubricating oil that may seep from the unit.

As with the fuel, the bar and chain oil also should be drained if the chainsaw will not be used for an extended period of time. Taking care of these chainsaw storage precautions is highly recommended when storing your chainsaw during periods of non-use.

Keep these chainsaw maintenance tips in mind when using your chainsaw; they can help you get years and years of productive use from this tool.