Chainsaw Oiler Not Working: How to Fix in 3 Simple Steps

Patrick McMann

Knowledge Based

Back in the day, lumberjacks needed a human “chainsaw oiler” to manually drip oil on their chainsaws. It was a job for the new guy until he lost a finger or two.

But thankfully, technology stepped in, and now automatic chainsaw oilers have freed us from the dangers of the past.

However, even the most reliable automatic oilers can malfunction, leaving you with a dry and poorly lubricated chainsaw. So, what do you do when your chainsaw oiler is not working? Let’s find out!

fixing chainsaw oiler not working problems

Why is Chainsaw Oiler Not Working? Problems and Fixes in 2024

The most common reason a chainsaw oiler stops working is due to a clogged oil hole. To fix this issue, you can remove the chainsaw bar and chain and clean the oil hole and outlet port thoroughly. 

Chainsaw oilers can also stop working for various other reasons. These include insufficient oil in the tank, expired oil, damaged hoses, fittings, or oil pump, and plugged or broken oiler.

To fix the problem, you first need to figure out the root cause of the malfunction. For instance, if your chain is not receiving sufficient oil and you have checked that the oiler is not plugged or broken, you may have an incorrect bar installed on your chainsaw.

So, by understanding how a chainsaw oiler works, you’ll be better equipped to identify and troubleshoot all the oiler problems.

How do Chainsaw Oilers Work?

The chainsaw oiler works by drawing oil from the oil tank and delivering it to the bar and chain via a small pump. Chainsaws with an automatic oiler system automatically deliver oil to the chain while the saw runs.

The components of an oiler are;

  • Oil tank
  • Oil filter
  • Oil line
  • Oil pump

A gear attached to the engine’s crankshaft turns the pump, which draws oil from the tank through the filter into the oil line. The oil is then delivered to the bar and chain via small ports in the bar.

You can adjust the amount of oil delivered to the chain using a screw located on the oil pump. When you turn the screw clockwise, the oil flow reduces. And when you turn it anticlockwise, it increases.

How to Diagnose and Fix Chainsaw Oiler Problems?

If you’re having problems with your chainsaw oiler, the first step is to figure out what’s wrong.

Step 1: Examine the Oil Level and Oil Filter

Check the oil level in the oil tank. If the oil level is low, the oiler will most likely malfunction. Also, It shouldn’t be contaminated with debris or dirt. And if it is, drain the tank and refill it with clean oil if it is dirty.

Next, check the oil filter. It keeps the debris and other contaminants from entering the engine oil. If the oil filter becomes clogged, the oiler can stop working. Remove the oil filter and thoroughly clean it, or replace it if it is damaged.

Step 2: Examine the Oil Pump

If the oil level and filter are okay, the next thing to check is the oil pump. The oil pump transfers oil from the tank to the chainsaw’s bar and chain. If the pump is faulty or damaged, the oiler may malfunction.

Remove the clutch cover, chainsaw bar, and chain to check if the oil pump has any damage. Check the drive gear to ensure that it is engaging the oil pump. If the gear is damaged, you will need to replace it.

Step 3: Check the Oil Holes/Channels

If the oil pump is in good working order, the next step is to examine the oil channels. Sawdust, dirt, and debris can accumulate in these channels over time, preventing oil from reaching the bar and chain properly.

After thoroughly cleaning the oil holes and channels, reassemble the chainsaw.

Oil Shelf Life

Chainsaw engine oil has a limited shelf life, and using expired oil can lead to various problems.

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s worth checking the shelf life of your oil.

Two-cycle oil, frequently used in chainsaws, has a shelf life of up to five years when kept unopened in the proper storage conditions. The oil’s shelf life is only two years once the container is opened.

To avoid using expired oil, record the date on the container when you open it, so you know when it’s time to replace it.

It’s also worth noting that exposing the oil to extreme temperature changes and moisture can cause it to spoil, even if it’s still within its shelf life.

To keep your chainsaw running smoothly, always use fresh, high-quality oil and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Incorrect Bar Installement

An incorrectly installed bar can also disrupt the functioning of the oiler.

If the bar is too long or too short, it may not match the output of the oiler, causing the chainsaw to receive insufficient or excessive oil. This can result in inadequate lubrication, premature chain wear, and damage to the bar and sprocket.

For example, if you use a bar that is too long for your chainsaw, the oiler won’t lubricate the entire chain because the bar is too long to cover it all. As a result, the chain may not receive sufficient oil, causing it to overheat and wear out faster.

And If you use a bar that is too short for your chainsaw, the oiler will supply too much oil to the chain. This will cause it to become slippery and difficult to control. Additionally, the body of the chainsaw may become overly oily, making it unsafe to grip and handle.

Consequently, it’s important to have the ideal bar size in your chainsaw is crucial. Read this comprehensive guide to choose the proper bar size for your chainsaw.

Install a New Oiler

If none of the above solutions work, you might need to install a new oiler.

Here’s how you can install the new oiler;

  • Remove the screws that hold the blade cover in place.
  • Remove the clutch from the clutch drum using a clutch tool.
  • Now, open the oil lid/filter and drain any remaining oil in the tank.
  • Open the underlying screws that hold the oiler in place.
  • Disconnect the elbow joint that connects the oil pickup tube to the chainsaw body.
  • Use needle-nose pliers to extract the tube.
  • Remove the gear from the spindle by gently prying it off with flat-head screwdrivers.
  • Reinstall the new oil pickup tube, gear, and oil pump.
  • Reinstall the accessories, such as the clutch, bar, and chains. And here you have it!

The lifespan of a new oiler installed in a chainsaw can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the replacement part, the frequency and intensity of use, and how well the chainsaw is maintained.

In general, a high-quality replacement oiler that is properly installed can last for many years of regular use. In contrast, a lower-quality part or improper installation can cause the oiler to fail sooner.

For the oiler to function and last as long as possible, it’s crucial to install and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tools Required In the Process

Depending on the solution, you will need a few tools to troubleshoot the oiler.


You’d need a wrench to remove and reinstall the chainsaw bar and chain. Your chainsaw’s size will determine the size of the wrench you require.


You’ll need both round-head and flat-head screwdrivers to remove the screws that hold the oil pump cover in place.

Needle-nose pliers

Needle-nose pliers are good for removing the oil pick-up tube and debris from the oiler line and adjusting the oiler nozzle.

Compressed Air or Shop vac

You might need a shop vac or air compressor to clear contaminants and debris from the oil tank or filter.

To avoid further damage, using the proper tools when repairing your chainsaw oiler is important.

Best Practices to Prevent Chainsaw Oiler Issues

Proper maintenance and care of your chainsaw can go a long way in preventing oiler malfunctions. Here are some best practices for avoiding oiler problems:

Use the Best Oil: Always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. The use of the incorrect oil can cause clogging and damage to the oil pump.

Keep Your Oil Tank Full: Running your chainsaw with insufficient oil can cause the chainsaw to get heat-up. So, keep it full.

Regular Cleaning: Regular cleaning is the key. It helps prevent the oil channels and outlet ports clear of debris.

Replace Worn Parts: If you notice any wear and tear in your chainsaw, make sure to replace those parts. This creates a huge difference. Because every component is interconnected, malfunctioning in any of them can cause problems.

Proper Bar/blade Installation: Ensure the chainsaw’s blade is properly installed. Also, it should be the right size for your chainsaw.


How do I fix the oiler on my chainsaw?

Remove the chainsaw’s bar and chain. Open all the screws or bolts holding the oiler in place. Remove the old oiler and install the new one.

Reinstall the screws or bolts to secure the new oiler. Replace the bar and chain. Check the chainsaw to ensure the new oiler is working properly and supplying the correct amount of oil to the bar and chain.

Why is the automatic oiler not working on a chainsaw?

There could be several reasons why an automatic chainsaw oiler isn’t working. A clogged oil hole, expired oil, a damaged oil pump, hoses, or fittings are all common causes.

To resolve this problem, you must first identify the underlying cause and then take appropriate steps to repair or replace the faulty components.

Is there any fix to repair the oiler on an electric chainsaw?

If the oiler on your electric chainsaw is not working, you may be able to repair it by diagnosing the issue. First, check for any debris clogging the oil hole and outlet port. If cleaning doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to replace the oil pump or line.

Ensure that you use the correct oil and fill the tank properly. If you need help fixing the oiler, seek professional assistance.

Why is my battery chainsaw oiler not working?

A clogged oil hole, a faulty oil pump, or low battery power can all cause the oiler on a battery-powered chainsaw to stop working.

Check the oil level and clean the oil hole and outlet port to troubleshoot this issue. If the problem persists, the oil pump or other faulty components may need to be replaced.

How do I resolve automatic oiler issues on a chainsaw?

To repair an automatic oiler on a chainsaw, first determine the problem’s root cause, such as a clogged oil hole, low oil level, or a faulty oil pump.

Then, repair or replace the faulty components as necessary, such as cleaning the oil hole and outlet port or replacing the oil pump. It’s also essential that you care and clean your chainsaw regularly to avoid oiler problems in the first place.

How do I troubleshoot oiling problems on a chainsaw?

To troubleshoot, first, check the oil level, hoses, and fittings for damage. Next, thoroughly clean the oil hole and outlet port to ensure they are not clogged.

If the problem persists, the oil pump or other parts may need to be replaced. Regular chainsaw maintenance and cleaning can also help prevent oiling issues.

Final Takeaways: Chainsaw Oiler Not Working

And here you have it!

You can fix most of the issues by figuring out their major cause. From clogged tank channels to contaminated oil pumps and everything in between, we’ve given you the lowdown on troubleshooting these problems.

And you can always install the new chainsaw oiler if the fixes are overwhelming.

But by taking prior care of your chainsaw’s oiler, you’ll save not only yourself some cash down the line but also the effort.

Patrick McMann