How to Fix a Stretched Chainsaw Chain in 5 Easy Steps?

fixing stretched chainsaw chain in 5 simple stepsStretching of the chainsaw chain is normal with time. When you buy a new chainsaw chain, it stretches a bit after the first use.

This stretch keeps increasing as much as you run the chain over the saw. Then, you need to keep tightening the chain more frequently.

If you worried about your stretched chainsaw chain, NO WORRIES! I am here to guide you regarding how to fix a stretched chainsaw chain. I will also be telling you about why the chainsaw chain gets stretched and when you should consider tightening it.

When a chainsaw is used, it goes through a lot of friction, that, of course, heats the chain. The heating causes the chainsaw chain to stretch.

Eventually, the chain gets stretched and it would not provide the same efficient service to you as it used to. So, be with me and learn how to fix it as follows:

How to Fix a Stretched Chainsaw Chain in 5 Easy Steps?

First of all, why do you need to fix a stretched chainsaw chain? I know the reason. It is because your chain goes through thermal expansion and consequently it gets loose over the bar. Right? Which can be very dangerous as the chain can slip from the chainsaw bar.

Let me tell you that a stretched chainsaw chain cannot be unstretched by any means. However, you can prevent the hazards that it may cause by some other means. In some simple steps, I will tell you about how you can fix a stretched chainsaw chain. So let us get started.

Step 1:

The first step is to check your chainsaw chain tension. You can do it by pulling out a chain off the bar. If it easily comes out and drive links are easily leaving from the bar nose, it means it needs to be fixed. But if upon pulling, it comes out a bit and does not leave the bar nose, then you can still use the chain without tensioning.

Step 2:

You will get to the second step if the chain is stretched to the extent that it no more has a grip over the gas chainsaw bar. In the second step, you will lose the nuts on the side panel of the guide bar.

Step 3:

Then, you need to check for the brakes as some electric chainsaws have them directly attached to the side panel. In this case, first, unlock the brake and then remove the side panel.

Step 4:

Then, find the tension adjustment screw which is mostly located at the side of the chainsaw guide bar. Move the screw in the clockwise direction to make a good grip on the chain over the saw. Keep doing this until the chain is neither too tight nor loose.

Step 5:

Once your chainsaw chain gets a good grip over the bar then put the side panels back on the bar.

Done with all five steps? Bravo, you have fixed your stretched chainsaw chain.

Take a look at how Sticky’s Situation fixes a stretched chain of his chainsaw:

Can You Shorten a Stretched Chainsaw Chain?

Most people ask the question can you shorten a stretched chainsaw. Unfortunately, it is not possible because when a chainsaw chain is used, it continuously breaks in and wears out throughout the operation. And if you want it not to stretch, then it is not possible just like you cannot turn back raisins to grapes.

However, you need to tighten the chainsaw chain on the guide bar and you can do that. Also, you must have to keep the chainsaw chain properly tensioned. Otherwise, it can cause a lot of trouble and even serious injuries.

How to Shorten a Stretched Chainsaw?

A chainsaw chain cannot be brought back to its original position with regard to its stretching. But, if your chainsaw chain is too big and you want to reduce its length to the size of the bar, then yes you can do that. Let me tell you how.

If your chainsaw chain has a master link, as nowadays they are having master links, then it is quite easier to shorten it. After cooling down and removing the spark plug, look for the master link. It is easy to identify as it is distinct from all the other links, usually, it is of a different color.

After finding the master link, remove it and then remove the links according to the desired length. Then, reconnect the chain. It is also easy, you just need to attach the master link with the ending link on the opposite side. And here you are done with shortening the chainsaw chain.

Why Does My Chainsaw Chain Stretch So Fast?

In the initial uses of your brand new chainsaw chain, you can experience a noticeable stretch after every use. This is because the new chain is tight and upon heating due to friction, it expands. After some time of use, your chain would not stretch much after use.

In the first few uses, you need to tension the chainsaw chain after every use as the stretching causes it to lose grip over the bar. Then, in the middle or peak time of your chain usage, you might need to tension it after two uses. However, this depends upon the duration you are using the chain.

Similarly, when your battery chainsaw chain gets too old, again you feel a significant stretch in the chain. It is an indication for buying a new chainsaw chain. It is because of the reason that an old chain stretches a lot and it can cause chain slip for the saw. In this case, you can get a severe injury as the result. Bear in mind that a chainsaw can easily cut through a bone.

Do Chainsaw Chains Stretch Over Time?

Yes, a chainsaw chain stretches with time because the friction during the cutting operation causes heat. Consequently, the chain experience thermal expansion. Nevertheless, proper maintenance and timely lubrication of the chain prevent this stretching.

Technically speaking, chainsaw chains are not stretched. It is just that the continuous wear and tear remove material from the links and it creates space between them. Resultantly, a gap is created between the loops which are regarded as chainsaw chain stretching.

Last Words:

That was all about how to fix a stretched chainsaw chain. I hope the detailed guide will help you with your queries. I told you that a chainsaw chain cannot be unstretched by any means. Yet, you can solve the troubles it may cause by following the steps that I have mentioned above.

Moreover, as far as the matter of shortening a chainsaw chain is concerned, so you should never go for shortening a chain due to stretching issues. The chain should only be shortened in the condition when it is bigger than the size of the saw. Shortening a stretched and worn-out chain can cause dangerous outcomes.


Richard McMann

Richard lives out in the wild with his other half, Diana Richard. He tests chainsaws based on his personal experience and loves to share their nitty gritty details with his audience. Although Richard does focus on other home improvement tools, his focus remains on cutting fallen trees or maintaining his backyard via chainsaw tools. He pledges to come up with new knowledge about chainsaws every once in a while. Explore Details About Richard