How to Oil a Chainsaw? A Guide to Keep Your Bar & Chain Oiled in 2022

Chainsaws are very handy for woodwork and can be used in a variety of wood-related tasks. They are easier to use and cut through wood with much more efficiency and ease than an axe.

If you are a beginner chainsaw user, then you need to learn the proper maintenance of chainsaws. Chainsaw requires regular maintenance and care to work efficiently.

Two types of oil are necessary for a chainsaw. One oil is for your engine that is mixed with fuel to lubricate parts of the motor.

The second oil is for the bar and chain, which is crucial to the longevity and high performance of the chainsaw. You must take care of these oil levels for the reliable working of your chainsaw.

In this article, we will discuss the bar and chain oil that is very important for the efficient working of a chainsaw.

Why a Chainsaw Needs Oiling?—What Would Happen If You Don’t?

The bar and chain are the primary parts of your chainsaw. Whether you have an electric chainsaw or a gasoline one, the bar and chain need regular lubrication.

A beginner might wonder why there is a need for lubrication and what would happen if you don’t provide it regularly.

The bar and chain of a chainsaw are in constant contact with one another, and hence need lubrication between them.

You must know that when two metal components are constantly rubbing against each other without lubrication, they produce high friction.

This high friction will not allow the chain to move easily and will produce a lot of heat because of rubbing between the components.

The lubrication removes that friction and allows for a smooth flow of chain over the bar. This provides you with efficient performance for hours of chainsaw use.

If you don’t oil these parts regularly, the chainsaw will work slower and consume much more fuel. Furthermore, the producing heat can also cause serious damage to the chainsaw parts, and the chainsaw might become useless.

Which Oil is Right for Lubricating a Chainsaw?

You might have read from different local sources that you can use different types of oil for lubricating your chainsaw, but it is not true for every circumstance.

We highly recommend that you use the chain oil that is specifically made for the purpose because it contains a substance called tackifier that provides necessary lubrication for the bar and chain.

One of the most misguided assumptions is that you can use old engine oil for lubrication. That is a very dangerous alternative as it can cause serious and unrepairable damage to your chainsaw.

The old oil contains debris and also its viscosity isn’t right for proper lubrication of bar and chain components.

However, there are certain chainsaw oil substitutes that you can use if you don’t have access to the originally recommended oil.

The Forest Departments often restrict the use of petroleum-based products when using a chainsaw in the forest. Hence, as an alternative, they have been allowed to use canola oil or vegetable oil in chainsaws.

However, these alternatives should be used as temporary substitutes and as soon as you have access to the original bar and chain oil, you should convert to that.

STIHL is an official US Chainsaw Brand that provides a high-quality bar and chain oil for your chainsaws. The STIHL chainsaw bar oil is very effective and ensures the smooth performance of your chainsaw.

Oiling Your Chainsaw—Step-by-Step Guide

It is very easy to oil a chainsaw as the device already has a reservoir that can store the oil and use it automatically as you use the chainsaw.

Similar to the fuel tank, there is also a bar and chain oil compartment that can be filled when needed.

Oftentimes, the chainsaw has an optimum bar and chain oil that it finishes at a similar time your fuel tank does so that you can fill them both together.

Here are the steps to fill bar and chain oil to your chainsaw:

Step 1:

Place your chainsaw on a leveled surface in such a way that bar is flat on the surface.

Step 2: 

Wait for a minute so that the oil settles, and then unscrew the cap of the bar and chain oil compartment.

Step 3: 

Use a funnel to fill the reservoir to its limit. Make sure not to overfill it.

Step 4: 

Once the oil is filled, clean the surrounding areas with a cloth and screw the cap back on.

Step 5: 

Your chainsaw is ready to be used again. Make sure to check the oil levels regularly and fill them when needed.

Just with these few steps and the right oil, your chainsaw will work efficiently for long years. Hence, with the right maintenance, you can improve the longevity and reliability of your chainsaw.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often do you oil a chainsaw?

The chainsaws are designed in such a way that one tank of bar and chain oil finishes consecutively with one tank of engine fuel. Hence, every time you fill the fuel tank, also refill the bar and chain oil reservoir.

2. What can you use to lubricate a chainsaw?

It is recommended that you use an official bar and chain oil to lubricate a chainsaw. However, you can also use vegetable and canola oil as temporary substitutes when working in forest regions.

3. Do you need to oil the chain on a chainsaw?

Yes, the oil on the chainsaw lubricates the bar and the chain that removes the friction between them. If you don’t use the oil, the friction can prove damaging to the chainsaw, will slow it down, and also consume more fuel.

Final Takeaways: How to Oil a Chainsaw?

The process of oiling a chainsaw is very simple. In this article, we have also explained why there is a need to oil a chainsaw and what are the disadvantages of not oiling it. Always use the recommended oil for year-round lubrication of chainsaws. You can use temporary substitutes, but don’t use them for longer periods, only in special case needs


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