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Why Read This Article?

  • Keep your chainsaw running like new.
  • Take care of simple repairs yourself to save money.
  • Improve tool efficiency.

Article Breakdown

Repair Information:

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

Frequency: Clean the saw after each use. Tune the saw yearly.

Cleaning the Chainsaw:

1. Remove chain brake cover.

2. Remove the chain and bar

3. Clean out the chain brake cover.

4. Wipe down the whole chainsaw.

Tuning the Chainsaw:

1. Remove the top cover.

2. Replace the spark plug.

3. Replace air filter.

4. Replace the fuel filter.

5. Sharpen the chain.

Reassembling the Chainsaw:

1. Reinstall the top cover.

2. Reinstall the bar and chain.

3. Re-tension the chain.


Tools & Materials

  • A scrench that fits your saw.
  • Long pliers or hemostats.
  • Carburetor cleaner and a shop rag.
  • A long screwdriver.

How to Tune and Maintain a Chainsaw

July 22, 2011
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This article outlines the proper techniques for cleaning and tuning your chainsaw. It explains how you can clean your saw and replace the air filter, fuel filter and spark plug as part of the saw's annual tune-up.

To keep your chainsaw running well, you should clean it regularly and perform a yearly tune-up. For the cleaning and tune-up you only need a basic set of tools, including a compatible scrench, and less than an hour of time.


By replacing the spark plug, fuel filter and air filter, you can ensure that your saw will keep cutting the way it was designed to. Remember to visit's lawn equipment product finder to find the tune-up parts made for your saw.

You will also want to read our article on sharpening your chainsaw chain. This is another important maintenance task that we do not cover in this article.


Cleaning the Chainsaw

You should clean the brake cover after each use to get the best performance from your saw. This is the biggest maintenance concern for chainsaws.

1. Remove the chain brake cover

Remove the nuts that hold the brake cover to your saw.


2. Remove the chain and bar

With the brake cover screws removed you can loosen and remove the chain and bar from your saw.


3. Clean out the chain brake

Spray carburetor cleaner on the sawdust and oil that has accumulated in the chain brake cover and sprocket areas.


Let the cleaner sit for five minutes then use your scrench to scrape the dirt from the saw.


4. Wipe down the whole chainsaw

Spray carburetor cleaner on a shop rag and use it to wipe down the cleaned chain brake cover.


You should also use carburetor cleaner and a shop rag to clean the bar and the exterior components of the chainsaw.

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Tuning the Chainsaw

Tuning your saw is as easy as cleaning it and will help keep it running in peak condition for years to come. Most saws only require a new spark plug, air filter, fuel filter and chain sharpening as part of the yearly tune-up.

1. Remove the top cover

Remove the three screws that hold the top cover to the chainsaw (some saws may have more or less than three screws). This will give you access to the air filter and spark plug.


2. Replace the spark plug

Remove the spark plug wire and unscrew the plug.


Then install the new spark plug, tighten it securely, and reinstall the boot.


3. Replace air filter

Remove the screw that holds the air filter to the chainsaw (some chainsaws may have more than one screw or may use clips) and remove the air filter from the chainsaw.


Be careful to keep dirt, dust or other debris out of the air inlet when you remove the filter. Then set the new filter in place and tighten down the screw.


4. Replace fuel filter

Turn the saw on its side so the fuel tank plug faces up and remove the plug.


Use a pair of hemostats or long pliers to pull the fuel line from the tank.


Remove the fuel filter from the end of the fuel line and install the new one.


Then just drop the filter back into the tank and secure the cap.


5. Sharpen the chain

While taking care of your annual chainsaw tune-up, you will also want to sharpen the chain. For more information on sharpening your chain, read our article, "Sharpening a Chainsaw Chain: Three Methods."

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Reassembling the Chainsaw

Once you have completed the tune-up, you can reassemble the saw.

1. Reinstall the top cover

Replace the top cover and tighten the screws.


2. Reinstall the bar and chain

Reinstall the chainsaw bar and chain.


Replace the chain brake cover and finger tighten the nuts--you will tighten them fully in the next step.


3. Re-tension the chain

Hold the chainsaw's nose up and use a screwdriver to turn the tension screw until the chain is tight.


The chain should never dangle from the bar. When you can move the chain without pulling the driver links away from the bar, the chain is properly tensioned.


While still holding the nose of the saw up, tighten the chain brake cover nuts.

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You can easily clean your chainsaw and give it a yearly tune-up with help from The repair takes less than an hour and you can access all the parts that need replacing by removing a few nuts and screws.

Remember to use our product search tool to find the spark plug, air filter and fuel filter designed for your chainsaw.


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