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How to Tune & Maintain a Chainsaw | DIY DIY Blog
How to Tune & Maintain a Chainsaw

How to Tune & Maintain a Chainsaw

With Spring here, and Summer quickly approaching, many people are bringing out their old tools to take on some new projects. One of the most important tools in any shed is a good, sturdy chainsaw. However, that old chainsaw might be getting pretty beat up, and that’s going to reduce performance. Follow these steps to get your saw working its best, and keep it that way.

You can view our video guide or our written guide below for this valuable information:



Keeping your chainsaw clean is the key to prolonging its life. Try to clean your chainsaw after every use for the best performance, specifically the inside of the chain break cover. This can be done by removing the two holds which hold the cover in place, and removing the cover.

Once removed, you will be able to see all the sawdust and oil that’s been stuck inside.

Move the bar chain out of the way, and remove the saw blade. You will now have full access to the sprocket area.

To begin cleaning, apply a bit of carburetor cleaner to all of the sawdust and oil that’s stuck on the saw. The cleaner will break down the oil, making it easier to remove. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then use a flat-blade screwdriver or other similar tool to scrape the gunk and debris away.

Now that the larger pieces have been removed, its time to get a bit deeper. Apply carburetor cleaner to a rag, and use it to wipe down everything. If you have an air compressor, you can also use the compressed air to blow particles away. You can then wipe down all surfaces of the saw to get it nice and clean.


Tune-ups should be done at least once a year, and more so if you use the saw frequently. Tuning up the saw consists of replacing the spark plug, the fuel filter, and the air filter.

Spark Plug/Air Filter

Remove the screws holding your top cover in place (this will depend on the model) and then remove the top cover. Now you are able to replace the spark plug.

Remove the spark plug boot, and unscrew the plug. Then thread your new plug in, and tighten it up. Now replace the spark plug wire.

From here we can move onto the air filter. Commonly there will be one or two screws to remove from the air filter, but some models may be different so check your owner’s manual to be sure. Remove whatever is holding in the filter, and then carefully remove the filter, ensuring no dust or dirt gets into the intake. Then set your new filter in place, and install it with the parts you just removed.

Fuel Filter

The fuel filter is located inside of the gas tank. To access it, remove the tank plug. The filter sits at the bottom of the tank on a piece of fuel line.

Using a pair of hemostats, fish the line out of the tank and you will be able to access the filter.

Simply pull it off of the fuel line, and replace it with your new fuel filter.

Sharpening the Chain

One more task you should keep in mind is sharpening your chain. For information on how to do this, please check out the following video.

Finishing up

Finally, you’ll want to reassemble your saw by putting all the parts back together.

The last step in this process is to re-tension the chain. Hold the nose of the bar up, and turn the tension screw until the chain comes up tight to the bar. You never want to see the chain dangle. You want to be able to move the chain but not pull the driver links away from the bar.

Once this is accomplished, you can tighten up the nuts.

There you have it. Your saw should be all ready to go for the season. If you are doing a tune-up soon, make sure to pick up the necessary Chainsaw Parts.
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