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This Is How Often Your Chainsaw Needs Bar Oil

This Is How Often Your Chainsaw Needs Bar Oil

If you often use your chainsaw, you need to perform regular maintenance on it. For example, you’ll have to apply bar oil to adequately lubricate it. But how often does your chainsaw need bar oil?

You should top up your chain and bar oil reservoir every time you fill up the gas tank. There is no need to oil the bar manually since there is a mechanism in the machine that delivers oil to the bar and chain. Ensure that the bar oil reservoir is filled before using the chainsaw.

In the rest of this article, I will discuss how to properly oil your bar and chain. I’ll discuss how often you need to do this and some additional info that will come in handy if you own a chainsaw. So without further ado, let’s get spinning. 

How Often Should You Add Bar Oil to a Chainsaw?

Before I go into the nitty-gritty of applying bar oil to your chainsaw, I think it’s worth reviewing how your chainsaw works. The two major parts that help in cutting are the chain and the bar that the chain runs over. 

Since both components are made of metal, the chain driving over the bar creates a lot of friction. If there’s too much friction, at least one of the metal components will get damaged. That’s where the bar oil comes in: It helps your chainsaw run smoothly at full throttle while keeping potential damage to a minimum.  

A good rule of thumb is to fill up the bar oil reservoir every time you top up the gas. It’s also a good idea to check the bar oil reservoir before using the chainsaw (source).

Signs That Reflect Low or No Oil in the Bar Oil Reservoir

If you keep using your chainsaw without doing any maintenance whatsoever, you’ll run into trouble sooner or later. For example, you can usually tell if your chainsaw’s bar oil is low or empty when the following signs show up.

  • The chainsaw is consuming more gas than normal. If you notice that your chainsaw is using up more fuel than usual, this can be a sure sign of low or no bar oil in the reservoir. You can easily avoid this by checking the bar oil reservoir every time you add fuel. 
  • The chainsaw runs slower than usual. This happens because there isn’t enough bar oil to lubricate the bar and chain. Due to the lack of lubricant, there’s increased friction, which results in a slow-moving chain. 
  • The chain runs hotter than usual. Since the metal chain is rotating against the metal bar without any lubricant, it will increase the temperature of the chain and could damage your tool (source).

What Happens if You Run Your Chainsaw Without Bar Oil?

I get it: Checking your chainsaw’s bar oil can seem like another unnecessary thing you need to do. But if you take a few minutes to make sure your chainsaw is properly lubricated, you can avoid issues like the ones below. 

Increased Wear on Your Bar and Chain

When you don’t have enough oil running through the chain and bar, it increases friction, resulting in heat buildup. These, in turn, will wear out the parts much more quickly. You might even have to get your bar and chain replaced sooner than usual. 

Specifically, heat buildup can break the chain teeth and stretch the chain out more quickly. If you find yourself having to tighten the chain more frequently than you’d like, it’s likely that the chain has already suffered some damage. 

Another sign to look for is the increased damage on your bar, where you make contact while cutting. If you notice that your chainsaw bar is being eaten away from the bottom, it’s because it needs lubrication (source).

Increased Engine Load

I’ve already talked about how the lack of lubrication affects the chain and bar directly. Another consequence of too much friction is that your engine has to work harder to rotate the chain around the bar.  As a result, you’re putting a lot of unnecessary strain on your engine, causing a breakdown. 

Keep a close eye on how your machine reacts when it makes contact with what you’re cutting. If you feel the engine is struggling, stop and check the bar oil reservoir.

What To Do if You’re Not Getting Lubricant in Your Bar

Suppose you do everything right, like checking the bar oil reservoir before operating your chainsaw. But for some odd reason, you’re not getting enough or any bar oil out on the chain. 

When this happens, your oil pump may be damaged or you have sawdust stuck inside and around the chain sprocket (source). Because the sawdust has infiltrated the inner workings of your machine, it could be clogging up the oiler hole. The oiler holes are responsible for supplying bar oil to the channel on the bar

To fix this, you’d have to remove the clutch cover and thoroughly clean the inside and the oiler holes to ensure that oil can freely flow out to the chain. You should also run a thin screwdriver through the oil channel on the bar to remove anything that might be getting in the way of the oil (source).

If you want to prevent this issue from spiraling out of control, you should check the oiler holes now and then. If you use your chainsaw regularly or for long periods of time, do this inspection as often as you can. 

In case you need recommendations for a good bar oil to use, do a quick search for Bar & Chain Oil on Amazon (link to Amazon). This particular brand is designed such that it can withstand extreme temperatures (i.e., you don’t have to worry about your oil freezing during winter). Also, you can use it for other power tools like hedge trimmers.  

Sometimes your chainsaw uses too much bar oil. Check out my guide to learn why it happens and how to fix the issue.


Always do your due diligence and check the oil level every time you refuel. Your bar oil should run for roughly as long as your gas tank can. Otherwise, you’re looking at a hefty repair bill that could’ve been avoided with regular maintenance.

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