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How to replace chainsaw chain

A chainsaw chain will wear out over time and need to be replaced. If you just use your saw for small pruning jobs then the occasional replacement may not be an issue. But for those of us who cut a lot of wood or firewood, it’s a must. You might even have a spare chain around the garage just in case. But you should also know how to replace a chainsaw chain.

The process is actually pretty simple and you don’t need to be a handyman to do it. The following guide will take you through the steps and give you enough knowledge to tackle the project. It helps you in replacing the chain of your best chainsaw, even if it’s your first time. Let’s get started!

Tips on how to replace a chainsaw chain

There are a few steps you need to take before you even start replacing the chain.

Firstly, some chainsaw bars are made for certain size chains so make sure your new chain matches your bar.

Second, it’s usually a good idea to give your saw a quick check-up first – maybe replace some blades or sharpen the chain if needed.

Finally, make sure you have some lubricating oil handy.

Before replacing the chain, ensure your chainsaw is cool and unplugged. This is important to keep yourself safe while working on it. Your chainsaw needs to be cool as well, you can’t fit a new chain on a hot saw.

Replacing chainsaw chain

Tools Required:

  • A new chain
  • Lubricating oil
  • Wrench with Phillips screwdriver bit
  • Work gloves


Here are a few easy steps you should follow for how to replace a chainsaw chain.

Step 1: Inspect the old, worn-out chain. If it shows any signs of damage or wears then replace it. Also, make sure you have all the parts for your chainsaw including a new sprocket.

Step 2: Once you are confident that everything is in place, disconnect your saw from the power source and set up a flat surface for when the bar starts to bend. Some people use a flat piece of wood or concrete, and place the surface on some bricks or something that will safely hold it.

Step 3: Position the blade so you can work with the lower and upper guide rolls without any trouble. Now remove all three screws with a screwdriver or a Phillips screwdriver bit in your wrench.

Step 4: Separate the bar and sprocket by pulling them apart. The sprocket might come loose but that’s no problem. Just make sure you keep everything organized so you get it back together properly (and don’t lose any parts).

Replacing Chain From Bar

Step 5: Using your fingers, carefully remove the old chain. Once it’s gone, you can see your bar and how much wear and tear there is on it.

Step 6: Apply lubricating oil to the guide rollers if needed (not too much or else it will drip onto the bar). Put the new chain on, making sure you follow the direction of rotation marked in the bar. Make sure the links are properly aligned and that there aren’t any tangles (if you’re not confident about this then check the guide on your saw).

Step 7: Replace all three screws with a screwdriver or Philips bit in your wrench. Once they are back in place, simply slide the sprocket over the bar until it’s properly in place.

Step 8: You can now remove the bar from your work surface and check for any tightness issues with the chain. If you find any problems then adjust the tension until it fits well.

Step 9: If everything looks good, reconnect your saw to the power source and test that it’s working right. This is the perfect time to also check that the chain is cutting well by slicing through some larger branches.

Step 10: Once you are confident it’s working, get back to work!

That’s all there is to it, with a few simple steps and easy-to-follow instructions, you can really save yourself some money (and headaches) next time your saw needs a new chain.

If you’re uncomfortable changing chains yourself, it’s worth noting that many chainsaws actually come with their own tool to help you do so. You might need to buy this separately but since replacing the chainsaw chain is a pretty common operation, the cost for this extra bit of kit shouldn’t be too much. It’s definitely worth getting if you do a lot of woodcutting or firewood preparation. Changing chains can be something that needs to be done every few months.

How to keep chainsaw chain running smoothly

There are a few things you can do to keep your chainsaw running smoothly. It’s worth making sure the bar is always clean and oiled so it doesn’t get clogged up with sap or other debris, for example. A good way to do this is with a metal brush that simply attaches right onto the bar. It’s also a good idea to oil your chain from time to time, just drip the oil onto the chain and let it work its magic.


Q: What are some common problems with changing the chainsaw chain?

A: Some chains are intentionally made to be hard to replace – they might have screws that require unusual tools or parts that are difficult to remove. It’s always best to check the manual for your saw beforehand and if you’re still having trouble then go ahead and call a local service.

Q: How can you prevent mistakes when changing chains?

A: Make sure you have all the parts to the chainsaw including the new sprocket on hand before you start working. Also, clean your saw by removing any dirt or debris that might have accumulated during use – this will help you get everything out easily and not waste any time.

Q: When should you change the chainsaw chain?

A: Chains need to be changed once they show signs of wear and tear – if it’s starting to bend or if there are cracks then you should really get a new one as soon as possible. It’s also very important that you replace your chain before it breaks and damages the bar, guide rolls, and even your saw.

Q: Do you need a special tool to replace chains?

A: No, you don’t – every saw is different but they all have similar parts that make it easy to change. The sprocket might require a special tool (like a wrench) but the other parts shouldn’t pose any trouble.

Q: How often should you change the chain of chainsaws?

A: Chains need to be changed out after they have been used for about 100 hours of cutting time. If you only use your saw sparingly then it might last longer, but if you are using it regularly then you will probably want to replace it about once a season.

Q: How to know if a chainsaw chain is broken?

A: If your saw makes even the smallest of sounds when it’s running then there might be something wrong with the chain. There are also ways to check for cracks or other issues on the bar and guide rollers, but cracked chains are large red flags so if you see any indicators at all then it’s best to change out your chain.


Replacing your chainsaw chain is not only easy but it can save you some money in the long run. Keeping an eye on how much wear and tear your saw has will make replacing the chain more regular, but if your saw starts to act up then find a quick solution as soon as possible.

If you follow these above-mentioned steps then you should be able how to replace the chainsaw chains with little effort.

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