How to maintain and store your chainsaw

As the number one selling brand of chainsaws globally, STIHL tools have been delivering legendary performance since 1926. Nevertheless, professional arborists and property owners know that a split second cutting in dirty wood is all it takes to dull your saw chain. For those who demand the utmost in reliability, regular maintenance becomes all the more important.

Whether you’re a battery convert or petrol user, your chainsaw will last and perform better if you take the time to maintain, store and service it correctly.  

MAINTENANCE BEFORE USE 

STIHL dealers recommend performing regular maintenance and cleaning your tool after every use. It’s the best way to ensure that your chainsaw provides the very best cutting performance and will last for many years to come. 

Before using your tool, check that it is safe. Start with a visual check: can you see any damage on the chainsaw or its controls? Are the guide bar, saw chain, chain catcher correctly fitted? 

Test the throttle trigger, throttle trigger lockout, choke knob, stop switch, chain break and master control lever (subject to model). Is the chain properly lubricated? 

Check whether the fuel tank cap and the oil tank cap are sealed. There must not be any fuel leaking from the chainsaw.

If something isn’t right and a repair is needed, take the chainsaw to your local STIHL dealer to look at.

If your chainsaw is in good working order, the next step is to check your saw chain is sharp. You can tell by the size of the sawdust – big chips mean your chain is sharp, small chips and dust) means the teeth are dull. If your chainsaw is in need of a sharpen, try the STIHL 2-in-1 file holder. With 30 degree sharpening angle guides, it’s the easy way to achieve precision every time. You can also pair with a stump vice to sharpen your chainsaw on the go. 

MAINTENANCE AFTER USE 

Cleaning after every use is the most important maintenance measure to keep your chainsaw in great condition. That’s because it picks up resin, sawdust and other substances which, in combination with the chain lubricant, can soon cause real problems: resin accumulates and hardens, and can eventually make its way into the housing and guide bar

Regular cleaning helps to combat premature wear to your chainsaw guide bar and saw chain. To get them properly clean, first remove the saw chain and the guide bar. 

Next, remove oil residue and dirt from the oil outlet port and channel, then clean the oil inlet hole and the bar groove. You can use a filing gauge for this, or a high-quality resin solvent like STIHL VarioClean. The water-based, alkaline detergent will dissolve and remove organic oil residues, cleaning your air filters and housings. 

You should also clean the guide bar (the sprocket nose, the oil inlet hole, the oil outlet channel and the bar groove), the chain sprocket cover, the cylinder fins and the inside of the shroud and the filter cover.

STIHL dealers advise turning over and, if necessary, deburring the guide bar each time you change or sharpen the chain.

To clean the housing, wipe it down with damp cloth. For battery chainsaws, you should also use a damp cloth to clean both the battery and the battery slot. A paintbrush is useful for cleaning electrical contacts. 

After breaking in a new saw chain, check the chain tension and make sure the chain is always lubricated.

ONGOING CHAINSAW MAINTENANCE

There are various additional maintenance measures that you need to carry out at different intervals. These measures will differ between electric, battery and petrol models – a few key points are listed below. 

Electric chainsaws: These have a simpler construction than petrol tools, so they require fewer cleaning and maintenance steps. 

  • Remove shavings and dust from the whole chainsaw (use a soft brush, paintbrush or resin solvent like STIHL Superclean.
  • Clean the sprocket area with a damp cloth or resin solvent. 
  • Clean the bar groove. 
  • Remove any burrs forming on the bar groove. 
  • Clean the chainsaw ventilation slits with a paintbrush. 

Battery chainsaws: As well as the measures listed above, battery chainsaw require the following additional measures: 

  • Remove foreign bodies from the battery slot and clean the battery slot with a damp cloth.
  • Clean the electrical contacts in the battery slot with a paintbrush or soft brush.

Petrol chainsaws: If you have a petrol chainsaw, there are a few other maintenance considerations to keep in mind: 

  • Check that the fuel and chain lubricant tanks are sealed and that no fuel or lubricant is leaking from them.
  • Regularly clean the air filter and the air filter housing.
  • Check the spark plug for wear and remove any soot on a regular basis.

For maintenance instructions specific to your chainsaw model, always check the operating instructions supplied with your STIHL tool.

STORING YOUR CHAINSAW 

To ensure your tool can perform at its best, follow these instructions before storing: 

  • If your chainsaw uses petrol, empty the fuel tank in a well-ventilated place into an approved container and then clean it. Remember to drain the carburettor first, to prevent the carburettor diaphragms from sticking together. (After emptying the tank, start and run saw until the saw stalls) 
  • Dismantle the chainsaws by removing the chain and guide bar. Clean then spray with protective oil such as STIHL MULTISPRAY.
  • Store your chainsaw (as well as any battery and charger) in a dry place that is well ventilated and protected from the weather. Avoid direct sunlight as UV rays can create UV embrittlement. Keeping it outdoors is not advisable.
  • Your chainsaw should always be packed away in a dust-free environment. STIHL offers purpose-built cases to protect your machine – these are available in small, medium and large sizes so there’s a case for every model. 
  • Always store your chainsaw out of reach of other people, especially children. The best place to store it is in a lockable room or cupboard.

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR STIHL CHAINSAW 

There are a number of benefits when it comes to using STIHL genuine accessories. 

Stay protected: Helmet sets, gloves, protective pants and chaps provide a high level of protection for chainsaw users. Chainsaw cases are the best way to protect the tool itself, especially when transporting. 

Be prepared: Experience Swiss precision with a pre-stretched STIHL saw chain. Featuring Oilomatic drive links which channel oil directly into the rivets, reducing friction and wear. High quality STIHL guide bars are also available, with a sealed bearing in the nose sprocket for a lifetime of lubrication. 

Optimise performance: STIHL MotoMix high performance pre-mixed 2-Stroke fuel can be stored up to 2 years and has excellent cold start properties. For lubrication, try HP Ultra 2-Stroke oil or BioPluschain oil, all available from your local STIHL dealer.  

SERVICING YOUR CHAINSAW 

It’s a good idea to service your chainsaw once yearly at your local STIHL dealer. They are well-equipped to educate you on regular maintenance and help keep your tools running optimally. 

Not only that, STIHL-trained mechanics use genuine STIHL parts, ensuring your tools remain a pleasure to use for years to come.