About Chainsaw Bar Oil

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If you're a homeowner with a chainsaw, there's a good chance you've done some of your own maintenance. Although taking your equipment to a professional is easier, it's also costly. That's why knowing how a chainsaw operates and the type of maintenance it requires is essential.

About Chainsaw Bar Oil
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What Is Chainsaw Bar Oil?

Just like most equipment with an engine, a chainsaw requires bar oil in order to run. Using a product designed for your chainsaw not only makes it run better, it also keeps it running longer. Chainsaw bar oil protects the chain and bar of all types of chainsaws against wear, rust and corrosion.

Typically, a gas chainsaw uses one tank of bar oil for each tank of gas used, so plan on replacing your bar oil every time you fill the tank with gas. When it's time to fill up, make sure the power is off, and then lay your chainsaw on a level surface with the bar-side down so that it lays flat. Unscrew the cap, add the oil, put on the cap, and wipe away any excess oil that might be dripping down the side. Replacing bar oil makes cutting easier, helps reduce friction and adds to the life of your chainsaw.

Are There Different Types of Chainsaw Bar Oil?

Yes, there are different types of bar oil you can purchase for your chainsaw. But most have "bar and chain oil" on the label or a blend made specifically for chainsaws to help extend the saw run more efficiently and extend the life of the machine. That's why it's important to check your owners' manual before purchasing and adding bar oil to your chainsaw. While there are some alternatives to specially blended bar oil (vegetable oil being the most popular alternative), most manufacturers will tell you to avoid using regular motor oil as bar oil.

What Weight of Chainsaw Bar Oil Should You Use?

The weight of the oil you choose depends on a variety of factors. If you're working in warmer weather, using thicker or heavier oil is better. But if you're working in the winter or cold weather, lighter oil will work.

Why the Difference?

Warmer weather can make oils watery while colder temperatures tend to make it thick. The thicker consistency in the summer helps the oil stick to the chainsaw. And in the winter when the weather is frigid, the thinner oil is easier to pour. Plus, it will still circulate even if you're freezing cold.


Sara Lindberg, B.S., M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on health, fitness, business, and education. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in exercise science and a Master's degree in counseling.

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