The longevity and efficiency of your chainsaw depend on regular maintenance. Tuning up a chainsaw is not difficult, but you must do it properly, both for your safety and for the machine. There are four major areas that you should check or tune up during the routine maintenance of your chainsaw. These are the spark plug, air filter, carburetor and chain.
Replace the Spark Plug
Before beginning any work on your chainsaw, ensure that it is off. Each time you perform maintenance on your chainsaw, you should check its spark plug. The spark plug is an integral part of the saw's functionality because it is responsible for starting the engine.
Over time, the spark plug can have damage due to excessive heat, oil or carbon deposits. To replace the spark plug, remove it with a socket wrench. Check its terminal for signs of corrosion or deposits. If the terminal is clean, install a new spark plug per the manufacturer's instructions. If it does not appear free of soiling or buildup, you will need to clean the terminal.
Check the Air Filter
If your chainsaw's air filter is clogged, it may not run smoothly. Take a look at the air filter while you are conducting your maintenance check. If the filter appears dirty, dusty or contains small debris, you can clean it by blowing air into it or banging it against the ground. Replace dirty filters that don't come clean through basic methods like these.
Maintain the Carburetor
For a chainsaw to operate properly, adjust its carburetor to factory specifications. Most saws have three adjustment screws on the carburetor. These include the throttle stop, high speed fuel adjustment and low speed fuel adjustment. For a carburetor to work properly, you have to adjust it correctly. Refer to your owner's manual for specific instructions, but generally, your chainsaw needs an appropriate combination of air and fuel to run efficiently, idle correctly and reduce engine smoke. You can tweak each control until you feel the chainsaw is running smoothly and without smoke.
While checking the carburetor, you should also wipe it clean with a rag and some carburetor cleaner. Remove grease and dirt for optimal performance.
Sharpen and Oil the Chain
The chain is your saw's most important part. Keeping it well-oiled and sharp will make every cut cleaner and smoother. Generally, if your chainsaw is removing large chips from the objects you are cutting, the chain is adequately sharp. However, if chips are small or you've noticed rougher cutting, you likely need to sharpen your chain. More than just an inconvenience, a dull chain can be dangerous, as it can lead to kickbacks during use.
It's best to take your chain to a professional for sharpening, as there is a certain finesse needed to ensure the chain is properly angled. If you do choose to sharpen it yourself, use a file and pass it through each chain tooth at an angle. Pass through only in one direction, and continue to do so until the chain is sharp.
You also need to oil the chainsaw from time to time. To keep this tool from overheating, ensure that the oil reservoir is full. A well-oiled chainsaw will not only run more smoothly, it will have a much longer life.