How to Tell When a Chainsaw Chain is Worn Out?

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Most people love chainsaws because of its versatility. Chainsaws can be used to do various things like cutting down trees, pruning heavy bushes, trimming branches, removing stumps, and trimming limbs. Most people are concerned about their tool’s power, but they keep forgetting that the reason for such power is the chainsaw chain. Having a sharp chainsaw chain helps your tools to be more powerful and lets you cut through things with ease, precision, saves you energy and time. A bad chain can lead to a bad experience using a chainsaw as it can be stressful, inefficient, and sometimes dangerous. However, the first and best thing to do is to get a durable chain for your chainsaw. But with time, even the strongest and most durable chains get weak after frequent use and become dull, thereby losing its sharpness. Most people find it difficult to know when a chainsaw chain is worn out, but we would help you have an idea in this article. You can observe a few signs to determine if it is time to change your chainsaw chain. Below are a few signs that mean it is time to change your chain

Cutting ability

When the teeth of your chainsaws chain are sharp, it makes cutting easy. A sharp chainsaw easily splits the wood you are trying to cut through. While cutting through, the chainsaw tends to bring out wafer-like wood chips. In situations where you notice that you are exerting more energy than required trying to get the tool through the wood, and you notice the chain bringing out sawdust instead of the usual wood chips, then this is a sign that your chainsaws chain is worn out and needs changing.


When it comes to your chainsaw’s performance, it is expected that it should be fluid and smooth. You might be wondering how achieving a smooth, fluid experience is possible with all the friction gpoing on while using your chainsaw. If there is proper lubrication between your chains system and the tension is just at the right place, there should be a smooth and fluid experience because your chainsaw should cope with the friction. While using your chainsaw, if there is ever an instance where you notice any smoke, it is not a good sign. When there is smoking coming out while using your chainsaw, it means the blade’s teeth are dull, causing the heat to build-up due to the excess friction. The excess heat and smoke can cause a lot of damage to your chainsaw, and it also affects the efficiency of your chainsaw. So, whenever you see smoke coming from your chainsaw, it means the time to sharpen your chain.

Bad performance and cut

When your chainsaw is sharp and functioning properly, then you should expect it to give your precise and accurate cuts. But once there are uneven teeth in your chainsaws, then you will start to notice deeper cuts on one side of your wood. Another way to notice this is by noticing how your tool feels in your hand while in operation. While in operation, if you notice any rattling or bouncing back in your direction, then this is a sign that the chain needs to be replaced and, in some cases, changed.

Replacing your chainsaw’s chain

Once you have followed the steps above, you should know if your chainsaws chain is worn out and needs changing or sharpening. Now, if it needs changing, then comes another task. This section of the article would help you through the necessary steps required to change a chainsaw chain. You should see changing your chainsaws chain as the maintenance that is necessary to help get the best out of your tool. Some of the tools you would need to carry out this process include a wrench usually attached to most chainsaws when purchased. Other instruments include a socket wrench and a flathead screwdriver.

Once you have your tools ready, the first step will be in the guide bar. You will need to takeout the side panel. While taking out the panel, you will need to use your wrench because the side panel has two nuts that are holding it together. Once you are done removing the nuts, you can now take off the plates to have access to the chain. Some chainsaws have brakes attached to the side plates, so you need to pay attention to that, and if you notice that yours has one, you need to unlock them before you remove the side plate.

Once the side plate is off, the next step will be to in the guide bar. You will need to pull the guide bar away from the tool, and in doing so, you have to release it from the tensioner. The second step is to remove tension from the chain, making it easy to remove. Now is time to remove the chain, and some people might find this difficult or technical. If you follow our directions in this process, you will remove the chain easily. One main thing that is important in this process is the slack; you will need to work with it. Once you work your way with the slacks, you should be able to pull the drive links away from the guide bar. Once that is achieved, you will be able to slip the other end of the chain above the clutch drum in your chainsaw, and that is means the old chain has been removed.

Once you are done removing the old chain, then it is time to fix the new chain. We would be providing you with the steps you need to make this process easy for you. The first step involves using a flathead screwdriver; the screwdriver would remove the tensioning screw. The tensioning screw is usually located inside the guide bar and needs to be loosened with the screwdriver. You can now get the new chain you want to fix and thread it around the clutch drum. The aim is to make sure the drive links are together with the sprocket. The remaining link can be threded above the guide bar’s nose and through the guide bars groove. Once you are done with the linking, you will need to add some tension. You can add some tension by pulling the guide bar’s nose away from the tool’s housing. Once the guide bar is properly fixed, and in the right position, you can now put back the side plate and use the screws lightlely leaving room for the tensioning screw’s adjustment. Once the tensioning screw is in its proper settings, you can now properly tighten the side plate, and your chainsaw is ready for use.


In the article above, we have taken you through the steps needed to help identify if your chainsaws chain is worn out and how to replace it easily. We know how important the chainsaw is, and that is why we have come up with this article to help you have a better experience while using your chainsaw. For beginners or people who have no idea what the numbers on a chainsaw mean, you can check out (What Do the Numbers On a Chainsaw Chain Mean?)‘.