How To Tell When a Chainsaw Chain is Worn Out?

Whether you are a professional logger or a home owner, you need a well functioning chain to deliver precise cuts effortlessly. A well-maintained chain will make the chain saw work fast and efficiently. Maintaining the chain well also will extend its lifespan and make it safe and effective to use.

There are many maintenance issues that affect the performance of a chain.

Common Chain Maintenance Issues

First, establish if the problem is caused by maintenance issues. Proper maintenance will ensure that your chainsaw is working as designed. Therefore, before replacing the chain, first, ensure that its performance is not being affected by other factors.

Also Read: How to Replace Trimmer Line – A Step-By-Step Guide

Besides that, ensure that the chain is receiving oil well and it is well lubricated. The chain needs to be well oiled to function properly. Sawdust and other dirt can block oil delivery to the chain, so clean it up well.

Also, check to ensure that it has sufficient fuel. Besides that, always ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions in maintaining the chain by using the correct grade of oil and type of chain saw oil.

Secondly, ensure that the chain is not dull. Sharpen the chain saw using the manufacturer’s recommended tools and monitor if there is an improvement in the performance of the chain.

Another issue that can cause a chain not to function to its optimum is when the tension is not correct. A well functioning chain should rotate smoothly. In this regard, check to ensure that the chain is tight well and it is neither too tight nor too loose.

Also if you recently replaced a part in the chain, it could be the wrong part and responsible for the inefficiency. Other factors that affect the performance of a chain saw include the type of wood that you are cutting. Maybe you purchased a chain saw that cannot handle hard wood.

Also, the weather can contribute to the performance of your chain saw. Some chain saws are affected by bad weather. Please note that if a chain saw is not well maintained, sharpening the chain will not restore its performance.

Indeed, no matter how durable a chain is and well-maintained it is, it will still go through the normal wear and tear process and will soon need replacement.

Signs of a Worn Chain in a Chainsaw


Chain durability is determined by many factors. The quality of chains differs from one manufacturer to another, and this makes some chains to be more durable than others. If it is an old chain, then it must need replacement.

Although it is difficult to estimate how long a chain will last, however, its durability depends on how much cutting the machine does. Worth noting is that a chain is not like a blade that can endure many seasons of sharpening. It is limited to the number of times it can be sharpened which still varies depending on many other factors but it rarely exceeds ten times before the chain needs to be replaced.

Therefore, if your chain has been sharpened more than five times, chances are that the chain saw loop cannot be sharpened anymore and now you need to replace the chain.

Damaged or Missing Teeth

If your chain saw is malfunctioning, or it is long since the chain was replaced, then inspect the teeth of the chain. If it has missing or damaged teeth, the problem can only be resolved with purchasing a new chain. Please avoid using the machine until you have replaced the chain.

Ineffective Cutting 

The chain is designed to automatically bite into the wood and cut it effortlessly if it is well sharpened. Also during cutting, it is supposed to eject wood chips and not sawdust. If it fails to bite the wood effectively and it takes too much effort to get the chain into the wood, then the chain must need replacement. More so, if it spits out sawdust instead of wood chips, then it has a problem. A chain saw was never meant to be manually operated, and the sooner you replace the chain, the better for you to work efficiently.

Crooked Cuts

A chain is designed to cut straight, and it is quite dangerous to use a chain saw that is not cutting precisely when felling trees. If your chain is not cutting straight, inspect it for replacement.


Smoke during cutting usually signifies that there is friction during cutting that causes a heat build-up. It is not advisable to work with a smoking chainsaw because it damages the chainsaw eventually. Smoke also distracts you from working and can block you from seeing how the chainsaw is cutting.

For that matter, if you have cleaned the chain well, if it is well lubricated, if it has the correct tension, and it is well sharpened, then the chain should not smoke. If it smokes when in use, then the chain may need to be replaced. Never use a smoking chain saw, make it a point to fix the problem first before you can use the chain saw again.

A Shaky Chain Saw During Cutting

Blade positioning is important when working with a chain saw. However, this may be hindered by a worn out chain. When the chainsaw rattles and bounces during cutting, it makes it difficult to position the chain saw and get precise cuts. If this happens then inspect the chain for possible replacement.

Final Remarks

Replacing the chain of the chainsaw is part of the maintenance process of your machine. A malfunctioning chain is a safety concern, and therefore, the chain saw should not be used until the problem has been fixed. And if you are not so sure about whether you should replace the chain or not, you may want to call a technical expert at chainsaw machines for a second opinion.

Above all, when shopping for a chain saw, remember that there are great and durable chains in the market that are manufactured by reliable manufacturers. Try to do your shopping well. Also, when buying a new chain, you need to check to ensure that you get the right sizing that fits your machine.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: