How to Properly Maintain your STIHL Chainsaw

How to Properly Maintain your STIHL Chainsaw - Gilford Hardware & Outdoor Power Equipment
☠ The #1 enemy of STIHL Chainsaws is Ethanol in Gas ☠

Used to Improve octane and lower pollutants, ethanol is a form of alcohol that is frequently added to gasoline. Ethanol in gas can have only minor affects on a chainsaw when used sparingly. However, ethanol in gas can harm a chainsaw's engine and chain when used in high proportions. There are a number of reasons why ethanol is bad for your STIHL Chainsaw

Risk of engine damage is increased because ethanol can corrode engine internals and harm fuel systems. Too much ethanol can damage carburetors and fuel filters over time. 

Ethanol might make it difficult to start the chainsaw and can cause it to stall. Ethanol can also reduce overall fuel efficiency and increase fuel usage while reducing the chainsaws power and performance. 

Ethanol can shorten the lifespan of a chainsaw by making it wear out more quickly. To avoid these detrimental effects on your chainsaw, it's critical to choose gasoline that has no more than 10% ethanol.

Check the Chain!

STIHL Chain Maintenance ⚡

Maintaining a sharp chain is important since a dull chain can make the chainsaw work harder and increase the likelihood of kickback. This can be done through sharpening using a file or purchasing a new STIHL chainsaw chain. Don't forget to Adjust the chain tension by checking it: The chainsaw may vibrate excessively and the chain may come off the bar due to a loose chain.

Cutting wood can be a frustrating and painstaking task with a dull chainsaw chain. It takes longer to cut through each piece, and it may result in risky kickbacks and shoddy cuts. For safe and effective cutting, it's imperative to keep your chainsaw chain sharp. But how do you know when it's time for a new chain or a sharpening?

Difficulty Cutting 

Having trouble cutting through wood is one of the most obvious signs that your chainsaw chain is dull. It's likely that your chain needs to be sharpened if you find that you need to exert more effort and force to cut through each piece. Additionally, there might be a discernible slowdown in cutting speed.

Uneven or Rough Cuts

Uneven or rough cuts are another sign that the chain on your chainsaw is worn out. If the wood is being shredded or torn instead of cut cleanly, your chain is probably dull and needs to be sharpened. This can also lead to cuts that are wavy or not even.

Strong or Abnormal Vibrations 

Vibrations can also be caused by a chainsaw chain that is not sharp. As the chain wears down, it can make the saw vibrate more than usual, making it hard to control and causing you to get tired. If your saw is shaking more than usual, it's probably because the chain is dull and needs to be sharpened.

Too much sawdust

Lastly, a chainsaw chain that is too dull can also make a lot of sawdust. When a chain is sharp, it should make small, easy-to-clean sawdust. But if the chain is worn out, it can make bigger pieces of sawdust that are harder to clean up. This is another sign that your chain has become dull and needs to be sharpened.

Pay Attention!

If you pay attention to the signs of a dull chain, like difficulty cutting, cuts that are rough or uneven, more vibration, and a lot of sawdust, you can easily tell when it needs to be sharpened. With the right sharpening or replacing the chain every cut will be smooth and effective, just like the first day you bought it. 

STIHL Chainsaw Storage 

STIHL MS271 Chainsaw Storage Gilford Hardware

When storing your STIHL Chainsaw over long periods of non-use, run the chainsaw until the gasoline tank is completely empty, or apply a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel from spoiling. 

Additionally, it is suggested that you use STIHL MotoMix or something similar like TrueFuel which contains no ethanol and will prolong the life of your STIHL Chainsaw

If at all possible, place the chainsaw in a protective case, like the STIHL WOODSMAN CHAINSAW CARRYING CASE to add an additional level of protection. This will keep dust, and debris from getting into places in your chainsaw that could affect its performance. Also to avoid rust and corrosion, store the chainsaw in a dry location like a garage or shed.

Other Factors to Consider When Maintaining your STIHL Chainsaw

Check Bar Oil levels Often ⚡

Always check your chainsaws bar oil levels before use! Chain lubrication is important because it prevents rusting, reduces friction and wear, and prolongs the life of the chain. 

The Engine needs Clean Air to Breath! ⚡

Ensure that the air filter is clean because a clogged air filter can limit airflow and make the chainsaw perform badly. This is usually done by removing the orange housing from the chainsaw. You will have access to the air filter which can be cleaned using compressed air. *Note: It's better to replace the air filter instead of cleaning it due to debris and overall performance issues*

In conclusion, Keeping your chainsaw well-maintained, you can assure that it is performing at its peak level By minimizing damage to the internal parts, routine maintenance can help your chainsaw last longer. While it's important to note A chainsaw that has been properly maintained is less likely to break down, which can lower the possibility of mishaps and injuries when using it.

Disclaimer: Always read the STIHL Operators manual before use.


Read and follow all safety precautions in the Instruction Manual. Improper use can cause serious or fatal injury.

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The Gilford Hardware and Outdoor Power Equipment blog posts exclusively reflect the views of Gilford Hardware and Outdoor Power Equipment and do not necessarily reflect those of the device manufacturers. Please be aware that product availability, specifications, and suggested uses are subject to change. For the most recent details, always refer to the manufacturer's website and product manual.