Instructables

How To Replace a Chainsaw Chain

Picture of How To Replace a Chainsaw Chain
Because it's a normal part of chainsaw use and ownership, knowing how to correctly replace a chainsaw chain can save tool users time and money.

Even though the steps for a chain replacement are simple and can take less than five minutes, it's important to point out a few repair details that can make all the difference between a chain that's installed correctly and an incorrectly installed chain.

Chainsaw Chain

Of course, the first step toward a proper chainsaw chain replacement is getting a matching replacement chain for your chainsaw.

To learn how to match chainsaw chains for compatibility, please read our article: Chainsaw Chain Measurements, Sizes, and Types. Continue below for chainsaw chain replacement steps.

Steps to Replace a Chainsaw Chain

Other chainsaw designs may be a little different than that of the chainsaw we use here as an example, but chainsaw designs are similar enough for the steps in this article to help most chainsaw owners regardless of the model they own.

The only tool needed for this repair is the scwrench that most likely came with your chainsaw. Otherwise, a flat head screwdriver and a socket wrench will do just fine.

 
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Step 1: Remove the Old Chainsaw Chain

Picture of Remove the Old Chainsaw Chain
1. Remove the guide bar side panel.

The side plate on most chainsaws will most likely be held on by two nuts.

Side Panel Nuts

Using a scwrench or wrench, unscrew the nuts and remove the plate to access the chain.

Side Plate Removed

A chainsaw's brake is sometimes attached to the guide bar side plate, like the chainsaw in our example.

If your chainsaw's brake is attached to its side plate, make sure to unlock the brake before removing sprocket the plate. Removing the side plate with the brake in the locked position can make it difficult or impossible to reinstall.

Step 2: Release the Chain Tension

Picture of Release the Chain Tension
The old chain is ready to be removed now that the sprocket plate is off of the saw. Pull the nose of the chainsaw's bar away from the chainsaw to release it from the tensioner.

Pull Chainsaw Bar Nose

The above is OK, as far as it goes,however, a chainsaw chain only needs to be replaced after it is well and truly worn out. It can be sharpened many times if one knows how.The photograph close-ups suggest to me that the chain shown has a few good logs in it yet.
I sharpen my saw after every use (cutting eucalyptus hardwood). It also helps to fully clean the saw of oil and sawdust. A well maintained chain goes a long way towards chainsaw safety.