Why Chainsaw Chain Keeps Coming Off? Easy Fix

A chainsaw is one of the most essential yet hazardous tools to fix things around you. From crafting workpieces to trimming tree branches, anything can be done with this instrument pretty smoothly. But what about the safety concerns?

If you make one mistake while operating the tool, you may end up losing a limb or two! Therefore, proper preservation is crucial in this case.

One of the most common maintenance problems you may face is a loose chainsaw chain. Well, that can cause some severe damages to anyone! So if you are asking why the chainsaw chain keeps coming off, you need to learn the solution right away.

And that's what we will discuss here today!

Why Chainsaw Chain Keeps Coming Off?

If there is a problem with your chainsaw, there is nothing to worry about, as we can hook you up with a fix that will solve your idea. Some solutions may feel a little tricky, but you can compromise when it's about chainsaw!

When you have a loose chain on your saw, there could be multiple reasons behind it. The chain will come off if the tool has a damaged bar or worn-out sprockets. If you have been using the tool for a long time, you will start facing this problem without any warnings!

Furthermore, sometimes users fail to set the tension correctly, which can lead them to this complication. It can also happen after being used for an exceptionally long time. But no matter the reason, there are multiple ways to get a fix, which is a relief!

Why Chainsaw Chain Keeps Coming Off

However, in some cases, you get the thing temporarily fixed. It becomes your routine to tighten the chain every day. Yes, that sounds pretty annoying, and it can happen if you fail to identify the correct issue.

So let's get to know how to identify the problems and get a solution according to that.

Why Is the Chainsaw Chain Coming Off – All the Possible Reasons

We have already told you that there might be more than one reason behind your damaged chainsaw chain. But what are the possible issues, and how can you identify them? Well, that's what we will tell you in this section.

Chainsaw Chain Coming Off

Here is a list of problems that might be causing the poor condition of the chain. Getting the proper medicine will be the easiest task once you learn how to figure out the disease.

Reason One – Damaged Drive Sprockets

If you are using a chainsaw for a long time, this complication isn't surprising at all! When the drive sprockets get damaged badly over time, it cannot maintain the accurate tensile strength of the chain. In some cases, the sprockets fail to hold the chain in place, which can cause a bloodbath while working!

Damaged Drive Sprockets

The worn-out sprockets will keep throwing the chain off the groove while operating the tool. If you go through this issue, take measures to replace this part.

Reason Two – Wrongly Set Tension

To cut things with your saw, you will have to set the tension once in a while. And if you are not familiar with this process and are just a DIY crafter, you can do it unknowingly.

When you tighten the chain for cutting firewood in full throttle, you may think that you will get better results with more tension. But over-tightening will cause the chain to come off repeatedly, and you don't want that.

So when you are facing this problem while working, make sure you have the accurate tension on the tool. And if it's improper, you can solve it in a breath.

Reason Three – Temperature Fluctuation

Sometimes, even if you start working with the correct amount of tension, the chain feels loose after a while. Why is that?

The answer is simple; a metal construction expands when it comes closer to heat. So after working for a while, when an ample amount of heat is produced, you will feel that the chain is a bit loose.

Temperature Fluctuation

As the temperature fluctuation will impact your saw's tension, remember that in your mind before taking responsibility for a workpiece.

Reason Four – Damaged Guide Bar and Chain

Getting the guide bar and chain is quite usual, especially when working with the same tool over many years. And this reason is one of the most threatening ones; there is no doubt about that.

The chainsaw bar is designed with grooves around the edge, and the chain's teeth run within the bar rail. In this way, the chain keeps moving straightly while cutting something. So if these parts are worn out, the chain won't be able to say in its best condition.

Damaged Guide Bar and Chain

So if you feel any loose tension, check the bar for debris and damages. And when the bar seems too old or damaged, it would be better to replace the whole thing to be on the safe side.

After that, you should also inspect the chain for broken teeth. If there are some, getting a new one is the wisest choice you have.

Reason Five – Mechanical Issues

Improper tension of your chainsaw can also be caused by the inaccurate space between the bar and the sprockets. So if the space is too big or tight, your chain will not be as tight as you want it.

Moreover, if any damaged or broken internal parts are in your tool, the chain will keep coming off continuously. And when you start to face these mechanical issues, the best solution you have is to get them fixed by a professional.

Yes, you can solve the other problems by yourself, but in this case, getting professional help will be the smartest thing to do.

How Do I Know If the Chainsaw Has Proper Tension or Not?

You may have already learned that improper chain tension can cause a lot of problems. If a suitable tension isn't maintained, you will never be able to work with your tool comfortably.

Chainsaw Has Proper Tension

But how do you figure out if the saw has accurate chain tension? Don't worry; this procedure is super easy, and anyone can perform it without any complications.

What Is Improper Tension?

To determine that your chainsaw has appropriate tension or not, you can try pulling the chain off the bar. If it is detached or comes off without any struggle, you have to tighten it as soon as possible.

Furthermore, you should also inspect the drive links carefully. If they appear to be disengaged, you need to adjust the tension without wasting any precious moment.

What Is Proper Tension?

Now it is time for you to learn how a properly tensioned chain feels like. Firstly, pull the chain off the bar and keep your eyes on the chain links. If the links are intact, your chain is probably in the best possible condition.

The chain links are supposed to have tiny gaps between each of them. But when the links are too far away from each other, you are in danger!

How to Tighten a Chainsaw Chain – the Proper Way

Now that you know about all the possible reasons that might be causing a loose chain, it is time for you to learn how to fix it. Don't worry; this procedure is not complicated at all. Once you get the hang of it, you will never feel any complications again.

How to Tighten a Chainsaw Chain

Things You Will Need

The tool you require for doing this procedure is called a Scwrench. This kit usually comes with your chainsaw, or you can get it separately from any hardware store.

How to Tighten the Chainsaw Chain – Step by Step

How to Tighten the Chainsaw Chain

Step One – Take Out the Nuts

First, you need to loosen up the nuts from the sidebar to start the procedure. Once you take out these components, you can gain access to the chain.

Step Two – Tighten the Chain

After getting to the chain, you need to rotate the guide bar's side panel nut with Scrench. To tighten this part, you have to go clockwise, and when it feels stiff enough, you can stop twisting.

Now pull the chain to inspect the tension. If it feels accurate while pulling up the chain, you are good to go. You can also drag the chain up several times to see if it's perfect or not.

The whole process will take about two to three minutes max. And even if you are a beginner, you can do it without anyone's help, don't you think?

What to Do If the Chain Still Fails to Tighten?

After identifying the problems and performing the tightening processes, you will need to dig deeper if it still doesn't work! Maybe the problem is more complex than we think and which requires keener inspection.

Chain Still Fails to Tighten

When you are done with the procedures suggested above, check the saw for more complicated hitches. Here are some possible reasons that might be responsible for these mishaps.


The job of threads is to hold the screw for adjusting tension. Thus, when it gets stripped, tightening the chain won't work at all.

Wrong Chain

Yes, it sounds a little silly, but what if you are using the wrong chain for your saw? Sometimes you fail to get the proper length which can cause this issue quite easily. So check if you have the right length of chain for your tool to make it perform rightly.

Tension Adjustment Screws

Over the course of time, the tension adjustment screws get stripped too and can't stay in their place. When it happens, just replace the components, and the issue will be solved in a jiffy.

How Do I Replace My Chainsaw Chain If Nothing Is Working?

After troubleshooting your chainsaw for all the problems mentioned above, you can try replacing a chain-link if you still fail to get a solution.

If you take a good look at the chain link, you will see a master link that is easier to remove. You can just take a flathead screwdriver, open it and take out the end link attached to the master link using pliers.

How Do I Replace My Chainsaw Chain

While doing this, keep checking the tension of your chainsaw. And don't take out more than one link at a time because if you remove multiple components at once, the tension will be too tight to handle. And we don't want that at all!

Chainsaw Chain Length – How Do I Get the Right One?

As we've revealed before, one of the reasons behind the poor fitting of the chainsaw can be caused if you have got the right length. And this can be proven quite dangerous when you are working with this tool.

So how do you get the right length of chain to attach to your chainsaw? Is that too complicated? And do manufacturers make any universal chain, or are there specific ones for every guide bar?

Yes, gaining this knowledge feel overwhelming, this is natural! It is a lot to take if you have just started to become a DIY crafter, but if you work with patients, you will learn everything there is to learn.

Chainsaw Chain Length

Chainsaw chains aren't universal, and there is a product for every guide bar length. The measurement varies depending on the types of saws; hence you need to get a proper one for correct fitting.

Now let's see how to get the perfect size so your tool can provide its best performance in any condition.

Drive Links

For getting the correct length for your saw, you can check the drive links of the chain. Firstly, you need to place it straight on a flat surface and then locate the drive links on the internal side of the chain.

If the number of links is suitable for the bar, you can get it without hesitating.

The Distance between Casing and Tip of the Chainsaw

For this procedure, you will need a measuring tape to complete it correctly.

Drive Links

Firstly, wrap the tape around the chain from the spot it goes into the casing of the saw to the tip. After measuring, you can round up the figure or take the nearest number; that won't be a problem.

The most common measurements are 20, 18, and 16 inches. But you need to remember that the bigger number you get, the lengthier your chain will be.

Chain Length

You can also try counting the pitch numbers and drive links. Comparing to others, it is a simpler process, we believe.

You need to count both the pitch and drive links in this process then add up the numbers. Then you will get the accurate length of your chain. You can do it effortlessly, which is why it is one of the most popular processes!

Chain Pitch

Another effective method is to consider the distance between the rivets. The purpose of these components is to keep the chain together. So you can count the measurement between three consecutive rivets to get the ideal chain length for your saw.

Chain Pitch

Once you learn how to measure the chain length precisely, you will never have to worry about getting the wrong parts ever again. In this way, you can ensure that there will be no accidents due to improper measurement, which feels really comforting to no.

Precautionary Steps to Take When the Chainsaw Keeps Coming off

There is nothing more dangerous for woodworkers when they feel the blade or chain coming off while working. And as soon as you feel something like that, you need to take proper steps to prevent all the hazards.

Chainsaw Keeps Coming off

As you cannot fix the chain right away, what should you do as preventive measures? That's what we will tell you in this segment.

Hold the Saw Firmly

When you feel a loose chain or the blade's coming off, the first thing you have to do is hold onto the tool with a secure grip. In this way, you can prevent slipping to save your limbs!

Plan the Cut

While working with a faulty saw, you can plan the cut by marking the endpoint of the wood piece. In this way, you will get a warning before the blade cuts off the wood entirely so you can turn the tool for better safety.

Cutting Action

The ideal cutting action for cutting woods is to go from top to bottom. This motion triggers the push action, which allows you to have better control over the tool.

Protective Gear

There is nothing safer than using proper gears while working with chainsaws. You can always use protective gloves, goggles, and boots to prevent injuries. Furthermore, if you are using a faulty tool, you should get shielding clothes too!

Reduced Kickback

If you are a beginner, you should choose a tool that is designed to provide reduced kickback. It will allow you to have better control over the tool while working on tricky pieces.

Additionally, you can try moving your saw slowly to prevent accidents. Once you level up your skill, you can gradually increase the speed for completing the chores faster.

How Long Should a Chainsaw Chain Stay Sharp?

There is no fixed life expectancy when it comes to chainsaws. With regular maintenance, a chainsaw will last for 5-10 years if you use it correctly.

However, the tool can get a little damaged over the years and after heavy-duty use for a long time. But if you keep the chain sharpened and well-lubed, you can avert breakage and increase its longevity.

Chainsaw Chain Stay Sharp

Now the question is, how many times can you sharpen the chain? Is there any limit, or can you keep doing it as long as you want? It is time for us to acknowledge that information!

How Many Times Can a Chainsaw Chain be Sharpened?

Surely there isn't any specific instruction from the manufacturer on how many times a chain can be sharpened. But it is also true that the number isn't infinite!

The factors that determine the number of sharpening sessions are given below.

Intensity of your chain's damages

Amount of metal you have removed from the chain during the sharpening process.

How Long Should a Chainsaw Chain Stay Sharp

If the chains are slightly worn out, they can be honed, and then you can use them for cutting your workpieces. But when it gets totally broken, there will be no chance of fixing or sharpening it.

Likewise, if you have scraped 50% of the metal from the chain, there will be no constructional integrity. So you will not get another chance to hone the chain as there will be no metal left.

Every time you grind the chain, the chances of re-sharpening are reduced. Sometimes you can have just one chance, so you need to perform this task with alertness.

How Do I Find Out If I can Re-Sharpen My Chainsaw Chain?

To figure out if the chain is eligible for re-sharpening or not, you should check for two things.

Inspect the chain links for any significant damages. If the injury is visible, you don't have another chance.

Now, you see the chain cutter's tip? There's a space between the tip and the guide pieces. You'll need to check the space. If these spaces are in good condition, the chain still has some juice, and you can sharpen it again.

What Can Cause Damages to a Chainsaw Chain?

Some facts can reduce the life expectancy of a chainsaw chain. So you can eliminate the chances of untimely damages by avoiding those situations. Here is a list of things that are most likely to cause harm to a saw's chain.

Damages to a Chainsaw Chain

Hit a Rock

While cutting logs on the ground, sometimes the chainsaw blade hits the rock. Even if you are working carefully, the blade can slip through the wood and strikes the dirt underneath.

Hitting a Nail

Some foreign metal objects such as nails or fence staplers get stuck to the log in rare cases. And when you try to cut through that, the blade will hit that metal, and it can easily get injured.

Hitting a Nail

Lack of Lubrication

If you don't use any chain and bar oil from keeping the well-lubed, they will get overheated while cutting through workpieces. Hence, you should always use a high-quality lube so the chain and blade can perform smoothly no matter how tough the log is.

Improper Storage

How you are storing your saw plays a vital role in determining its durability. When you show recklessness, the chain will get rusty in no time, and you may have to replace it.

Therefore, after every usage, you need to clean the chain and blade, use lubricant, and cover it with a sheath. If you do so, you can prevent rusting and make the saw last longer than average.

Cutting through Ice

Using a chainsaw can be problematic in winter as you have to cut through ice buildup and frozen woods. Yes, you can still slice through them, but the pieces are going to be rock solid! Hence, there is always a chance for your blade to get chipped. So you need to be cautious while working on logs in freezing weather.

Cutting through Ice

When to Replace a Chainsaw Chain?

Even after trying all the troubleshooting and appropriate maintenance, the chain can still fail to perform smoothly. If it happens, you have to replace the whole thing to have a better experience.

But what are the warning signs? When will you know that it is time to get a brand new chain? Let's get to know that part right away.

When You Can See the "Safety Lines" on the Chain

When to Replace a Chainsaw Chain

There are small lines crafted on the chain, which indicates how far you can sharpen it. When you cross that line, the chain will be unfit for further usage.

So after sharpening, if you can see the safety lines, you should never attempt to hone it again. You can just install another chain after a while so your saw can cut woods without any trouble.

If the Chain Gets Chipped

After some heavy-duty working session, the chain can get dented or chipped. When it happens, you shouldn't use it anymore as it can cause unpleasant accidents in the future.

Rusty Chains

You just cannot use a rusty chain to cut through tougher logs! If you try too hard, you will end up injuring yourself, which is totally unacceptable.

Rusty Chains

If any of the reasons mentioned above describes your chain's condition, you should get a new one to be out of harm's way while working. Otherwise, your safety will be in line, and we don't want that.

How to Protect Your Chain from Rust?

As you can see that once the chain becomes rusty, there is no going back! Hence, you can take some precautionary steps to prevent this situation.

How to Protect Your Chain from Rust

So here are some tips for you that will help you maintain the top-notch condition of your saw.

Clean the Bar and Chain

When you are done with slicing logs, just take out the faceplate of your saw and then clean the bar, chain, and sprockets.

Use Lubricant

After making the components squeaky-clean, you need to lubricate them. This step is crucial as the quality of the tool's performance depends on it. Additionally, the layer of lubrication will prevent rusting better than anything.

Use Lubricant

Here is how you complete this process.

  • First of all, you need to put some bar and chain oil into the lubricant tank. Make sure you are using a high-quality one to make the saw perform better.
  • Now turn on the chainsaw and keep it running for a few seconds. The saws come with a built-in mechanism that will draw the lube while running. So when you keep the chain active, every part of it will be well-lubed in no time. 

Cover the Saw with a Chainsaw Scabbard

Most chainsaws already come with protective packaging that is specially made to keep them secure from the elements. So after completing the steps above, cleaning and lubricating, cover the tool with a sheath.

Cover the Saw with a Chainsaw Scabbard

In this way, the metal parts of the saw won't be bothered by anything, and you can use them for years without any issues.

Store it Inside

Sometimes when we have a long tiring day, we just tend to leave the saw outside. But this thing has to be avoided in any condition!

After completing your project, always clean, lube, cover the saw and keep it inside your house, garage, or any storage space you want. This practice will protect the tool from awry weather conditions.

How Do I Keep My Chainsaw Chain Sharp for a Long Time?

The chainsaw blade may get dull when it hits sold and grime or cut a dirty tree. Furthermore, if the bar bents after a heavy-duty working session, the blade will lose its sharpness.

Chainsaw Chain Sharp for a Long Time

Here are some instructions for you on how to avoid dulling the saw blade unnecessarily.

  • While cutting a log, roll it continuously to avoid the collision between your saw's blade and dirt.
  • When you are trying to bucking a tree, you should get rid of the buckle first. If you do so, you won't have to deal with the thick skin and lose the sharpness.
  • If a portion of the log feels too stiff, try another spot for an effortless experience. Sometimes foreign object gets stuck inside the tree, so putting extra pressure can cause breakage to your chainsaw blade.

However, you should always remember that the sharpness of the blade also depends on the logs you are slicing and the amount of usage. A standard blade stays sharp for at least three hours. So if you are cutting a moderate amount of wood, you won't have to hone the blade frequently.

The Bottom Line

This article has covered why the chainsaw chain keeps coming off and how to resolve it. We have also included all the tips and tricks that will allow you to maintain the best condition of your tool.

Even after following all the accurate preservation steps, you may feel some shortcomings while working with your chainsaw. Don't get bothered or frustrated if the saw is giving you more trouble than usual. There is a solution for every problem, and you will find a way if you use this write-up as your guide.

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