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7 Definitive Signs When to Replace the Chainsaw Bar!

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The chainsaw bar is the part of the chainsaw that is most vulnerable to heat, friction, and force.

While spinning and cutting through the objects, it has to handle the most pressure.

Although it is the strongest part of the chainsaw, made from the toughest material, it cannot last for a lifetime.

It has to be replaced after a period to continue functioning correctly, so you might wonder when to replace the chainsaw bar.

Not only is it essential to select the proper chain for your chainsaw along with the right bar, but maintaining both of them is equally important.

At the same time, it is not easy to guess whether the chainsaw bar should be replaced or just needs some cleaning.

This article tells you the exact signs you should look for in your chainsaw to check if the bar needs replacement.

Let’s begin!

A photo of a chainsaw—when to replace chainsaw bar
When to replace the chainsaw bar? – Image via Michael Fenton.

When to Replace the Chainsaw Bar?

Although there are several signs you’d notice in your chainsaw when it needs replacement, the most common ones are listed in this article.

Here are some signs that you need to look for in your chainsaw bar and know that it is time to get it replaced by a new one:

  • Bent or damaged bar
  • Chain wiggles from side to side while working
  • A damaged bar nose sprocket
  • Edges of the bar tilted at an angle
  • Damaged or missing teeth
  • Formation of burrs
  • Splintering

When to replace the chainsaw bar? All the signs are discussed below in detail.

1. Bent or Damaged Bar

The most obvious sign that a person might notice is a bent or damaged bar.

If you have not checked your chainsaw, it is a sign to look for while doing a proper visual inspection.

A damaged bar not only affects the functioning of the chainsaw but also reduces its efficiency and cutting power. Moreover, it can be pretty dangerous to work with.

There can be a couple of reasons why a chainsaw bar is damaged or broken.

  • Due to a loose chain which indicates an improper fitting
  • Due to a lack of lubrication and proper care

However, some damages might not be seen visually. Remove the chain from the chainsaw bar for proper inspection and look for any damages.

The presence of cracks in the rail of the bar, a bent bar, and pinched rails are the most common signs noticed by chainsaw users that indicate when to replace the chainsaw bar with a new one.

Related article: How to Measure a Chainsaw Bar? | 2 Effective Methods!

2. Chain Wiggles from Side to Side While Functioning

Another sign when to replace the chainsaw bar is that the chain starts to wiggle from side to side.

The wiggling of the chain in this scenario does not refer to a loose chain. It means that despite being the correct size, it wiggles due to excessive wear and tear caused by heat and friction while being used.

A wiggling chain means that you won’t be able to get a clean cut while using your chainsaw as it moves left and right despite being tightened enough.

If you have started noticing such behavior in your chainsaw, you need to replace its bar with a new one.

Suppose you are unsure whether your chainsaw wiggles or not; here is a simple test to confirm that.

  • Start by checking the chain that is not worn or loose.
  • Next, apply tension to the chain, so it sits between the grooves of the bar.
  • Then try to move the chain from left to right to see if there is noticeable wiggling or not.

If you notice some irregular movements, there is a high chance that the bar grooves have widened up compared to the standard gap required for proper functioning.

Some shops also offer maintenance services to fix the gap between the grooves, so you can consider maintenance services if you are not planning to replace the chainsaw.

3. A Damaged Bar Nose Sprocket

The chainsaw moves in a fixed place within its teeth.

This movement is supported by the nose sprocket present in the chainsaw bar. It gets oil from the oil reservoir present near the motor.

In case of the absence of proper lubrication, there is a high chance that increased friction can break the nose sprocket.

Also, any other damage to the chainsaw bar can cause damage to the nose sprocket too.

Some chainsaws have replaceable nose sprockets, which can be easily replaced. If you do not want your sprocket to be jammed, you need to keep the oil reservoir filled, as it can help to prolong the life of your chainsaw bar.

4. Edges of the Bar Tilted at an Angle

Another sign that shows when to replace the chainsaw bar is bending the bar edges at an angle.

It can be due to wear and tear and can cause tilting of the blades. If you are unsure about the tilting of the bar, you can check it by following a simple process.

  • All you need to get is a flat surface and place the chainsaw on it.
  • Press the surface against the bar to know whether any tilting is present or not.
  • If it tilts, consider replacing the chainsaw bar.

Now, let’s move toward the next sign.

5. Damaged or Missing Teeth

Hitting any unexpected, hard, or pointed object causes damage to your chainsaw bar. The first to get affected by such damage is the teeth of the chainsaw bar.

To prevent increased friction from damaging the teeth, you should keep the chainsaw teeth straight and uniform for proper functioning.

If your chainsaw has damaged or missing teeth, the only option for a smooth and reliable function is to get it replaced.

If you don’t know when to replace the chainsaw bar, this is definitely a sign.

6. Formation of Burrs

Burrs are defined as any deformation that occurs due to heavy use or abuse of the chainsaw bar.

If your chainsaw is used for big projects generating high levels of friction and heat, there is a greater chance your chainsaw bar would need to be replaced periodically.

  • The formation of burrs occurs when the metal in the chainsaw bar starts bending and folding, causing deformation due to the mushroom effect.
  • The burr formation can affect the quality of your work, but it will not seize it.
  • Over time, these burrs will continue to deepen until the chainsaw is of no use.

Here’s the last sign.

7. Splintering

Overuse of the chainsaw can cause overheating, which makes it challenging to work with it.

Similar to burr formation, heat and overuse can cause the formation of splinters in the chainsaw bar.

In addition, if your chainsaw bar is not cleaned correctly, it can also cause your chainsaw to deteriorate while causing splintering.

That was all about the signs that show when to replace the chainsaw bar.

You can also watch this video if you want to learn more:

When a Chainsaw Bar Needs to Be Replaced! – YouTube

How to Increase the Life of Your Chainsaw Bar?

If you have been working with a chainsaw for quite a while, you would know how important it is to take care of your chainsaw bar for it to have a prolonged life.

Related article: Why Does My Chainsaw Chain Dull So Quickly?

Here are a few actions that are essential for the life of your chainsaw:

  • Proper lubrication
  • Tightening its parts regularly
  • Taking breaks in between usage
  • Not forcing any cuts
  • Cleaning and shaping the saw regularly
  • Flipping the bar sides

With that said, let’s conclude the talk!


This article is of great help to you if, despite taking proper care of your chainsaw, it is not performing well.

Your chainsaw bar must be replaced if it shows any of the above signs despite being used carefully.

Physical damage to the chainsaw bar can be easily monitored, but other factors require time and attention. A person needs to observe the functioning of their chainsaw to judge if it needs a replacement or a cleanup.

So, if you are worried about the performance of your chainsaw and do not know what to do, this article is here to end your worries. It explains all the possible signs when to replace the chainsaw bar, along with tips and steps that help you prolong the life of your new chainsaw bar.

I hope this helps!