3 Ways to Determine When to Replace the Chainsaw Bar

Posted on January 28, 2022 by Mike Connell

Closeup view of a chainsaw bar and cutting chain at construction site.

From checking the conditions of the chain to adding fuel and applying oil there are several components to inspect before starting up your chainsaw. One of the components to check is the condition of the chainsaw bar. It’s a vital piece of equipment that needs to be cared for along with other fundamental parts of a chainsaw. The right chainsaw bar that is well-maintained will function more efficiently and save you money down the road. Eventually, despite tips to increase the lifespan of the chainsaw parts, the time will come when parts will need to be replaced. Here are a few key clues to help determine when it is time to replace the chainsaw bar.

1. The Bar is Bent

The most obvious sign that it is time to get a chainsaw bar replacement is having a bent bar. Not only is it a quick way to ruin the bar and other parts but it also can be difficult to repair. If the bend is small enough, it is recommended to consult with a professional to see if the bar can be repaired. On the other hand, if the bend is too severe and cracked or if there are multiple bends causing a twisting effect then the bar will need to be replaced. Another sign of a bent bar is when you constantly struggle to keep the saw from pulling to one side. There are several ways to test to see if the bar is damaged but the easiest is to just remove the bar and place it on a flat surface which can make any bends easy to spot.

2. Damage to the Bar Track

Bar track damage happens from wear and tear over time causing the bar track to become too low or too wide. Friction from operating the chainsaw will wear down the height as well as increase the width of the bar track, leading to situations where the chain can jump out of the track. A good rule of thumb is to measure the depth and width of the bar whenever you stop to refuel and clean out any debris from the track. In addition, when putting the bar back on, flipping it over helps to distribute and balance the damage from usage which means a longer lifespan. 

3. Burn Markings on the Bar

Another sign of serious damage is a black streak along the bar track. Running out of bar and chain oil while operating the chainsaw creates excessive friction. This increased friction burns and damages the bar leaving a black streak running along the bar track. Operating without bar and chain oil can create serious damage so if you see any black streaking be sure to inspect the bar thoroughly to make sure it is usable. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with a professional before continuing. An easy tip to prevent running out of bar and chain oil is to check on it every time you start a new project and when you stop to refuel. 

Professional Assistance

Before you start building up your firewood supply or cleaning up any tree branches be sure your chainsaw and all of its parts are ready and operational. Always remember to inspect your bar after any abnormal situations to ensure it was not damaged. Since the lifespan of the bar is related to the amount of wear and tear, it will wear out quicker at the spot where it cuts the most. In other words, the bottom of the bar that is pressed against the wood is where it wears down the most. Although occasionally flipping the bar over will help prolong it’s life, eventually buying a replacement is necessary. When it is time for a replacement or you would like a professional to inspect it’s condition, visit us at M&K Outdoors. Feel free to just drop in and bring your chainsaw into our store or contact us for any questions. We are happy to help find the right chainsaw bar replacement or work to get your chainsaw back into shape!

Closeup view of a chainsaw bar and cutting chain at construction site.featured image