When To Replace A Chainsaw Bar – A Simple Guide

Have you been cutting with your saw but it’s not doing what it used to?

Well, that might be because the blades are dull. However, you’ve checked the blades and they’re sharp.

There are burn marks on the bar but you’re not sure if it should be replaced.

In this post, I’ll be revealing when to replace a chainsaw bar.

Let’s get straight into it…

When you know you have to replace your bar

In this section, I’ll be revealing what criteria you need to meet in order for you to know when you should replace your bar.


If your chainsaw bar is crooked, this means it needs to be replaced as it won’t cut properly and can be dangerous. 

An easy way to determine whether your bar is crooked or not is to hold a straight item leaning against it like a rod. If there’s a gap, it means it’s crooked and needs to be replaced.

The bar has chunks or dinks on it

If your chainsaw bar has chunks or dinks on it, it’s a sign that it’s been worn out and needs to be replaced.

The bar is one piece of full metal without any dents in it. So if there are any, a replacement should be considered.

V-shape bar instead of U-shape

If your chainsaw’s nose looks like a V instead of a U, this means it needs to be replaced.

If you carry on using it, it’s extremely dangerous because the chain won’t rotate around the bar properly. And the chain could fly off and hurt you.

The bar doesn’t have to represent a perfect V but it should be representing more of a U than a V shape.

Rocking chain

If you can easily move and rock the chain whether it’s at the top of the bar or bottom, it’s a sign the bar needs to be replaced.

A working bar will rock, but just a little bit. But a worn bar that needs to be replaced will rock easily.

Burn marks

If there are black or blue marks around the bar of your chainsaw, it means that it’s been burnt.

The chain and bar weren’t oiled properly so too much friction was created and caused the edged of the bar to burn.

Bar sprocket won’t turn

There’s a sprocket located on the nose of your bar. If the sprocket won’t turn, it means the bar needs to be replaced.

What causes the bar sprocket not to turn is when the bar is pinched when cutting or overheated the bar.

You know if you need to replace your chainsaw if the bar is crooked, has dents, the bar has started to turn into a V-shape, the chain rocks, sprocket won’t turn, and there are burn marks. These are signs that the chainsaw bar needs to be replaced. 

Chainsaw bar maintenance 

Clear the grease hole

Some bars have a grease hole and some do not. The grease hole is located at the tip of the bar. Make sure to clear any debris that’s in there.

After you’ve cleared it, make sure to inject some grease in there. This can be done with a simple grease gun. 

Flip the bar

Bars are symmetrical. They’re the same shape at the top or bottom. Occasionally you should flip the side of the bar.

This way it will wear equally and you’ll be able to get more use out of it.

How often should you flip the bar on a chainsaw?

You should flip the bar on your chainsaw depending on the type of wood you’re cutting. If you’re cutting hardwood, you should flip the bar every 2 to 3 uses. If you’re cutting softwood, every fifth use you should flip the bar.

Clean the groove of the bar

Image of tool inside of the groove to clean it.

Bar groove cleaner

The groove of the bar is the gap that your chain fits into. Make sure to get a simple groove cleaner. It’s a simple hook.

You take the tip of the hook and place it at the top of the groove and slide it all the way down to the bottom.


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Fill to less than a full tank of gas

Make sure to fill the bar oil to the maximum capacity and don’t fill the gas all the way. Since your chainsaw will be able to hold a lot more gas, you’re typically going to run out of bar oil sooner than gas.

So you may end up running out of bar oil and still using the saw. This will cause your bar to burn and ultimately, damage it. So using less gas reminds you to refill your bar oil.

You maintain your chainsaw bar by clearing the grease holes, cleaning the groove of the bar, flipping the bar after a few uses, and constantly topping up bar oil. This way, you reduce the chances of your bar being burnt and damaged.

How long does a chainsaw bar last?

How long a chainsaw bar lasts all depends on how much you use it, the tasks you’re doing with it, and how well the bar is maintained. If your bar is well maintained, it will typically do 100 hours of fine cutting.

How do I replace my bar?

Step 1 – Figure out what kind of bar you need and what bar is compatible with your chainsaw. You can check out this selector tool which will quickly help you find the right bar.

Step 2 – Loosen the stud nuts of the chainsaw.

Step 3 – Loosen the tension on your chain and then remove the stud nuts.

Step 4 – Remove the side cover.

Step 5 – Pull the bar nose a little to the slide so the chain tensioner pin comes out the chain tensioner hole on the bar.

Step 6 – Remove the chain from the bar and remove the bar.

Step 7 – Place the new bar on the chainsaw exactly where your previous bar was being held.

Step 8 – Get your new chain and make sure it’s not tangled.

Step 9 – Place the chain around the sprocket and place it around the bar, making sure it’s in the groove. 

Step 10 – After you place the chain on the bar, pull the chain forward slightly and replace your side cover and stud nuts.

Step 11 – Tension your chain.

Step 12 – Pull your chain forward, making sure the movement around the bar is smooth.

And that’s exactly how you can easily replace your bar, step by step.

Check out this video so you can understand better:

Final words

So that’s how you know when to replace a chainsaw bar.

I hope you found what you were looking for in this guide.

Happy sawing!

– Adam