Stihl Chainsaw Chain Replacement: Get Simple 10 Steps

Stihl Chainsaw Chain Replacement

In my opinion, the part of the chainsaw that does the most work is the chain. You will agree that the chain is continuously in contact with woods, dirt, shrubs, etc., while sawing. No wonder they dull easily. If you own a Stihl chainsaw, you would know that you always need to replace the chain for better saw performance and a safe working condition.

This article is a concise write up about all you need to know about Stihl chainsaw chain replacement. Here, I have outlined 10 DIY steps to replace your Stihl chainsaw in less than 10 minutes easily. I have also touched on other vital points like getting the right chain size, sharpening a blunt chain, and many more.

How to Tell When a Chainsaw Chain Needs Replacement

  1. There are indents in the chain teeth or other parts of the chain. It is probably caused by accidentally hitting hard objects like stones.
  2. The chain is rusted.
  3. You always have to tension.
  4. The saw is jerky and unbalanced in your hands while in use, and the chain bounces around the guide bar.
  5. You struggle to get even cuts.
  6. The Chain blade is dull.

Factors that Accelerates the Need for your Stihl Chainsaw Replacement

These are factors that lead to a damaged chain, make work difficult and pose dangers while working.

  • When it hits hard objects like rocks, nails, or stone while sawing.
  • Inadequate/ improper lubrication (i.e., use of lubricants that are not compatible with your Stihl saw).
  • Exposure to weather that leads to rust.
  • Poor chain maintenance (lubrication, cleaning, oiling, and storage).
Chainsaw Lubrication

Steps to Replace a Stihl Chainsaw Chain

Before you start, follow the necessary safety precautions: wear a Stihl glove, disengage the chain brake, and ensure that the engine is turned off. Follow these simple steps to replace your chainsaw:

1. Remove the sprocket cover: Remove the two nuts containing the sprocket cover in place with a wrench or screw wrench.

2. Clean: Use a moist rag to brush off the dust and clean out the oil in the sprocket compartment.

3. Remove the guide bar: Starting from the bar’s tip (towards you), pull out the bar and chain away from the saw.

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4. Loosen the chain tensioner adjustment: Unscrew the tensioner counterclockwise with a screwdriver. Loosening will make it easier for you to thread in a new chain.

5. Flip the bar: Change the bar’s orientation every time you replace your chain so that both sides can wear evenly.

6. Thread in the chain: Starting from the guide bar’s tip, take a new or recently sharpened chain and thread it into the bar. Ensure that it fits perfectly well in the groove and that the cutting edge is at the top.

7. Reinstall the guide bar: When you have correctly fixed in the chain on the bar, replace the bar, back into the saw.

8. Tighten the chain tensioner: Screw back the tensioner adjustment clockwise. Ensure that the chain fits back correctly into the grove of the guide bar as you do so. Note: do not screw the tensioner very tight, as you would still do a final tensioning.

9. Replace the sprocket cover: Put the sprocket cover back into the sprocket compartment and tighten the nuts, but do not make it all the way tight because you intend to do a final tensioning.

10. Do a final tensioning: To check if the chain is tensioned correctly, do a final tensioning. Hold the tip of the guide bar with one hand and a screwdriver on the other hand. Screw the tensioning adjustment till the chain fits appropriately in the guide bar. You should be able to rotate the chain around the guide bar to ensure you do not tension too tightly. After checking that the chain is tensioned correctly, you can now screw the nuts of the sprocket cover firmly.

How long does a Chainsaw’s Chain Last?

The durability of different chainsaws chain and is determined by several factors: maintenance, nature of the job, location, type of wood, duration of the cut, chain type. However, your Stihl chain should last for a minimum of 5 years to decades, depending on the usage.

Why does my Chainsaw’s Chain Dull So Quickly?

  1. You probably may not be sharpening your chain right.
  2. You use the wrong chain size.
  3. Over filling the blade.
  4. The depth gauge is filed down.

How do I Know My Chainsaw’s Chain is Blunt?

Blunt Chainsaw Chain
  • Cutting becomes difficult because you have to apply pressure on the saw.
  • Saw spurts fine specks of dust instead of wood chips as waste.
  • Saw continuously emit smokes while in use.
  • Jerks continuously when using even when it has been lubricated and tensioned.
How to Get my Chainsaw’s Chain Sharpened When it’s Dull
  • Engage the chain brake and disengage other controls.
  • Open the sprocket cover and remove the chain.
  • File the chain cutters with several strokes, so it becomes sharp and shiny (ensure you rotate the chain, so you get each cutter filed and sharpened with right angles).
  • Use a depth gauge tool and file to adjust the chain’s depth gauge, then replace the chain into the saw.

Quick Steps to Tension a Chainsaw’s Chain

  1. Screw nuts out, open the guide bar and adjust the chain.
  2. Tighten the tensioning adjustment knob.
  3. Check that the chain is correctly fixed in the guide bar and close the guide bar panel.

You may need to our other discussions about chainsaw

Will any Chain Fit a Stihl Chainsaw?

The best recommendation is that you use a Stihl chain for your greatest chainsaw. But if you do not have any spare at hand, you may decide to use other chain sizes similar to your saw model. With the knowledge of the chain characteristics (bar length, chains pitch, and chain gauge) and chain size, you would be able to determine a correct chain replacement for your Stihl chainsaw.

So To answer the question, any chain will not fit into your Stihl chainsaw; only a chainsaw replacement of similar size to your Stihl chainsaw will fit.


I am pretty sure; this article would be a useful guide as you replace your Stihl chainsaw chain.

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