It’s perfectly normal for a chainsaw chain to stretch after regular use. But, if you allow your chainsaw to become too loose, it can easily come off and pose a dangerous situation for you.
A chainsaw chain stretches and loosens from tension and extreme friction. The friction from cutting through wood makes the chain very hot and the heat causes it to loosen. The heat expands the guide bar and when it cools, the chain has stretched. The chain will also loosen as it wears down from use.
Why Does My Chainsaw Chain Get Loose So Fast?
One of the most common reasons why the chainsaw chain gets loose so fast is because of wear off caused by time and usage. If you are using an old chainsaw, you will notice that the chain gets loose very frequently thanks to wear on both the chain and the sprockets. This also happens for new chainsaws that haven’t been used before. New chains will need to be tightened more often because they stretch a lot during the first few uses. This is the ‘break-in’ period of your chain.
Another reason that may cause the chainsaw chain to get loose quickly, is heat. While in operation, the chain experiences an intense amount of pressure and friction. The friction occurs from sawing through the materials, such as wood. Friction and pressure make the chain and guide bar extremely hot, and this heat expands the metal. After you have finished using the chainsaw, the metal cools down and returns to a smaller size, but the chain will stay loose.
If you have done everything else right and the chainsaw chain is still coming loose, you are likely to have more of a mechanical problem on your hands. In this case, contact a high-quality tool supplier for help.
How Much Slack Should a Chainsaw Chain Have?
A properly tensioned chainsaw should be tight enough to only allow you to move it up and down about half an inch. It should be a little loose on the chainsaw guide bar, but not to the point that you can pull the drive links out of the bar nose. If there’s too much slack, then the chain is loose, and you need to tighten it up. If there’s no slack in the chain, then it’s too tight and requires to be loosened a bit. You can overtighten your chain which will cause it to break, which is why you need to examine the chain before using it.
This little maintenance task is not only easy to perform but mandatory in making sure that your chainsaw continues to run safely. Every chainsaw has a tension screw that’s located at or close to the base of the chainsaw bar. If you want to tighten the chain, turn the tension screw clockwise. If you want to loosen up the chain, turn the tension chain counterclockwise. Make sure that you don’t overtighten the chain as too much pressure may cause it to break.
It’s important to make sure your chainsaw chain has the right tension to reduce the risk of damage and potential injury.
Can You Stop Your Chainsaw Chain from Stretching?
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to stop the chainsaw chains from stretching over time. Your chain will constantly change from use, it is just the extent of change that varies. You will notice the most difference when you first get a new chainsaw and chain as it stretches a lot. After the chain has worn down a bit, there will be more of a gap between the times you need to loosen it. When the chain has worn down a lot and has been exposed to lots of wear and tear, it will need more frequent tightening.
Because of the constant change, it is important that you regularly inspect the tension of the chain before using the chainsaw. It is a good idea to check it every time you use the chainsaw. Make it part of your preparation routine and that way you will be taking proper safety precautions whilst getting the most out of your chainsaw.
Chainsaw Chain Won’t Tighten Anymore
If you’re sure that you have followed proper methods to adjust the chain and it still won’t tighten, then other problems might be occurring. For instance, a stripped tension adjustment screw may keep on turning without actually changing the tension of the chain. The same is true if the threads in the chainsaw case holding the tension screw are stripped.
A wrong sized guide bar can also cause the chain to stay loose no matter how much you try to tighten it. The best-case scenario here is to remove one or more links from the chain until the chain fits. Once you have removed as many links as necessary, simply reattach the chain and test the chain’s tension again. If the tension still isn’t right, then you are better off paying a few bucks to get it fixed at your local chainsaw shop.
As always, you can consult a tools supplier for advice and assistance with your chainsaw chain. Canberra Chainsaw repairs are available at Canberra Diamond Blade.
How Do I know If My Chainsaw Chain Is Stretched?
To determine whether the chainsaw chain is stretched, pull the chain away from the chainsaw’s guide bar to see if there’s space between the two. If there’s space between the chain and the chainsaw’s guide bar, then the chainsaw chain is stretched. If you pull on the chain slightly and it stays on the slides of the chainsaw guide bar, then the chain isn’t stretched.
A proper chainsaw chain tension should be maintained at all times as it affects both the performance and the lifespan of your chainsaw. A stretched chainsaw chain increases the risk of kickback and the chain being thrown off the guide bar. It can take some time for you to understand how to notice a stretched chain. Here are a few steps to help you discover whether the chainsaw chain is stretched or not:
- Put your chainsaw on a level table or ground.
- Make sure you switch off the chainsaw completely. If you were using it recently, give it some time to cool off.
- Look at the chain hanging under the chainsaw’s guide bar, does it sag down? Is there a noticeable space between the chainsaw’s guide bar and the chain?
- If the space is there, you need to tighten the chain because it is stretched.
- Does the chainsaw’s chain look too close to the chainsaw’s guide bar or is it touching it completely? Grab a part of the chain and pull it a little. Does it stretch?
- A perfectly tensioned chainsaw chain should stretch slightly but remain on the slides of the chainsaw’s guide bar.
There is so much to know about using chainsaws and all their parts. We actually have a detailed guide called Different Types of Chainsaw Chains and it is a great read on all the different things you should consider when choosing a chain! Whilst you’re at it, should you sharpen your chainsaw chain? Maybe it is time for a new investment!
If you are up for a new chainsaw, check out our Canberra Mowers shop in Mitchell. We stock the latest Husqvarna chainsaws in Canberra for both professional and home users. Looking for a new chain to replace a stretched one? We also have a wide range of chain saw chains for sale, ensuring you can find the best chain for your saw.