If you notice your chainsaw leaking oil after usage, you have likely wasted $10 to $150 worth of chainsaw oil to keep it working well. If you want to avoid the extra costs of oil and repairs, you should learn how to store a chainsaw without oil leaking from the machine.
To lend you a hand, I’m ready to share these insights, so you won’t have to watch your hard-earned money drip away, one drop of chainsaw oil at a time.
Why Does My Chainsaw Leak Oil When Stored?
The oil in your chainsaw may be leaking for several different reasons. Some are maintenance-related, while others are the result of improper oiling.
But the rule of thumb is not to overfill the oil tank because the oil may escape via the port if the reservoir is overfilled. Most chainsaws of a specific model have a maximum fill line on your reservoir; filling it to just below that line is safest.
You can keep your saw free of oil leaks while using it and when you put it away. Problems with the port plug are another common cause of oil leaks and are usually easy to rectify. Each time you change the oil, you must ensure the plug is securely fastened.
Leaks are more likely to occur when in use due to mechanical issues than when in storage.
However, you should still be aware that other components of the oiling system, including pumps, can fail and create leaks.
Look for your manual model if you need guidance on good cleaning and maintaining your chainsaw body. Temporarily remove the case, chain, and spark plugs, and clean the oil ports with a steel-bristle brush.
The oil reservoir must be disassembled and cleaned or replaced if it becomes clogged.
What are the Proper Ways to Store a Chainsaw so it Doesn’t Leak?
#1: Closely Check the Oil Level
As I mentioned, overfilling a reservoir will cause oil to leak out as it expands and contracts with the temperature of its surroundings.
You should fill your reservoir no more than the maximum level indicated on the container. When storing a chainsaw, it’s best not to fill the reservoir at its maximum fill level but keep it just below that mark.
If you only fill the tank when you’re about to use it, you won’t have to worry about it leaking while it’s in use or in storage.
#2: Check if the Plugs are Secure
If you want to store your chainsaw without oil leaking, you should always double-check that the rubber plugs for the oil ports are in place and secure before putting the container away.
Plugs made of plastic or rubber tend to wear out over time. But the silver lining? Replacements usually come at a low cost. The catch, though, is that not every store nearby carries all brands of fill plugs. It can be a bit of a hunt to find the right one.
#3: Store the Chainsaw Vertically
Many have wondered if they can position a chainsaw in a vertical position. Long-term storage of chainsaws in a vertical way, typically by the handle, increases the risk of oil and gasoline leaking uncontrollably from the saw and down the bar.
There are two options available to you to prevent this scenario. First, eliminate the potential for leakage by completely draining the fuel, oil, and chain oil from the saw before hanging it over an extended period.
Or you could just hang it and come back in a short period to “burp” the fuel and oil tanks. Over time, the built-up pressure from the tanks will rise, and the contents will spill over.
You can burp the tank to release the built-up pressure. Do this by gently twisting the valve apart to release the gas to prevent the contents from escaping.
#4: Hang the Chainsaw by the Handle
When it comes to stowing away chainsaws, this method is a practical and uncomplicated solution. To store your firewood saw, simply hang it from a hook in the wall or other suitable location by the back handle, the one with the trigger that is attached.
However, you should know the risk of an oil leak flowing down the chainsaw bar if you hang it in this way.
Similar to the first method, you can empty the fluids from the tanks just before storing them or “burp” the tanks after they have been suspended briefly. This sealing process helps prevent oil from leaking.
#5: Hang the Chainsaw by the Brake Stop
Instead of securing the saw’s handle to the back of the blade, you can use this method instead.
You can reduce the risk of fluid leakage from your chainsaw by storing it with the brake stop handle (the one that is on top of the saw) instead of the rear handle.
Conversely, the brake handles aren’t the most sturdy parts of a chainsaw. From my experience, it’s generally best to limit their use to more compact saws. Applying extra force can be a recipe for disaster – leading the brake to stop, crack, or even break altogether.
#6: Avoid Laying it on its Side
There are ports on the chainsaw’s left side for the gasoline and oil tanks. Meanwhile, oil can trickle onto the chain’s rollers through an oil hole, keeping the rollers and chain well-oiled.
Avoid storing oil or fuel on either side. Consequently, the likelihood of a leak is higher than if you were to set it down on the ground simply.
If you must store your chainsaw on its side, ensure the bar is placed flat on a surface or the floor and the oil reservoir is empty (you can leave the oil inside).
Additional Preventative Measures + Short-Term Storage Tips
I recommend storing your chainsaw in a dry, cold spot. Cold temperatures cause the oil to thicken, which naturally makes it less prone to leakage.
On the other hand, if you keep your chainsaw in a warm room or near any heat source, it can exacerbate any existing leaks. So, a cooler storage place is the way to go.
It’s also a good idea to place a towel or a plastic bag beneath your chainsaw when storing it to absorb the tiny amount that may drip out. If anything continues to flow out, even just a small amount, your chainsaw may have been overloaded with oil or in need of repair.
Here are a few mechanical points and tips you can consider for short-term storage:
Inspect the Bar Guide
If your chainsaw leaks oil, examine the condition of the guide bar. Closely inspect if a broken part does not leak bar oil. If you notice anything off or suspicious with the guide, I recommend tossing it out and installing a new one. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Check for Fluid Buildup
Regardless of the brand of saw, the next thing you must do is ensure the oil system is big enough to hold all the oil. When you operate your saw, energy is transferred to other sections, which might lead to a buildup of pressure in the oil tank.
Because of this pressure, the fluid inside the fuel tank must escape, causing your chainsaw to leak. If you plan on using the saw for a while, it’s best to keep the tank’s cover slightly ajar. The situation needs a minute or two to settle back down to normal.
There should be no need to worry about anything else after that, and secure the valve again.
Check the Rubber Ring
If the oil leakage persists after trying the solutions above, the rubber ring may be defective. Located between the chain and the oil storage tank, it plays a vital role in the overall process.
Excessive pressure can be exerted on occasion, leading to seepage. You should replace the rubber ring if this occurs.
It can be replaced, but be careful not to tear the rubber seal! Remember not to over-tighten it too.
Keep the Chain Clean
Keep the chain clean consistently because it helps keep it clean by keeping dirt and debris from getting caught in the teeth. When dealing with the chain, you must constantly monitor its progress.
Additionally, look at the oil tank’s air vent, the oil pump, and the outlets next to the clutch. If any of these obstructions occur, oil pressure could build up within the tool, causing oil leakage from the lines.
Any type of chainsaw oil that accumulates inside the chainsaw’s body during storage could leak out via any openings in the housing.
Now that you know how to store a chainsaw without oil leaking, it all boils down to taking the necessary precautions. Put the bigger chainsaws away on the floor on a shelf and the smaller ones on the wall so you can’t lose them.
Always drain the chainsaw’s oil before putting it away in a dry place. The plugs must be securely fastened after each usage and before being stored.
Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.
Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.