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When To Replace Chainsaw Bar?




When To Replace Chainsaw Bar

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Chainsaws are one of the most resilient tools in any handyman’s tool kit.

When To Replace Chainsaw Bar

Whether you have to cut through hardwood timber or take care of unruly shrubs, a chainsaw is a man’s best friend.

However, the nature of the tasks it performs requires withstanding friction, which can result in wear and tear.

Naturally, there comes a time when you need to change the chainsaw bar to ensure optimum performance and a healthy lifetime for your tool.

This post will help you recognize the right time for replacing your chainsaw bar so that you don’t have to compromise on the quality of your cut.

When To Replace A Chainsaw Bar?

Is your chainsaw no longer performing with the same fervor and ease? Do you feel that it is becoming harder and harder to cut with your chainsaw?

Do you notice that the finish of each cut is no longer smooth and is never precise?

If the answer to all of these questions is a hard yes, then it means that your chainsaw bar has worn out. It’s time to replace it as soon as possible.

If you’re still unsure and are looking for some telltales signs of a worn-out chainsaw bar, let’s look at some of the signs that can help you recognize a worn-out chainsaw bar so that you can replace it.

How To Recognize The Signs Of Wear And Tear On Your Chainsaw Bar?

Here is a quick guide to help you locate areas with abrasion and estimate whether it’s time to change your chainsaw bar or not.

I believe that one of the simplest ways of checking for depreciation is an inspection of physical wear and tear and an uncomplicated two-step test that can reveal a lot about the state of your chainsaw bar, which I will discuss below:

>> Visual Inspection <<

Narrow Tails

Pay close attention to the rails on the bar’s tip. If the tail of the bar is narrow, it’s a sign of depreciation.

Inside Rails

Check if the inside of the rails has worn out.

If the side rails hold the bar perfectly straight without any lean to it, your bar is in good condition, but if the chain leans, you need to change your chainsaw bar.

Top Bar Rails

If the chain does not fit the bar perfectly, there may be more pressure on one side of the rail, causing it to wear out.

Filing down the top rail is a quick fix to this problem; however, the bar will continue to depreciate quickly even afterward, so it’s best to look for a long-term solution such as replacing the bar.

Twisted Bars

To check for the possibility of a twisted bar, the first thing to do is site the bar; you can do this by holding the bar parallel to your eye level to check for the straightness of the bar.

If you notice that one side of the bar is asymmetrically bent, your bar is twisted.

Mostly the solution to this form of damage is getting a new bar as straightening up a twisted bar is very difficult and may not be a cost-efficient idea.

The Two-Step Test

Step 1 

First and foremost, ensure that your chain is tensioned and try to move it from side to side, backward and forward repeatedly.

If you see that the chainsaw bar grants a lot of room for lateral movement while there is hardly any back and forth motion to it, it’s highly likely that your chain saw bar needs to be replaced.

The reasoning behind this is that the chain is meant to fit into the bar as per its tongue and groove style.

The groove of a new bar is u-shaped, but as it is subjected to damage, it changes to more of a V-shape, allowing for the chain to easily wriggle out.

You can also check this by cutting a bar into half. If the bar has started to wear, which can be indicated by a much wobbly V-shape, it is time you replace the bar.

Step 2

The next step is to check whether your bar is perfectly straight or not. For this, you will require a ruler.

Tension your chain and press the ruler against one side of the bar, ensuring that it aligns with at least one outside tooth present on the chain.

If there is no gap between the bar and the ruler, and upon pressing the ruler against one side of the bar, you see that it just lays flat against the bar.

I’m afraid you will have to replace the chainsaw bar as it has shifted due to pressure.

Bar Machining Plug

Every bar tip has a machining hole upfront that supports an aluminum plug. Check whether the plug is still intact.

If the plug has fallen out while you were busy working, the machining hole is bound to gather wooden chips in it.

Make sure to check this because it’s often overlooked because of the general misconception that it’s present just for the gimmicks or is not important.

Interestingly, the case is quite on the contrary, as in the absence of this plug, the tip of the bar gets stuck in the cut.

This is because the chips getting stuck in the hole, causing friction and making it much harder for the bar to glide effortlessly through the cut while putting more pressure on the bar.

This is another reason why the bar should be switched to a new one as it causes a lot of damage.


Knowing when to replace your old chainsaw bar is pertinent for ensuring that your tools are always on top of their game.

While the answer may be simple, it’s equally important to know how to look for signs of wear so that you don’t have to put an unnecessary burden on your chainsaw.

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