6 Reasons Why Your Chainsaw Chain Won’t Spin Freely. STIHL chainsaw chain tightening

Why Your STIHL Chainsaw Chain Keeps Coming Loose

STIHL chainsaw rules the market due to its exceptional quality, numerous features, and budget-friendly products.

Though these saws also have some problems attached to them, which are definitely small and have solutions as well, at times, they may cause tension for the user. One such issue is regarding the chain of the saw.

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Customers have complained that the STIHL chainsaw chain keeps coming loose, and they even need to know the reasons behind this issue and what should be done to avoid loosening the chain so this may not affect their work.

Well, surferhandy will explain all the possible reasons behind the loosening of the saw chain in detail. The main reasons include; the chain is not set correctly, and there is a need to fix it; the effects of temperature change on the chain as the higher temperature causes the chain to tighten while the lower temperature acts oppositely.

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over, there could be mechanical issues with the saw that normal users can not understand. They need to contact professionals or experts to seek help for these mechanical issues.

STIHL Chainsaw Chain Keeps Coming Loose

STIHL chainsaw chain keeps coming loose; the concern many customers who complain about this they are clueless about why the chains get loose frequently.

Surferhandy will give you an overview of the reasons behind the issue, which mainly includes; the chain is not set or tightened correctly, which causes the chain to lose frequently.

In contrast, the chain gets affected due to changes in temperatures, especially in extreme winters and summers. Though, sometimes the issue is only resolved by the experts as the mechanical problem needs to be recognized by the average user.

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Reasons Why STIHL Chainsaw chain loses

The chain Is Not Properly Set

The chain needs to be appropriately set for the accurate working of the saw; often, when it loses, this is due to the chain not being set correctly. While charging, it must be made sure that the tension must be done thoroughly so that the chain may not get loose either by heavy work or light work. Though some saws facilitate their users with automatic pressure, the chain does not get loose while setting up the saw’s tension.

over, one or two bolts are available to tighten the tension, and these bolts are, in actuality, for setting the position of the saw simultaneously with the internal sprocket. If this is done correctly and the right bolt is used to tighten the tension, then the chain will not frequently lose whether the saw does heavy or light work.

Temperature Changes

Here is the physics logic whenever the temperature increases and causes the metal to heat up, it will automatically increase in size. However, once the saw is adjusted to this larger metal chain, it will get too loose when the temperature begins to fall, as metal may lose its longing effect, which comes with the warm season.

This usually is the case when chainsaws are kept in cooler temperatures after the warm temperature and keep changing their size until they get the constant temperature. However, these changes may not take place in mild seasons. Still, in extreme winters and summers, these temperature effects become more severe and noticeable as saws tensions cause the chain to lose or tighten according to the change in temperature.

Mechanical Issues

This is the most common issue but is commonly unrecognizable as well. Mechanical issues are the ones that professionals or experts can detect quickly, while others may take time to reach the actual problem. Tension and sprocket are two essential components when adjusting the chain’s position.

While adjusting the chain, if any of the internal components get damaged, then this may cause the chain to get loose and not work for the saw as required. In such circumstances, expert help should be taken as this should be done with someone else because this is a mechanical issue that needs to be resolved professionally; otherwise, the problem can increase rather than decrease.


Chain loss frequently because it is not tightened correctly and needs some attention to be done properly. The chain is drawn to the bolts accurately to avoid frequent loosening.

No, at times, normal users can also handle the situations, but when the issue does not come into the hands of the user, then expert help should get to avoid further problems.

In extreme summers, the chain becomes larger and gets extra tight so that when severe winters come, that chain starts to lose because of the falling temperature.

Users should check the bolts of the saw frequently to check if they have loosened or not, along with the pressure of tension that should also be reviewed. If the chain keeps on getting loose, professionals should be asked to help and change the chain if required.


A consensus conclusion can be drawn regarding the matter of the STIHL chainsaw chain that keeps coming loose, which involves the reasons for loosening the chain.

Mainly the chain gets losses due to its not being set correctly and the temperature changes. These reasons should be treated on time to avoid extra hassle, and professional help must be sought on time in cases where the reason behind the loose chain remains unclear.

Horner Mattox is a skilled and experienced professional in the field of wildlife management and wood cutting. With years of experience using chainsaws and other saws. Despite also utilizing other tools for home improvement, Horner primarily concentrates on utilizing his chainsaw skills for cutting fallen trees and maintaining his backyard.

Reasons Why Your Chainsaw Chain Won’t Spin Freely

A chainsaw is useless when the chain around the guide bar stops moving. The chain’s spinning can be affected by other factors besides a damaged guide bar.

When the chain brake is engaged, a STIHL chainsaw chain will not move or turn on the bar if the bar and chain are not lubricated, the chain tension is too tight, or the clutch pads are worn.

Jammed chains are annoying. This can be fixed by a novice chainsaw user. This article describes how to fix each issue.

STIHL Chainsaw Not Spinning

Functional chainsaws are useful. Chainsaws need regular maintenance. If your chainsaw’s chain isn’t spinning, check the following.

Problems Solutions
Damaged guide bar If the sprocket won’t turn, or the guide bar is bent, replace it.
Chain brake engaged Make sure the chain brake is off before starting.
Damaged chain Check sprocket. If breaks, replace it.
Lack of Bar and Chain Oil Check the guide bar. Replace corroded or broken guide bars. Fuel up.
Tight chain tension Adjust the chain tension.
Worn Clutch Replace the clutch assembly.

Damaged Guide Bar

The guide bar sprocket helps the chain move around the end of the bar with as little resistance as possible. If this sprocket doesn’t turn, the chain won’t turn either.

With a pinch in the guide bar slot rail, a guide bar can stop a chain from spinning. If the slot rail is stuck between two pieces of wood, the chain won’t be able to move through the slot.

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When a guide bar is bent, it can stop a chain from spinning.

The Fix

The chain won’t turn without the sprocket. Remove the saw’s bar and chain to check. Remove the chain from the guide bar after removing the saw bar and chain. The bar’s tip sprocket should now be seen.

Replace the guide bar if the sprocket won’t turn. The bar may split if the sprocket rotates but the chain doesn’t. If this is the case, the chain may be trapped between the bar sprocket and the bar, requiring replacement.

The chain won’t fit through the slot rail if it’s pinched between the wood. Remove the saw’s guide bar to verify. Pinches are usually obvious. Instead of loosening a pinched bar, replace it.

Chain Brake Engaged

Safety guards protect STIHL chainsaw handles. Chain brake guard. It reduces kickback injuries.

Sometimes the chainsaw chain brake stops it. A saw operator may think the saw is broken if they don’t know how to disengage the chain brake.

Kickbacks stop the chain brake. To stop the chain, manually push the chain brake forward. When starting the chainsaw.

The Fix

Pulling the guard to the back of the saw will release it and allow the chain to move freely, so be sure that the chain brake is not engaged before proceeding.

Damaged Chain

When used right, chainsaws cut with the chain. If the chain breaks, the chainsaw can’t be used. Without taking the chain off the guide bar, you can’t see this damage.

Check the sharp bottom after taking the chain off. This part is Chain Drag. Guide bar slot rail slides chain drag. The chain gets stuck in this part of the chain, which breaks it.

The Fix

This kind of damage to a chain is usually caused by using the chain without the right amount of tension or by using a worn-out sprocket. If the chain breaks, a new one will have to be bought.

Lack of Bar and Chain Oil

The bar and chain must be kept oiled or else there will be more friction and heat will build up. Without enough grease, the chain will start to move very slowly.

Check to see if there is enough oil on the bar. If there isn’t enough oil on the bar, you aren’t getting enough lubrication. Another reason is a clogged oil channel.

The Fix

Make sure the bar is in good shape. Replace a guide bar that is rusted or broken. Next, examine the oil route and clear it if necessary.

Always keep the bar and chain on your STIHL fully greased. To avoid running out of bar and chain oil, refill it each time you fill up with fuel.

Chain oil may run out before the fuel tank needs to be refilled if you are using too little oil.

Tight Chain Tension

If the chain on your machine isn’t tight enough, it won’t last as long and the chain might stop or not turn. If the chain doesn’t come off easily, the tension is probably too high.

The chain must be adjusted often because it gets longer as you use it. If you tighten the chain too much around the bar, it won’t move around the bar.

The Fix

STIHL chainsaw chain tension needs to be adjusted. Unplug the spark plug. Chain brake unlock. Loosen the clutch and chain brake cover bar retaining nuts.

Hold the bar nose up. Turning the tensioning screw clockwise tightens the chain and counterclockwise loosens it. Tighten the bar retaining nuts while holding the bar nose up once the tension is right.

The chain should fit snugly around the bar, but you should be able to move it. It shouldn’t dangle from the guide bar. Once the tension is right, tighten the bar nuts.

Worn Clutch

The clutch Band drum brake stops the clutch drum, letting the chain turn. The motor will run if the clutch Band is worn, but it won’t engage the clutch drum. This stops the chain.

Clutch pads wear out. They won’t turn the chain by engaging the clutch drum.

The Fix

Make sure the emergency stop lever isn’t engaged. The chain won’t rotate if the stop lever is pulled. If the clutch pads are worn, replace the clutch assembly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do STIHL chainsaws move at idle speed?

Adjust STIHL Chainsaw Carburetor. Turn the screw counterclockwise until the chain stops moving to adjust the idle speed. Turn the screw another 1/4 turn counter-clockwise.

Why worn Sprocket stops the chainsaw spinning?

STIHL chainsaw’s sprockets rest on the crankshaft underneath the clutch drum, taking all the crankshaft and chain pressure. Most STIHL saws go beyond 12,000 rpms, thus the force applied is tremendous. The sprocket teeth will grind down till the chain can’t catch. Your chain may not spin, but the sprocket may.

Husqvarna 120 Gas Powered Chainsaw, 38-cc 1.8-HP, 2-Cycle X-Torq Engine, 16 Inch Chainsaw with Automatic Oiler, For Wood Cutting, Light Felling and Limbing

How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be? Guidelines and Tips

If you are dealing with cutting tasks every day in and out, then you might have this question that how tight should a chainsaw chain be?

Although it depends upon the type of wood you cut as well as the type of chainsaw you use, it’s important to know why you need proper tightness in a chainsaw.

This guide will help you go through all those answers regarding chainsaw tightness.

First, let me tell you how important it is to have a perfectly fitted chainsaw chain:

How Important It is to Have a Perfectly Fitted Chainsaw Chain?

Loose Chainsaw Chain:

If your chain is too loose then there is a huge possibility of the chain being slipped from the chainsaw. You can imagine what can happen after it slips. It can cut your hand, arm, face, or any other body part. It is really dangerous!

Now let’s move forward to let you know how to recognize loose chainsaw chains. It is one of the major questions that what is considered to be “loose”

Grab the chain and pull it outward. If the chain is not tight enough to stick with the chainsaw lining then it is the sign. This indicates that your chain needs to be tightened. Hold the screws and start operating in it! If you don’t do it, the chainsaw can easily get stuck in wood and cause problems.

Tightness of a Chainsaw Chain:

Now, what if the chainsaw chain is too tight? It will definitely result in harming the motor.

Therefore, to avoid any kind of damage one should know about the perfect tightening of a chainsaw. Don’t worry it is really easy and takes few minutes to perfectly tight a chainsaw chain.

Now arises the question that how tight the chainsaw chain should be? The answer is simple. Again hold the chain and try to pull it outward. It should not be so tight that it does not show even a slight outward movement.

There should be a little space when you try to pull it. the space should be so small that the chain should not leave the drive links.

Therefore, the proper chainsaw chain tension is the point where the chain neither leaves the drive links nor it is too tight.

How Tight a Husqvarna Chain Should Be?

Husqvarna Chain should be tight enough to stay on the link drives and it should not leave the links when pulled. over, do not forget to leave the capacity of a slight movement of the chain of the link drive.

Here are two more signs that can surely help you in determining the perfect tension of a Husqvarna chainsaw chain.

The first method is that, when you finish tightening the chain, stretch it outward by pulling and then release it. If the chain goes back to a position other than its original position, from where you stretched it, it needs to tightened.

Turn a bit more and check again. keep tightening the chain slightly and each time checking for it until the chain come back to the position from where it was released. Got the position? the chain came back to the same position? good job! You tuned it perfectly.

This is the one way of knowing whether you have perfectly tightened your chain on a chainsaw or not. However, it was the test for lose chain. How you will get to know if it is too tight?

Don’t you worry, there is also a technical point that I am going to share with you. This method will let you know if your chain is too tight or perfect.

So, look for the tension screw. You will find it near the base. Found it? Great! Try adjusting the chain until the chain is not stuck on the drive and you can move it slightly outward with your fingers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know if my chainsaw chain is tight enough?

Checking for the perfect tightness of a chainsaw is quite easy. You can check it by using your fingers. Just grab the chain, pull it as far as you can and then release it. After release, it gets back to the original position then, it is tight enough. If not, it means it needs to be tightened a bit more.

Can you over-tighten a chainsaw chain?

Trying to tight a chainsaw chain by applying a bit more force and thinking that you are making it perfect? You are absolutely doing wrong. The reason is that chainsaw chains become flexible when they become old.

However, a new chain also has some flexibility. But the main question is that they can be over-tightened. And by doing so, you are actually destroying both the chain and the chainsaw.

How much tension should be on a chainsaw chain?

There should be proper tension on a chainsaw chain that is neither too tight nor loose. You can keep checking the tension while tightening a chain. If the chain is not pulling out more than one or two loops then it is the sign.

The other way is to check if it gets back to the same position before pulling and after getting back. If so, then it is the perfect tension that should be given to a chainsaw chain.

How tight should a chain be on a STIHL Chainsaw?

STIHL is known to be one of the best Chainsaw brands. The chain should not leave the link drives of a STIHL Chainsaw. This is one of the common representations of the tightness of a STIHL Chainsaw.

Final Takeaways: How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be?

All these methods are highly working and real. By using these tricks you do not need to worry about risk. These tips will guide you regarding the tightness of a chainsaw chain. I hope this article is helpful concerning the perfect tightening of your chainsaw chain.

Richard McMann

Richard lives out in the wild with his other half, Diana Richard. He tests chainsaws based on his personal experience and loves to share their nitty gritty details with his audience. Although Richard does FOCUS on other home improvement tools, his FOCUS remains on cutting fallen trees or maintaining his backyard via chainsaw tools. He pledges to come up with new knowledge about chainsaws every once in a while.

How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be? – The Definitive Answer

When it comes to chainsaw maintenance, one of the most important questions is, “how tight should chainsaw chain be?” Too little tension can cause excessive chain, sprocket, and bar nose wear and an increased risk of injury.

The Hidden Chainsaw Killer : Chain Stretch. Correct Way To Adjust The Chain Tension On Your Chainsaw

Too much tension can cause the chainsaw to become difficult to operate and can overheat the guide bar, chain, and engine.

Fortunately, it’s easy to tell if your chainsaw chain is too tight or too loose. This can be done quickly and easily by hand with a procedure known as the Snap Test.

For optimal chain tightness, tension your chainsaw chain properly by ensuring it’s snug against the guide bar but still loose enough to be pulled away from the guide bar with two fingers and snap into place when released.

Snap Test

To perform the chainsaw chain Snap Test, place the chainsaw on a stable surface with the engine NOT running. Be sure to wear protective gloves when doing this test.

Use your index finger and thumb to grasp the chain on top of the chainsaw guide bar. After you have a firm grip on the chain, pull it up toward the ceiling. If the chain has the correct tightness, you can pull it slightly away from the guide bar.

Now release your grip on the chain, which should snap back into place on the guide bar. If your chain displays this behavior, it is properly tensioned.

If your chain is over-tightened, you will have difficulty pulling the chain away from the guide bar. If the chain is too loose, it will not fit snuggly against the guide bar and will display a drooped or sagged appearance.

How Do I Know if My Chainsaw Chain Is Tight Enough?

Knowing if your chainsaw chain is tight enough can be tricky if you do not know what to look for. It’s important to ensure the chain is tensioned properly for chain life span, safety, and efficiency.

To check the chainsaw chain tension, the most common way is to perform the Snap Test, which is described above.

However, there is another way as well. I call it the chainsaw Bar Tip Test. To perform the Bar Tip Test, you will need to loosen the guide bar nut on side of the chainsaw. Once the nut is loose, you should be able to lift the guide bar’s tip up and down slightly.

When raising the guide bar up as far as possible, there should be no sag or droop in the chain. If there is, you will need to tighten the chain to remove any slack.

Be sure that the chain is not overly tight and still able to move around the guide bar. Make sure to hold the guide bar end up as far as possible when tightening the bar nut.

Loose Chainsaw Chain Tension Issues

A loose chainsaw chain can damage the drag links on the chainsaw, reduce chainsaw performance and increase the risk of injury.

Once the bar nut or nuts have been loosened, turn the chain tension screw in a clockwise direction to ensure that it’s sufficiently tightened. Afterward, don’t forget to retighten the bar nut or nuts located on the side of your chainsaw.

If a chain has been damaged from being run loosely, it should be replaced with a new chain.

Can You Over-Tighten a Chainsaw Chain?

Yes, it is possible to overtighten a chainsaw chain. An overly tightened chainsaw can lead to excessive early chain wear and risk injury to the chainsaw operator.

Proper chainsaw chain tension can be checked easily and quickly by performing the chain Snap Test, which is described above.

How to Tighten An Electric Chainsaw

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know if My Chainsaw Chain Is Tight Enough?

A properly tightened chain will fit snuggly all the way around the guide bar. Wiggle the chainsaw chain slightly to check for slack. Also, perform the chainsaw chain Snap Test and Bar Tip Test to ensure correct tension.

What Is the Correct Chain Tension for A Chainsaw Chain?

When you have the correct chainsaw chain tension, it should fit snugly around the bar and have some elasticity when pulled away from it. When released, it should quickly snap back into its spot on the guide bar. This can be checked by performing the Snap Test described above.

Why Is My Chainsaw Chain Tight Then Loose?

At first, if a chain appears to be tight and subsequently loosens, then there may be something wrong with the sprocket of the chainsaw. In this situation, more times than not, the sprocket is worn to the point of needing to be replaced.

How Much Tension Should Chainsaw Chains Have?

Correct chain tension should be tight enough to fit snugly around the guide bar and have elasticity when pulled away from the bar. If a chain is overly tight, there will be no elasticity.

If this is the situation, you will need to loosen the bar nuts on the guide bar side panel and turn the tensioning screw counterclockwise to loosen the chain. You should now feel elasticity returning to the chain. Now re-tighten the nuts. Check your work by performing the Snap Test described above.

How Do You Adjust the Tension on A Chainsaw?

To loosen or tighten a chainsaw chain, make sure your chainsaw is turned off and cool to the touch. A hot chain is a marker for incorrect chain tension and can easily burn skin. Also, tightening a chain that is hot can lead to an overly tight chain once the metal has cooled and contracted.

Now that your chain is cool to the touch loosen the guide bar panel nuts and turn the adjustment screw to set the tension. Turning the screw clockwise tightens the chain while turning it counter-clockwise loosens the chain. Once the correct tension is achieved, retighten the nuts.

Why Does My Chainsaw Chain Keep Going Slack?

A slack chain can be attributed, in most cases, to an improperly tensioned chain or a worn sprocket on the chainsaw. If the tension is improperly set, loosen the bar nuts and re-tighten the chain.

If you do this and the chain becomes loose again, the chainsaw sprocket will be the problem. To correct this issue, you will need to replace the sprocket on the chainsaw, not the sprocket on the bar nose.

Bar nose sprockets are not as prone to wear as the main sprocket on the chainsaw.

How Tight Should Chainsaw Chain Be?

If you are trying to determine how tight should a chainsaw chain be, you need to perform the chain Snap Test.

A chain, also called a chainsaw blade, should fit snugly around the guide bar and be elastic when pulled away from it. When released, the chain should quickly snap back into its spot on the guide bar.

This indicates proper chain tension. If there is no elasticity and it can’t be pulled away from the bar, then it needs to be loosened.

What Is the Proper Tension for A Chainsaw Chain?

The proper chain tension should be tight enough to fit snugly around the guide bar and have some elasticity when pulled away from it. When released, the chainsaw chains should quickly snap back into its spot on the guide bar.

This can be checked by performing the chain Snap Test.

Can You Over-Tighten Chainsaw Chains?

Yes, a chain can be overtightened on a chainsaw. Tightening a chain too tightly risks damage to the chainsaw, guide bar, chain, and sprocket. You can check proper chain tension by performing the Chain Snap Test.

How Do I Know if My Chainsaw Chain Is on Correctly?

The direction of the chain on a chainsaw should be with the cutter teeth facing forward along the top of the guide bar. This is easy to determine simply by looking at the chain.

Remember that the sharp side of the cutter teeth needs to make contact with the wood. If you look at the top of the guide bar, the sharp cutters should be facing forward.

If your chain is on backward, you will immediately know it due to the chainsaw’s lack of cutting. A backward chain will skip across wood instead of biting.

How Tight Should the Chain Be on A STIHL Chainsaw?

A STIHL chainsaw is no different than most chainsaws regarding chain tensioning. The chain should fit snugly around the guide bar and be elastic when pulled away from it.

When released, the chain should quickly snap back into its spot on the guide bar. This can be checked by performing the chain Snap Test.

How Do You Tighten Chain Tension?

Tightening a chain is done by loosening the bar nuts on the side of the chainsaw and turning the tensioning screw clockwise to tighten and counter-clockwise to loosen a chain.

Once the right tension is attained, re-tighten the nuts that hold the guide bar in place.

Now, perform the Snap Test to ensure your chain tension is correct.

What Happens if Your Chainsaw Chain Is Loose?

If a chain is run loose on a chainsaw, it can damage the chain, guide bar, and chainsaw sprocket. Also, running a loose chain can be dangerous to the chainsaw operator and cause the chainsaw to have poor performance.

Why Won’t My Chainsaw Chain Tighten?

If your chain does not tighten up properly on your chainsaw, the problem, in most cases, is a stretched, worn chain or a broken chain tensioner.

Wrapping Up

Chainsaw chains need to be properly tensioned to work correctly and safely. The snap test is a great way to determine if your chain needs tightening or loosening, as it should fit snugly around the guide bar and have some elasticity when pulled away from it.

If you are having trouble getting the right tension on your chainsaw chain, make sure that you check for a worn sprocket or stretched chain.

With these tips in mind, you can ensure that your chainsaw remains safe and effective while using it. Remember, proper chainsaw chain tension is key to an efficient and safe cutting experience.

I have been part of the chainsaw and outdoor power equipment business in one way or the other for over 35 years. There are not many things that I have not seen in the business. From repairs, sales, equipment operation, and safety I can help you with your questions.

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My family has been in the chainsaw and outdoor power equipment business for over 35 years.

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