Why is my chainsaw smoking

Why Is My Chainsaw Smoking? Explained with Solutions

People buy chainsaws for various reasons, and regardless of their purposes, everyone starts as a beginner. Most people are not aware of how a chainsaw works, and they may encounter problems that cause them to worry. One of the most common issues that causes concern is a smoking chainsaw. It can be frustrating and worrying when you are using your new chainsaw and it suddenly starts producing smoke after some use. However, this problem does not necessarily mean that you have wasted your money or that there is a significant fault.

In this article, we will examine the reasons why a chainsaw may smoke and offer solutions to the problem. If after reading this you are still unable to fix the problem, you can view or download a free workshop manual from this website.

Locating the Area of Smoke: The first step in resolving a smoking chainsaw problem is to determine where the smoke is coming from. This identification process allows you to diagnose the issue and find a solution. Just as you would locate the area of pain to understand a medical problem, you need to identify the location of the smoke to comprehend the actual problem.

Reasons and Solutions to Chainsaw Smoking Problem

Reasons and Solutions to Chainsaw Smoking Problem
  1. Dirty Air Filter: The chainsaw contains an air filter that regulates the flow of air. While cutting wood, wood waste accumulates in the air filter, blocking the flow of air and causing the chainsaw to heat up. A dirty air filter can damage the engine of the chainsaw, and if not addressed, can lead to worse damages. In the case of battery-operated chainsaws, a dirty air filter can lead to poor performance and severe damage. The chainsaw produces white smoke in this scenario. The solution to this issue is simple, and it just requires attention and care towards the chainsaw. You should clean the air filter after every five hours of use or after two to three uses.
  2. Excess Oil in the Oil-Gasoline Mixture: Using an imbalanced ratio of oil and gasoline in the chainsaw’s fuel can lead to the production of smoke. Properly oiling a chainsaw is not enough, and the ratio of oil and gasoline should be balanced. To prevent this, check the user guide manual or the chainsaw itself for the perfect ratio. Always use the best quality and fresh fuel for your chainsaw.
  3. Poor Oiling and Friction: When working with a gas chainsaw, it faces a lot of friction. The friction occurs at two levels: the metal-to-metal friction between the metal of the chainsaw bar and the chainsaw chain, and the friction between the metal of the chain and the wood being cut. This forceful friction puts a lot of pressure on the chainsaw while cutting and produces smoke if not adequately oiled. Properly lubricating all parts of the chainsaw that require oiling is necessary.
  4. Dull/Unsharpened Chainsaw Chain: An unsharpened chainsaw chain is one of the major reasons for smoke production and can create significant trouble. Sharpening the chainsaw chain timely is essential to extend the chainsaw’s lifespan. Signs of a dull chainsaw chain include increased pressure while cutting wood and the generation of fine wood dust. Proper guidance is available for sharpening a chainsaw chain, and you should follow all the steps in sequence.
  5. Tight Chain: A tight chain is another reason for the chainsaw smoking. Careful attention to the tension of the chainsaw chain over the bar is necessary. Otherwise, you may damage both the chain and the bar.

Chainsaw Smoking FAQ

How do I fix my chainsaw if it’s smoking?

Depending on the cause of the smoke, you may be able to fix your chainsaw yourself or you may need to take it to a professional. Here are some steps you can take to try and fix the problem:
Clean or replace the air filter: If your air filter is dirty or clogged, clean or replace it to ensure the engine is getting enough air.
Check the fuel mixture: Make sure you are using the correct fuel mixture for your chainsaw. If not, drain the tank and refill it with the correct mixture.
Replace the spark arrestor: If the spark arrestor is damaged or clogged, replace it.
Check the piston rings: If the piston rings are worn, you may need to replace them. This is a more advanced repair and may require professional assistance.
Ensure proper use: Make sure you are using your chainsaw properly and not pushing it too hard. If you are using it for an extended period, take breaks to allow the engine to cool down.

How can I prevent my chainsaw from smoking?

To prevent your chainsaw from smoking, follow these tips:
Use the correct fuel mixture: Make sure you are using the correct fuel mixture for your chainsaw.
Keep the air filter clean: Regularly clean or replace the air filter to ensure the engine is getting enough air.
Maintain the chainsaw: Regularly maintain your chainsaw by cleaning it, changing the oil, and replacing worn parts.
Don’t overwork the chainsaw: Avoid pushing the chainsaw too hard and take breaks to allow the engine to cool down.
Store the chainsaw properly: Store your chainsaw in a dry, cool place and make sure it is properly lubricated before storing it for an extended period.


A smoking chainsaw is a common problem for many chainsaw users that can cause frustration and concern. However, with proper knowledge of the causes and solutions, this problem can be quickly resolved. In this article, we examined five reasons why a chainsaw may smoke and provided solutions to each problem

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