Chainsaw Chain Smoking (3 Fixes Explained)

No wonder that the chain is the busiest part of an entire chainsaw. No matter how well you maintain it, it will be, therefore, exposed to a number of threats. 

And when you see your chainsaw chain-smoking, you know you are in deep trouble. It is one of those problems which you just can’t go around.  

That being said, we don’t want you to for an entire chain replacement just because it’s producing smoke while operating. As it’s a combination of the mechanical and electrical systems, there are ways out that can bring the issue under daylight. 

So, let’s have look at some of the solutions that can help you out.

Understanding the Chainsaw Chain Smoking Issues

chainsaw chain smoking

Before approaching the fixes, let’s take a moment and see why the chainsaw chain starts to smoke.   

In case you find any match with any of these few symptoms, it will be definite that we’ve to deal with a troublesome chainsaw chain-

  1. The temperature of the chainsaw is raising higher than usual. 
  2. There is discrete or continuous smoke from the chain area while working. 
  3. There are burn marks and spots on the bar and guide area. 
  4. A pungent burning smell will come out from the guide to the bar area.
  5. The chainsaw chain tension is getting auto-tightened. 
  6. A chainsaw is leaking bar oil from the guide bar oil reservoir. 

If one or more than one of these symptoms take place with your chainsaw, we urge you to go through the rest of the content and see to it that the smoking chain problem gets some form of mitigation. 

Why Is My Chainsaw Chain-Smoking?

First things first, we have to figure out why and how the chainsaw chain or chainsaw blade smoking is being caused. Well, as per the mechanism of the chainsaw chain and bar area is concerned, there can be a number of reasons that might bring on such issues.

Chainsaw bar problems are a small portion of that. For you, we’ve pinpointed each of them, and provided solutions for them- 

Suspect 1: The Guide Bar Oil Reservoir Is Empty

In order to lubricate the chainsaw chain and bar area, it requires a constant supply of oil. And that comes from the guide bar oil reservoir. In case the guide bar oil reservoir has run out of oil and got dry, there won’t be any lubrication in that area of the chainsaw.

If there is no lubrication, excessive heat will take place in the bar and chain area. And that can bring on issues like overheating, smoking, etc. 


To remedy this problem, you have to locate the guide bar area and find the oil reservoir from there. This will contain lubricator oil to keep the bar and chain are fed with oil. This will also, cool down those two areas of the chainsaw. 

In case you find the guide bar oil reservoir empty, immediately stop the chainsaw and fill it up with chainsaw lubrication oil once again. Once it runs through the chain and bar area, it should be working fine over again. 

Here are some of our recommended best chainsaw guide bar oil list-

Suspect 2: Chainsaw Bar Not Lubricating

This issue is quite related to the first one. Well, in case you have enough oil reserve on the guide bar oil reservoir, and still, there are smoking issues in the chain area, it can happen that the oil is somehow, unable to reach the chain bar area of your machine. 


Make sure that there is enough oil in the guide bar oil reservoir. Then, have an eye on the reservoir while running the chainsaw.

To understand whether the oil is reaching in the chain area, mark the bar, chain, and blade with a light-colored liquid. Run the machine for 45 seconds and keep an eye on the oil reservoir as well. 

If the oil reaches the chain area, the light-colored coating will have lines or dots indicating the oil. In case the oil doesn’t reach there, the layer will be the same. 

There can be three possible issues here- 

  1. The reservoir is getting emptied up, but the oil doesn’t show up. 
  2. The reservoir itself is not getting empty. 
  3. The reservoir is getting empty and the oil is showing up as well. 

In the case of the first problem, you need to check out the oil transmission system from the reservoir to the chain area. In case you’re not a professional, it’s better to do the chainsaw bar lubrication under the supervision of an expert. 

In the case of the second issue, the oil reservoir should be cleaned or replaced with a new one. Also, follow the best way to clean the chainsaw chain as well. 

And if the third case takes place, the problem is not related to the concern at all. We’d tell you to proceed to other suspects in that case. 

Here are some of our recommended best guide bar oil reservoir cleaner

Suspect 3: The Problem in Chainsaw Chain Tension

The chainsaw tension is a variable parameter as long as various applications of chainsaw are concerned. But if the chainsaw chain is over tightened, it might cause overheating and smoke build-up in the bar area of the chainsaw.

Also, the chainsaw chain is fast dull when tightened too much. To solve this problem, you can use the chainsaw files to sharpen the chainsaw chain. In the meantime, you need to go through the tips of sharpening the chainsaw chain.


To solve this issue, you need the chainsaw chain adjustment works to be proper. Here is how it works-

Check out the chainsaw chain that if it’s adjusted with too much tension due to a regular tree trunk or branch cutting or not. If you find it tightened more than what’s necessary, loosen it up with a Check out the chainsaw chain tension and see that if it’s adjusted with too much force or not.

There are a number of chainsaw chain adjuster tool and you can choose the right one from the pile. 

Here are some of our recommended best chainsaw chain tension adjuster-

Bottom Line

Hey, you’ve just read a 1000 words guideline on how to fix it when chainsaw chain-smoking takes place. There are three possible suspects of this issue and hopefully, you’ll find a perfect match with at least one of them.

Once done, proceed with the regarding the solution to the issue of chainsaw chain-smokes when cutting. Also, ensure a proper chainsaw bar and chain sizes that fit your chainsaw itself.

Other than that, you also should go with a decent brand, even if it breaks the bank. Because the investment you are making is substantial. 

See you in the next post! 

Kevin Smith

1 thought on “Chainsaw Chain Smoking (3 Fixes Explained)”

  1. Probably less common, but I figured out that the chain I was sold was the wrong width. This caused it to not flow freely in the channel. So if all else fails, check the chain specs.

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