Chainsaw Oil Essentials

Can I Use 10W40 for Chainsaw Bar Oil? Step-By-Step Guide

Among countless motor oil grades in the market, 10w40 lies among the popular lubricant category. Many automobiles, trucks, and other types of transportation use it.

Imagine you’re using your chainsaw, and you run out of bar oil. If you don’t use a chainsaw frequently, you might wonder, “Can I Use 10W40 for Chainsaw Bar Oil?” To us, virtually all oil appears to be the same. We become perplexed and unsure of whether or not that oil is suitable for our chainsaw.

10w40 is suitable for use as chainsaw bar oil. However, if you have no other options and an emergency arises, you can use this oil. It is not advisable to use it, as regular oil, especially during the winter.  Because the sticky, non-tacky consistency prevents it from reaching through the chain for increased viscosity.

But there’s more! You still have a lot of information to learn! So, what are you waiting for; Let’s dive into it.

What Does 10W-40 Motor Oil Mean?

What Does 10W-40 Motor Oil Mean

The Society of Automotive Engineers has established the viscosity or weight of motor oil as 10W-40. The multigrade oil 10W40 works effectively in both cold and hot weather. At low temperatures, the viscosity grade is 10W, and at high temperatures, it is 40W.

 Often, when heated, motor oil thins and thickens as it warms. However, 10W40 engine oil doesn’t thicken up as it becomes hotter. It merely acts like a 10W weight oil when it’s cold and a 40W weight oil when it’s hot.

What is Bar Oil for Chainsaws?

Chainsaw bar oil serves as lubrication to lessen friction between the chain and bar. Chainsaw used to cut wood fast. Therefore, the heat produced by friction can harm the chain and bar. On the chainsaw, an oil reservoir discharges oil onto the bar. 

There are various categories of bar oils for the various seasons. For instance, summer oils are thinner than winter oils. They are produced from crude, synthetic base oil, and occasionally natural oil as well.

 Should You Use 10W40 for Chainsaw Bar Oil?

The straightforward response to this query is “Yes.” 10w40 is suitable for use as chainsaw bar oil. However, if there are no other options, you should only utilize this in an emergency. This is because using it as conventional oil is not recommended. 

It can occasionally become non-tacky and sticky, which prevents it from penetrating the chain to improve viscosity. Regardless of the season, a chainsaw that operates at high speed can leak oil.

What Type of Oil Does a Chainsaw Demand?


Stainless steel constructs the chainsaw and all of its components. Because of this, when you use a chainsaw, the chain’s component pieces continue to move and cause friction. This friction can damage the chain and other chainsaw components and potentially start fires and sparks.

Therefore, lubrication is crucial to reduce friction. However, the oil should contain a balanced mixture of thin and thick constituents. On the one side, oil can be thin enough to be slippery and pass through all the chain’s components to lubricate them.

On the other side, the oil must also be sufficiently thick and tacky to be slightly sticky. By doing so, it adheres to the chain’s components and maintains the chain’s lubrication at high speeds.

I’ve discussed the two features essential for chainsaw oil. Now, let’s see, does 10w40 fulfill these requirements? 

1. Benefits of 10w40 Bar Oil

A multi-weight oil is 10w40. This oil will function effectively in both hot and cold conditions.

The oil weight increases to 40 in the summer. The oil’s SAE grade changes to 40 at that point, which is nearly optimum. Additionally, the viscosity increases dramatically. Because of this, it is good to use this oil all summer long.

Understanding the Risks of Using 10W40 for Chainsaw Bar Oil


Let’s look at some of the reasons why winter is not a perfect time to use 10w40 oil as chainsaw bar oil. Let’s explore them. 

1. 10w40 Becomes More Sticky as it Warms Up.

The stickiness of chainsaw bar oil is obviously a crucial quality. The oil’s stickiness mustn’t be too high or too low.10w40 weight is 10 in the winter. The oil will be increasingly sticky, and its SAE grade will rise as its viscosity and tactility increase. This grade is perfect for the chainsaw. 

However, as the engine warms up, the oil’s viscosity rises. The heat makes the oil significantly tacky and sticky. As a result, oil sticks at a specific location due to the enhanced stickiness. 

The oil won’t keep the chain lubricated; instead, it will cause the chain to become extremely sticky and immobile.

2. 10w40 Causes Chain’s Dryness

Is it possible that oil makes a chain dry? 

As it is clear, bar oil is going to be thin enough to reach every link in the chain and maintain lubrication. However, the 10w40 oil’s viscosity significantly increases in the winter. Consequently, oil adheres to the same spot and cannot reach all the chain’s components. As a result, the chain isn’t lubricated by the oil.

3. Chainsaw Performance Loss due to 10w40?

Performance drop refers to when a chainsaw suddenly stops functioning while in use. Winter causes 10W40 oil to thicken and become unable to penetrate the chain’s components. 

Because of increased friction, the engine or motor eventually shuts off. It might occur while you’re using the chainsaw. Therefore, there is a performance drop.

Comparing 10W40 Motor Oil to Specialized Chainsaw Bar Oils

The primary distinction between 10W40 and Chainsaw Bar Oil is the thickness and tackifier agent. A suitable tackifier binder with the proper thickness for chainsaws is chainsaw bar oil. However, 10W40 has a lot of tacky character and isn’t much thicker than bar oil.

SpecificationsChainsaw Bar Oil10W40 Motor Oil
ThicknessThick Thin 
Composition Artificial and petroleumArtificial and petroleum
TackifiersAvailableNot available
BiodegradabilitySome artificial oils deteriorate naturallyUnable to deteriorate

Can you Mixing 10W40 and Bar Oil Be Safe?

No, mixing 10W40 and Chainsaw Bar Oil without adequate instructions is not a good idea. Due to the chemical additives present in these two oils, combining them could have damaging consequences.

Most individuals blend these two oils successfully to improve sticky lubrication and thinness. But over time, it will adversely impact your device. Therefore, never use more than one oil at a time.

What Can I Use As Chainsaw Oil?

Before putting substitute bar oil into your chainsaw, make sure you have read the recommended guidelines. In general, chainsaws may work with a variety of lubricants. Canola and vegetable oils function effectively.

As long as you follow the SAE ratings and use the correct oil weight for the season, you can use any oil. Be mindful of using only brand-new, unsealed oils.

Final Thoughts

  • Emergency Use Only: 10W40 motor oil can be used in urgent situations but is not ideal for chainsaw bar oil.
  • Weather Matters: 10W40 is less effective in cold weather due to increased stickiness and viscosity.
  • Performance Issues: Improper lubrication from 10W40 can reduce chainsaw performance and cause damage.
  • Proper Lubrication: Use chainsaw-specific bar oils for optimal performance and longevity.
  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Always adhere to the chainsaw manufacturer’s oil recommendations.
  • Environmental Consideration: Specialized chainsaw bar oils often contain biodegradable elements, unlike 10W40.

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